Administrators proposing a later start to the school day at SSISD campuses

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Juuly 18, 2008 - Students in Sulphur Springs Independent School District could be starting the 2008-2009 school year a bit later in the day if a proposal from central and secondary administrators is approved.

Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed recently presented to school trustees a tentative school schedule which would require teachers to be at school from 7:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. at all campuses. The regular start of the class day would be moved to 8:30 a.m. for all students, a measure which means those high school students opting to take advantage of "zero hour" classes wouldn't have to report for that first class of the day quite as early, either. Zero hour classes would begin around 7:30 a.m.

It would also mean that bus riders would get a few extra minutes of sleep each day, as buses wouldn't have to run as early.

In the afternoon, Early Childhood Learning Center and the elementary campuses would have two dismissal times: 2:40 p.m. for younger students and those not riding buses, and 3:30 p.m. for older grades or those riding buses.

Middle school and the alternative school would be out at 3:30 p.m., and high school wouldn't dismiss until 3:40 p.m. since the parking lot at Gerald Prim Stadium has been designated as the hub to which all students are bused, then transferred to the appropriate buses to go home.

"High school will not be going to an 8-period day," Reed said. "We will offer more for zero hour. Zero period is a way to give students more flexibility, a chance for more electives in their schedules."

Administrators did note that the Douglas Intermediate School principal, upon hearing the potential schedule changes, requested that Douglas be allowed to start at 8:15 a.m. and end the day at 3:15 p.m. They also noted that for parents who have to bring their students to school earlier in the morning in order to be at work by 8, the earlier start will only change the time the school is open by a few minutes, if that.

The tentative schedule also has Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Oct. 31 as early dismissal dates, with classes dismissed at 12:50 p.m. instead of the usual 1 p.m. on those days.

The schedule will likely be discussed at more length in the future. A decision regarding the times will be made at a later date.

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