Teachers Should Be

Part of the Equation

There has been a debate over switching starting times between elementary and middle schools in Prince William County. A group of people has been left out of the discussion, and some important information might not have been considered.

Middle school students participate in far more after-school activities than do students in elementary school. Some of those activities already end after sundown in the winter, and this change in schedule would send kids home even later.

The effect on the teachers who sponsor these activities has to be considered. In recent years, school principals have been having a difficult time finding staff members to sponsor some sports and club activities. Having the school day end later could be a hardship for those teachers who might have their own children in child care. The supplemental pay that goes with these activities might not be enough to offset those concerns.

Each middle school has an active music program in which many after-school, evening and weekend activities take place. Unlike the club sponsors and coaches, the middle school band, orchestra and choral directors do not receive supplemental pay. These teachers plan extra activities because these are experiences they want their students to have. Overtime pay has nothing to do with it.

I realize the workday will be the same length, but, in a year in which a third summer flex day has been added to our contracts, this change in schedule will be another encroachment on the personal time of staff members. It would best serve students and the teachers who sponsor their extra activities to keep the schedule the way it is.

John Cznadel