The following was among actions taken at the Oct. 23 meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. For more information, call 771-6410.
REVISED SCHEDULE KILLED -- The School Board voted 5 to 2 against studying a proposal by high school principals to change the existing schedule of school opening and closing times.
Changing the schedule would mean starting the school day later for elementary students and earlier for high school and middle school students -- a plan favored by high school principals. In Loudoun County, elementary students begin and end the school day before middle and high school students, an uncommon practice in Northern Virginia.
Board members William A. White (Broad Run) and James Purks (Sterling) were in favor of a study to change the current schedule, under which some elementary students start classes as early as 8 a.m. while high school students start at 8:40 a.m. But a majority of board members said they saw no reason to tamper with a system that seems to be working well. Currently elementary school students get out as early as 2:25 p.m. and middle and high school students get out at 3:20 p.m.
The board voted after being presented with a list of arguments in favor of an earlier high school day, developed by high school principals and an opposing list of arguments, presented by school administrative staff.
Principals said starting the high school day earlier would have these benefits:
After-school activities would end earlier.
Afternoon sports events could be scheduled without having to release students from class early.
High school students would have more classes in the morning, when they are often most alert.
Older students would arrive home first to care for younger siblings.
More parents would be at home when their children leave for school.
High school students who work after school could work earlier shifts.
The high school schedule would be more compatible with that of neighboring school districts.
Administrative staff members said the schedule should stay as it is because:
Parents seem satisfied with existing schedules.
An earlier schedule would make it necessary for some high school students to catch buses as early as 6:30 a.m., when it's dark, instead of 7:15 a.m.
Under the current schedule, elementary students catch buses as early as 7:10 a.m. Under the later schedule they would start catching buses at 7:25 a.m. and some as late as 8:30 a.m. Some elementary children might be left alone in the mornings, or be dropped off at school early if their parents are on early work schedules.
Middle and high school students would no longer be able to participate in activities and conferences before school, unless staff members agreed to arrive before 7:45 a.m.
Middle and high school students, who would have to begin their days earlier.
School closing or delayed opening decisions would have to be made by 5 a.m. instead of 5:45 a.m.