When school starts Aug. 27, parents and students should be especially mindful of school hours on Sulphur Springs school campuses, as most are changing.
Sulphur Springs Independent School District Superintendent Mike Lamb told trustees at Monday night’s school board meeting that the decision to start classes earlier and stagger dismissals came after an update with principals.
“A few years back, you moved back the start to accommodate zero hour at high school. There was no significant change in the number who signed up before the start was moved back to 8:30. I think this is the best time to change that,” Lamb explained.
With the exception of high school, all campuses in SSISD will begin at 8:05 a.m. starting Aug. 27, the first day of school for the 2012-2013 school year. Regular classes at high school, however, will start promptly at 8 a.m. Aug. 27.
Lamb noted that during the past few school years, elementary and middle school campuses have had to find things to keep early-arriving students busy. It sometimes meant asking teachers to be on hand to monitor students longer than the traditional eight-hour teacher day.
While classes started later, school was still open at 7:30 a.m. and bus routes still ran pretty much the same schedule. That placed many students on campuses with nothing constructive to do until class started.
Moving the start time back to 8 a.m. at high school and 8:05 at all elementary campuses including Douglas Intermediate and Early Childhood Learning Center will allow buses to still target 7:30 a.m. as the time to depart the bus hub and get to school.
Pushing the start time back should not prevent bus students who eat breakfast at school from grabbing a tray and eating at school before class, Lamb noted.
Dismissal times, however, will still be staggered to better help parents who have children at more than one campus who they pick up at the end of each day.
“The bus schedule is basically the same. Pickup time is the same. Start time is just earlier,” Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed noted.
Students at Early Childhood Learning Center will be dismissed from class at 2:40 p.m. The first and second grade campuses — Bowie, Lamar and Travis Elementary Schools — will dismiss at 3:05 p.m. Sulphur Springs Elementary, the former middle school campus which starting this year will house third and fourth grade students, will dismiss classes at 3:10 p.m. Douglas Intermediate, which houses all district fifth graders, will dismiss class at 3:15. Classes at Sulphur Springs Middle School will end at 3:20 p.m. and at Sulphur Springs High School at 3:30 p.m.
These times will allow for some flexibility for before or after school tutorials, at the discretion of staff and administrators at each campus. All campuses have mechanisms in place to fit school, grade, teacher and student schedules. It gives teachers “30 minutes to play with before and after school,” Lamb noted.
Students are supposed to be at school for seven hours. The longest day is 7 1/2 hours, during the regular day at high school. That should keep most teachers at or under eight hours with students.
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