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Shorter days await some students on Whidbey
As the days get shorter with the approach of autumn, so will some students’ school days.
Students returning to Oak Harbor and Coupeville schools will notice some changes as the new school year begins next week.
Oak Harbor schools’ first day back is Thursday, Sept. 8.
The most noticeable difference middle school students will see is that their school days are shortened by half an hour. The seventh period was cut entirely to reduce the number of teachers, a change the Oak Harbor School Board made to cope with a reduced budget. The other six periods will be lengthened by a few minutes each, said Joe Hunt, Oak Harbor School District communications director.
The middle school day will now start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 2:15 p.m.
While the high school school day won’t be shortened, students will start at 8 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m. and finish at 2:30 p.m. due to a revised bus schedule necessary to deal with the middle school time change, Hunt said.
Kindergarten has also changed due to the reduced budget. In order to cut costs of midday busing, kindergarten will be full, alternating days instead of daily separate morning and afternoon sessions, Hunt said.
A $2.16-million Department of Defense grant allowed preschool through fifth grade teachers to participate in intensive Reading Academy classes last week. Consortium on Reading Excellence trainers taught nearly 100 percent of teachers to strategically teach reading skills that will better the students’ overall academic skills, Hunt said.
“Reading is the core for all learning. Students have a much better chance of doing math and science if they learn to read early,” Hunt said.
Coupeville schools begin Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Superintendent Patty Page said there are no big changes to Coupeville schools for students other than home schoolers.
“We will be operating as we always do, staff ready for students and excitement in the air,” Page said.
Home-schooled students will face a dilemma because the Cedar Program, which supported home schoolers, was recently cut.
“Enrollment was just too small to operate it,” Page said.