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School day schedule changes recommended to Carmel-Clay school board

Posted at 7:09 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 19:44:26-04

CARMEL — Recommendations to change the current school day schedule for Carmel-Clay Schools were presented during Monday's school board meeting.

The goal of the schedule changes is to help kids and address issues some students are facing, like mental health, Superintendent Michael Beresford says.

The recommendations come after a series of studies and evaluations, which started in the 2017-2018 school year, Beresford said.

The following recommendations were made during the virtual meeting, which would start in the 2020-2021 school year:

  • Carmel High School and middle schools will start at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.
  • Elementary schools will begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m.
  • Twice a month, all schools district wide will start 40 minutes late for teacher professional development

Schools currently start at the following times:

  • Middle schools: 7:45 a.m.-3:05 p.m.
  • High school: 7:50 a.m.-3:05 p.m.
  • Elementary schools: 8:05 a.m.-2:35 p.m.

The elementary schools would start 15 minutes earlier than they did in 2019-2020 to ensure there is enough time for the buses to complete both routes, Beresford said.

The school day for elementary school students will be 30 minutes longer than the current schedule. Because of this, students will get 15 extra minutes during the academic block to work on things like social emotional learning, student collaboration, genius hour, STEM/STEAM lessons or other experiences for students, and 15 extra minutes for recess.

In a survey by the Carmel Teachers' Association in February, 80.6 percent of the elementary school teachers surveyed said they prefer no changes to the current start and end times.

Of the middle school teachers surveyed, 61.5 percent said they would perfect the recommended new start and end times.

Of the high school teachers survey, 44.2 percent said they prefer not to change the current start and end times, 40.8 percent said they would prefer the recommended new start and end times, and 15 percent said they have no preference.

When all district schools start 40 minutes late twice a month, school buses will run 40 minutes later than normal, and Beresford says the district is confident it will be able to provide no-cost childcare for K-8 students if they need to be dropped off at the regular times.

If the recommendations are implemented, it would cost the district about $336,000 per year to pay elementary instructional assistants, office staff and other hourly workers an additional 30 minutes each day, Beresford said. By shortening the length of the middle and high schools day, the district may be able to reduce the cost.

Carmel Teachers' Association President Pete O'Hara released the following statement to RTV6 on the recommendations:
"A significant number of Carmel elementary school teachers are passionately concerned about how young students will respond to the planned extended school day. There is strong opposition to extending the elementary school day by 30 minutes. The Carmel Teachers Association remains in open communication and is maintaining positive dialogue with administration to do what is best for our students."

The school board is expected to vote on the recommendations during a meeting on May 18.

You can watch the school board meeting here.

You can submit feedback on the recommendations here.