After months of study, the Hermiston School District Board of Education voted unanimously to implement a 45 minute late start/early release schedule on Wednesdays, beginning fall of next school year for improved staff development opportunities.
This decision came after a three month study, which included discussions with employee groups, considerable Board debate, as well as significant survey and feedback opportunities for parents and families. Heeding the response from parents and constituents, the Board approved a 45 minute late start at the secondary level and a 45 minute early release at the elementary level every Wednesday next year. As a result, middle and high school students will start their student day at ~9:10 a.m. on Wednesday (instead of approximately 8:25 a.m.), and elementary schools will release at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday (instead of 2:30 p.m.). The kindergarten day will also be modified; it will run from 8 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. for the morning sessions and from 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. for the afternoon sessions, every Wednesdays.
This decision was influenced by significant parent feedback, where every parent in the district was contacted by phone and asked to provide input. According to survey results, parents of elementary-aged students exhibited deep concern when questioned about the possibility of implementing a late start, due to day care challenges. Secondary parents were equally concerned about the effect an early release would have on their student, if they participated in after school athletics, clubs, and activities. When questioned, parents of all aged students preferred a shorter, e.g. one hour, start or stop time modification weekly, rather than a longer modification, e.g. two hours, every other week. Finally, in order to further minimize the impact on parents and community, as well as avoiding the need to lengthen student days or the student year due to seat time requirements, the Board chose to proceed with a shorter (45 minute) modification, rather than the typical hour or hour and a half, which most districts have incorporated into their schedules.
“The opportunity to provide high quality professional development on a consistent, weekly basis across the school district is a critical part of our efforts to move teaching and student learning forward,” said Hermiston School District Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco. “The change positions Hermiston to accelerate the great things happening in our schools, by investing in the faculty and staff training which is so essential to make even greater gains in student achievement.”