Survey: Most want Dist. 214 final exams before winter break
After conducting a community survey and four listening sessions, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 is close to announcing possible changes to its school calendar and start time.
"Over 5,500 people took the calendar survey, which is an amazing number," Superintendent David Schuler said. "We are continuing to do some final edits and hope to have a recommendation for the board's consideration at one of the next two upcoming meetings."
The survey gave parents five calendar options to choose among, ranging from the current calendar to a year-round schedule and several options in between.
According to the results, more than 70 percent of students, parents and staffers said final exams should be moved before winter break to alleviate the stress of studying during the holiday break.
Schuler said he was glad to see consensus among the survey respondents.
"I was worried about there being a huge difference of opinion," he said. "The results being so consistent really makes our lives that much easier."
Several other school districts in the suburbs have moved semester exams to December, including Elgin Area Unit School District U-46 and Barrington High School.
On the topic of starting school later in the day, the results were more split.
On the survey, 51 percent of parents felt their children received adequate sleep under the current schedule and the other half did not. Among students, 61 percent said they struggled to wake up and get ready for school.
"The committee is trying to balance that -- can we address everyone's concerns?" Schuler said.
Schuler said the recommendations might include making sure every school starts after 8 a.m. Now, Elk Grove High School starts at 8:10 a.m., Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Prospect start at 7:30 a.m., and Rolling Meadows and Wheeling high schools start at 7:25 a.m.
Stevenson High School recently decided to start school 30 minutes later.
The board will likely vote on the committee's recommendations in January, though any changes would not be implemented until the 2017-18 academic year because of the district's bus contracts.
The full school calendar survey results can be found at www.d214.org/calendar/.