School Board reviews school start/end time recommendation, vote scheduled for March 19
Following months of research and public engagement, the School Board discussed at its meeting on Feb. 26 a proposal to change the current school start/end times. The recommendation, drafted by administration and a subcommittee of the School Board, proposes to swap the current start/end times for the district’s middle schools and five elementary schools.
“After multiple discussions by the Edina School Board, a year of study, community discussion, and Board deliberation, the Edina Public Schools administration is recommending that the elementary and middle school start times be flipped,” said Superintendent John Schultz. “Research supports that middle school students’ engagement and health will be better served if they start school later. In addition, although there is limited research, the consensus within the district is that elementary students will benefit from an earlier start time.”
Specifically, the recommendation moves five elementary schools (Concord, Cornelia, Countryside, Creek Valley and Highlands) to the first transportation tier, starting school at 7:50 a.m., and the middle schools (South View and Valley View) will move to the third tier, starting school at 9:20 a.m. Edina High School (EHS) and Normandale Elementary, in addition to Our Lady of Grace which is transported with Normandale, will remain in the middle tier, with EHS starting at 8:30 a.m. and Normandale at 8:40 a.m.
The Board discussed impacts of this recommendation, including impacts to before and after school activities, and on special needs children and families. Valerie Burke, director of community education services, and Jeff Jorgensen, director of student support services, shared the preliminary planning that has already occurred to address such concerns and how the district will remain responsive to program and student needs.
The School Board will hold a final public hearing to gather student, staff and parent input at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27 (room 349, Edina Community Center). Community members may also share their feedback with the School Board via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School Board is scheduled to make a decision on the recommendation at its meeting on March 19. At that time, the Board will also identify a timeline for implementation, as a decision has not yet been made about whether a new recommendation would be in effect for the 2018-19 or 2019-20 school year.