High school to have late start next year

Social studies teacher Zach Smith welcomes students into the building. Next year, on days with late starts, students will be allowed to enter the building at 8:00 a.m. instead of 7:00 a.m.

Webster Groves High School will begin having late start days next school year. The extra time will be used by teachers to create Professional Learning Communities or PLCs.

PLCs are times when teachers are able to meet in order to talk about the classes they are teaching.

The PLC structure “allows teachers to be reflective in their classes,” principal Matt Irvin said.

The additional time will be used to coordinate schedules so that one class does not get ahead or behind another. It will also allow teachers to create similar assessments, so that they are better able to gauge what the students have learned.

For example, if there was an AP U.S. History class where all of the students got perfect scores on a test about the Civil War, and another class in which students did not perform so well, the teachers can use this PLC time to meet and discuss how the first teacher taught the students, allowing for more equal education among students, regardless of teacher.

PLC leaders will be in charge of these meetings. These leaders will be teachers of the class that the meeting is about.

The idea of a time for teachers to discuss educational plans has been around since the 1960s; however, more in-depth research did not begin until the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Lafayette High School, which is larger and has a higher average socio-economic status, introduced a PLC program that included a late start at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Irvin was associate principal at Lafayette for the 2017-18 school year. Lafayette’s late start days begin 90 minutes later than its usual start time; however, it only has 12 late starts throughout the year.

Lindbergh, Pattonville and Francis Howell High Schools also have PLC time; however, they have early release instead of late start. They let out 15, 59 and 45 minutes earlier, respectively, than their usual dismissal times.

Students are excited about this change.

“Overall, I think it will be better for the school,” junior and student advisor to the school board Patrick Lee said. Lee added he is excited to have more time to sleep: “I will be more well-rested those days… I can only see my learning ability go up.”

The new schedule has been approved by the school board. Teachers have also gone to other schools with PLC time in order to better learn how to utilize this new time

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires 1,044 hours of class time. The high school has 1,079 in the schedule for this year. With the implementation of the new schedule, the time will be cut down to 1,052 hours. This brings the total extra time down from 35 extra hours (5.8 school days) to 8 extra hours (1.2 school days).

The high school will have 26 late start days, beginning at the start of the 2019-20 school year. The late starts will take place on Mondays, where school will start at 8:57 a.m., instead of the usual 7:55 a.m.

Ethan Weihl – News Editor 

This is news editor Ethan Weihl’s first year on ECHO staff. He is excited to begin his work on the ECHO. He has not decided on college yet, but he wants to major in Political Science and Journalism.

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