Currently, elementary schools in the district hold classes from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., while secondary schools hold classes from 8:30 a.m.-4:05 p.m.
Under the new proposal, elementary classes would run from 8:10 a.m.-3:45 p.m., and secondary classes would be held from 7:15 a.m.-2:50 p.m.
The proposal was initially brought up by NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert at an Oct. 18 board meeting. Trustees will consider adopting the changes at their Nov. 15 meeting.
Following the Oct. 18 meeting, parents, students and teachers were given the opportunity to participate in an online survey to gauge the public’s opinions on the proposed changes.
According to Calvert, 878 individuals had responded to the survey as of Nov. 8, with roughly 61% of respondents saying they favored the new start times.
Calvert noted roughly 67% of the 110 teachers who responded also supported the recommended changes. Additionally, 58 of the 60 students who participated in the survey responded favorably.
“You can definitely see a trend among the data of what our communities are thinking, what our teachers are thinking and what our students are thinking,” Calvert said. “This is not a decision the district has taken lightly. ... It is not lost on us that we’re not going to make everyone happy."
Porter High School Principal Cesar Condarco said staff members at the high school were overwhelmingly in favor of the changes because they would help prevent students who participate in some extracurricular activities, including football, from missing class time at the end of the day.
“[Currently], our kids are missing school even for home games,” Condarco said. “They had to get out [of class] at about 3, 3:30 [p.m.] sometimes to get to the gym or get to the field to get ready.”
Kristi Shofner, the district’s executive director of leadership and learning, said some of the district’s elementary teachers had expressed concern about starting later in the day, though they ultimately supported the proposal.
“I think of some of the [elementary] teachers would like the earlier time,” Shofner said. “There are things they’d like to do after school, but they also understand what it means for secondary [schools] and what it means for those students who are missing classes.”
According to Calvert, the proposed changes would also provide an additional layer of safety for younger students.
“Our younger kids won’t be waiting outside as early in the morning in the dark for the bus, so we thought that was very important, and then, on the flip side of that, their siblings on the secondary level will be home when those younger kids get home in the afternoon,” Calvert said.
Additionally, Calvert said the proposed changes would add five minutes per day to the elementary school schedule, bringing them even with the secondary school schedule. The additional minutes for elementary schools would build a three-day cushion into the calendar that could be used to make up for days when school is canceled due to inclement weather, he said.
Calvert noted the online survey will remain live on the district's website until board members consider the proposal at their Nov. 15 meeting. Those who are interested in submitting feedback on the proposed schedule change can do so by clicking here.