District 214 likely to change school calendar, start times

 
 
Updated 12/12/2015 9:14 PM
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Students in Northwest Suburban High School District 214 will likely get to sleep in a little later starting in 2017.

Superintendent Dave Schuler told the school board on Thursday that the district's calendar committee, which has been studying school start times and different calendar options, will present its recommendation at the board's first meeting in January and that it will likely include moving finals before winter break and starting school later.

Schuler said the exact recommendations from the committee are still being finalized, but that they will reflect the majority opinion from a survey done earlier this year.

According to the survey, more than 70 percent of students, parents and staff wanted finals moved before winter break -- a step several suburban districts have taken in recent years.

"I'm glad we were able to have such consensus on that change," Schuler said.

Schools that have made the switch have said it helps align the calendar with how college semesters are scheduled, frees students from having to study over winter break and prevents learning loss before final exams.

Schuler said the change would likely mean the district's six high schools and three alternative programs would start school in mid-August and end just after Memorial day each year.

No details have been released about changing school start times, but at an earlier meeting Schuler said an effort would be made to get most of the schools to start after 8 a.m. -- something only done at Elk Grove High School now.

Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Prospect high schools start at 7:30 a.m., and Rolling Meadows and Wheeling high schools start at 7:25 a.m.

In the study, 61 percent of students said they struggled to wake up early for school.

Stevenson High School recently decided to start school 30 minutes later.

The changes to the school calendar and school start time will likely not take place for a couple of years because of existing bus contracts and because families may have already planned vacations for the next school years.

The school board will be presented with the full recommendation from the calendar committee at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, in the board room at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road.

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