Home News Local News RISD plans late-start days for middle, high schools this year

RISD plans late-start days for middle, high schools this year

Roswell Independent School District middle schools and high schools will have a late-start day on Wednesdays for the upcoming school year, beginning Aug. 14. RISD Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy wrote in a statement that busing regulations will remain the same and secondary students — sixth through 12th graders — will be bused to school beginning at 9:30 a.m., with some variation between schools. (File Photo)

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Boys & Girls Club partners with district for Wednesday morning program

With school starting in about two weeks, Roswell Independent School District’s secondary schools will have a late start on Wednesday mornings throughout the school year.

RISD Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy explained that all students from sixth through 12th grades, at all middle and high schools, will be affected by a weekly late start on Wednesdays. School will begin somewhere in the range of 9:30 a.m., depending on each school’s master schedule.

Though school starts Aug. 7, the first late-start day will be Aug. 14 for middle and high school students according to the district’s website. It also stated that parents and students should check with their schools for specific information regarding start times and suggested planning as they do for weather delays.

In getting the word out, McIlroy said, “Each school was charged with engaging their parents last spring and notifying them this week of the change.” She said the district is also sending out a robocall with more information.

Elementary schools will continue to have early-release days on Wednesdays with normal schedules otherwise. McIlroy said Sidney Gutierrez Middle School will not be affected, since they have their own schedule and parents are responsible for transportation to and from the charter school.

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McIlroy said the reasoning for the late start is to allow teachers at these schools to meet — to discuss everything from instruction to student performance at their schools.

“Our teachers have never had an opportunity to have a block of time where they can work together and collaborate to improve instruction …” McIlroy said.

Before the decision was made, McIlroy said professionals were offered an option to have an early release or late start once a week. Many of them said an early-release day was not possible for secondary schools — due to extracurricular activities after school — and they preferred the late-start day, she said.

“We know that there are always unintended consequences,” McIlroy said. “We can’t foresee all of that, but again, it’s in order to allow those people that block of time to really work together and put their heads together to really make it a better place for kids to be.”

McIlroy said buses for secondary students will run for the delayed Wednesday schedules. She said breakfast will be served when students arrive and lunch times will be determined by each school.

Club’s solution

RISD and the Boys & Girls Club have worked out an agreement to provide a place for middle and high school students to be on late-start Wednesdays.

According to a statement from Tim Coughlin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, the club will open starting at 7:45 a.m. for students on those late-start days, breakfast will be served and students will be bused by RISD’s transportation services to their various schools.

Coughlin said he and Natasha Welt, Boys & Girls Club unit director for Roswell, began talking with each other early this week about what the club could offer for parents and students after seeing a Facebook post with concerns from parents about the late-start days. He said the conversation began between the club and district following that.

Coughlin explained that families will need to pre-register at the club — 201 S. Garden Ave. — for the program and pay the $20 club annual membership fee. No additional fees will be charged for the program and the club’s board will be seeking sponsors to assist in covering payroll and operating costs for those late-start days.

“This is a great opportunity for us to come together with the schools and the community to help in the education of our kids — and to live up to our mission statement ‘To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens of good character,’” Coughlin said. “We are honored to be able to help the families, students and schools in the Roswell community.”

For more information, the Boys & Girls Club can be reached at 575-623-3196.

Saying the district is “excited” for the partnership with the club, McIlroy said other, similar partnerships are being sought with other community groups interested in providing an “alternative solution” for students and parents on the late-start days.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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