The time had come for the Ladue School Board of Education to act on the selection of bell times and length of day for all the buildings in the district.
District personnel need the time to put together bus routes for the 2013-14 school year. A new fifth-grade center will be coming on-line in August.
Three questions had to be answered
- Will all building official bell times (other than the Ladue Early Childhood Center) be six hours and fifty minutes in duration.
- Will the new Fifth Grade Center be placed on the same tier as the High School.
- Will the high school or middle school open first each school day.
The board resolved by a vote of 5-1 to keep the option that already exists. Board member Ken Smith was the only one to vote nay.
Surveys showed that 71 percent of the high school students wanted the same school hours they already have: 7:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Former educator/board member Jeff Kopolow proposed a radical change. Knowing it would not pass, he suggested moving the high school school day to a 9:30 a.m. start. “What most high school students need is more sleep,” he said.
Smith believed the board should decide what is best for all the students. Surveys show that high school students should start later, and middle school earlier. Smith wanted to flip-flop starting times. (Middle School currently starts at 8:10 a.m.)
“We should give the students what they really need (more time to sleep) not what they want. Students are resilient and would quickly adapt to change,” said Smith.
The prevailing view of the board was this is not the year for radical change in light of getting a new superintendent and opening a new school. (The fifth Grade Center).
The current bell schedule with high school opening first and elementary schools last will remain in place.
More on this topic and security issues Wednesday on Patch.com.