The Haines School District Administration has decided to return to the old bell schedule next year. Principal Rene Martin says after hearing from about 100 parents in an online survey, and consulting with students and staff, the message was clear.
“The reality is for the bulk of our parents in Haines, the traditional model does work,” Martin said. “And so with access to teachers and staff before and after school, we just feel it will be better if we go back to the traditional model we had been at for many years, where we’re starting at 8:25 or 8:30 and releasing students at 3:15.”
The district implemented a new bell schedule this year. It includes an earlier start time at 8:15 a.m. and a later release time, at 3:30 p.m. Martin says there have been a lot of tardy students in the morning, and a lot of rushing in the afternoon to get to afterschool activities.
Another big change to the schedule is a weekly early release day, on Thursdays. Students are dismissed from school early that day, at 1:50 p.m.
One of the main goals of the early release day was to give teachers weekly time for professional development. Martin says that didn’t work as well as they hoped.
“We have mandated trainings from the state that we have to put into place and some of those are six hour trainings. And trying to put our professional development into one or two hour blocks just isn’t working.”
Martin says school staff was split on how well the early release day works. But students and parents were more unanimous.
“If we were to continue it, they would rather it be on a different day. But for the bulk it’s just very difficult for childcare, for activities, for all those things.”
The decision to revert to the old school schedule will be discussed at a school board meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Final decisions on next year’s school calendar will be made within the next couple months.