Dist. 116 might change elementary school start times
Round Lake Unit School District 116 is considering changing the start of the school day for students at all five elementary schools next year as part of an effort to give their teachers more collaboration time.
Under the plan, the school days at Ellis Elementary, Village Elementary, Indian Hill Elementary, Murphy Elementary and Beach Elementary would begin at 8:25 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. Currently Ellis and Village Elementary run from 8:20 a.m. through 3 p.m., and Indian Hill, Murphy and Beach run from 8:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
At Pleviak Elementary in Lake Villa, where all Round Lake 116 students go for kindergarten, would begin the day at 9:05 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. instead of starting at 8:20 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m.
The amount of time students are in class would not change.
Deputy Superintendent Donn Mendoza said the proposal to align the elementary school days came out of a larger plan to give their teachers 45 minutes per day before school starts for collaborative time. Mendoza said teachers now have only 60 minutes of collaboration time during the week.
"It's really needed in my opinion," Mendoza said. "For all the things we're asking them to do, in order to do these things effectively we're going to need more collaboration time."
If the plan is ultimately approved by the board, elementary teachers will have 225 minutes per week of collaboration time, the same as the district's middle school and high school teachers.
Syncing up the schedules at the five elementary schools means teachers from every school could meet at once if they wanted to, Mendoza said.
School board member Annette Negrete McGinley said she liked that the plan meant that middle school students would be home before their younger siblings.
"It is a nice consideration for our working parents who may need their older kids to take care of their younger kids," Negrete McGinley said.
Mendoza said adjusting the start times wouldn't add any transportation costs to the district.
Mendoza told the board that schools were going to focus next on how many on special classes, like P.E., art and music, they were going to schedule for elementary students. Elementary students now have P.E. twice per week and music and art each once per week.