Crawfordsville weighing district-wide late start Wednesdays

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The bell at Crawfordsville’s middle school and high school rings later one morning every week, allowing teachers to start their day with professional development time.

Elementary school teachers don’t have similar meetings carved out of their schedules, but that could change if the delayed start time is expanded corporation-wide, which the district has begun considering.

“I’ll have a lot more detail before I would ever ask you to approve anything like that,” Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling told school board members Thursday, “but wanted to get that at least in front of you and let you know that it’s being looked at.”

The middle and high school began pushing back start times on Wednesdays three years ago to give teachers more time to collaborate. Classes begin 50 minutes later than usual and students are dismissed on time in the afternoon.

Principals say the extra time is beneficial for strengthening teachers’ skills, “but we have to balance that with what parents need,” Bowling said. A schedule change would also impact families who live in other school districts but send their children to Crawfordsville.

The district plans to seek feedback about the late start from middle and high school teachers and parents before making a recommendation to the board.

“I feel like we really should find out how that’s going from everybody’s perspective,” board member Susan Albrecht said.

The district has also discussed holding professional development time at the elementary schools in the afternoon and dismissing students early. But that option would be difficult for parents who work in the daytime, Bowling said.

In other business, the board received an update on renovations at the high school. Demolition has begun on the media center, distance learning room and five classrooms.

A temporary media center has opened and students have access to online library materials, assistant superintendent Rex Ryker said.

Later this month, the district will sell $10 million in bonds to fund most of the project.

The board also:

• Approved the middle and high school choir’s field trip to Kings Island for a competition May 8-9.

• Accepted the resignation of Reise Williamson, high school aide, and the hiring of Jacquelyn Munoz, Nicholson Elementary English language aide.

The board’s next regular meeting is 6 p.m. March 12 at the middle school.

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