Davenport schools tweak new start time plan

Davenport administrators have tweaked their proposal for new school start times after receiving parent feedback.

Monday, Superintendent Dr. Art Tate hosted the first public input session on the proposal. The plan calls for starting Davenport high schools at 8:50 each morning, while most intermediate schools would begin at 8:25 a.m., and most elementary schools would start at 7:45 a.m.

You can find the complete list of proposed start and end times here.

Dr. Tate said the proposal would allow teenagers to sleep in later, which studies have shown equals more attentiveness in the classroom.

Many parents, though, disagreed, citing traffic concerns.

“I currently live by Sudlow Junior High and Washington Elementary. That is a logistical nightmare when school gets out. And now, according to the proposed changes, they’re both going to start and end at the same time? It’s not going to happen,” said Teresa Bracker.

Tuesday, administrators proved they’ve been listening to those concerns. Before the second public input session, administrators changed their proposal so that Sudlow and Washington will remain on separate schedules.

They made similar adjustments to start times for Wilson and West, which are also located close to each other.

“We want the plan to be the best it can, and we don’t have all the ideas or answers. So, it’s great for other people to take a look at it and give us thoughts,” said Dr. Tate.

Tuesday, parents and teachers said the changes are a step in the right direction. Many, though, hope more adjustments will still be made.

“If we make [the start time] later, they’re just going to stay up later, instead of actually getting the sleep that they need,” said Maggie Rietz, a teacher at West High School.

Rietz also coaches the speech and debate team, and worries about the district’s plan to dismiss the high school students at 3:45 each day.

“They will be missing more school when we have to leave early for tournaments,” said Rietz.

Tuesday’s meeting was the final planned input session, but feedback is being taken by email at feedback@davenportschools.org.

Dr. Tate will now take all suggestions and make a final recommendation to the school board. The Board is expected to discuss the proposal at its meeting on Monday, April 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Achievement Service Center.

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