School time change could affect Turner Ashby High School and surrounding schools

The pilot program would start this upcoming school year.
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Now that the school board voted on redistricting in Rockingham County Public Schools, another change could be coming to Turner Ashby High School and the surrounding schools in that area of the school district.

Students at TAHS, Wilbur S. Pence Middle School, John Wayland Elementary, Pleasant Valley, Mountain View Elementary and Ottobine Elementary could be affected by a start time change.

Middle and high school students would go in at 9;00 a.m. while elementary students would head in at 8:00 a.m. Elementary schools would get out at 2:00 p.m. and secondary schools would leave at 3:000 p.m.

Dr. Oskar Scheikl, the superintendent of Rockingham County Public Schools, said the change would allow teachers more time to collaborate and for students to retain more information in the classroom.

"We've made an effort to provide a path towards having teachers collaborate," Dr.Scheikl said. "That's combined with the research about secondary students, you know adolescents needing extra sleep because of how their sleep cycles change and they benefit from later start time."

The school district only wants to test this out in certain schools first. One concern the school board has heard from parents is the amount of after-school or before-school programs offered for students.

"At this time, it's really difficult to project how many families will need after-school care that didn't need it before," Dr. Scheikl said.

The start time change has not been voted on yet, so the change is still being discussed among the board. Dr. Scheikl said this will not impact the number of instructional hours students need during the school year or after-school programs.

"We wanted to make sure we're staying within the current requirements not what we feel the requirements maybe later down the road but what they currently are," Dr. Scheikl said." We will and so for the middle and high schools they still end when the typical after school programs begin."

Dr. Scheikl said the decision on a pilot program could be decided on during the next few school board meetings.