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Sycamore School District 427 considers schedule options for high-schoolers

SYCAMORE – Sycamore High School students could have options for what time they have to arrive at school in the morning starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said a committee including the high school’s Spartan Senate, parents and board members will meet to develop flexible schedule options that students would be able to choose from based on their needs and obligations.

Staggered start times for all district schools were discussed during previous board meetings as part of the district’s effort to reduce riding times for students who take the bus to school.

Countryman said district officials have changed focus after receiving parent feedback and now are looking into the possibility of giving high school students choices on their start and dismissal times.

“The goal we have as a district is to customize learning for kids,” she said.

Students could shift their school days earlier or later and take evening classes to better suit their work and extra-curricular schedules, she said.

Countryman provided an update on planning for the committee during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Board member Kris Wrenn said students would be able to better adjust to what their schedules will be like in college.

“I think it’s exciting because it probably more closely mirrors what their next step is for college-bound kids, and I think sometimes we do a disservice by keeping an 8-to-3 kind of school day,” she said.

Sycamore High School Principal Tim Carlson said schedule options would be helpful for students who have to work to support their families or those who partake in after-school activities.

For example, SpartanTV students will sometimes work in the studio as late as 10 p.m., and starting school later the next day might be a better option for them, Carlson said.

Countryman said the district would be seeking input from students, teachers, parents and community members as well as looking into how transportation would work with the varied schedules.

“This is a big project for us at the high school to do together, but I think it’s one that we are fully embracing,” she said.

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