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What You Need to Know Before the Kids Go Back

District 202 is implementing a lot of changes this school year, some to save money and others to make life easier.

School for about 29,000 students enrolled in begins in just over two weeks, and already preparations are under way for the start of the new school year.

This week, schools resumed their normal business hours and new teachers are visiting their classrooms through a series of institute days.

New changes also go into effect this year. They include:

  • Students start on Aug. 18 with a full day of school, which is the first year that school begins this early. In prior years, construction of new buildings had pushed the start of school as late as possible to allow those buildings to be completed, district spokesman Tom Hernandez said. Because no schools are opening this year, the school board was allowed to change the start of school to mid-August, which allows the semester to end before winter break – a great advantage to high school students preparing for finals, Hernandez said.

“We are excited about this change, largely because it will allow high school students to finish first semester and take finals before the winter break, rather than have to come back after two weeks off, spend a week or so reviewing and then take finals,” he said. “It will also allow us to finish the year earlier, which parents have asked for.”

  • The school board will announce high school graduation dates in early fall, and assuming no snow days, school will be out for all district students May 25.
  • This school year also marks a change in school start times and bus schedules. The district was able to save about $600,000 in busing costs by adjusting school times and bus routes.

Since the new bus schedule shortens routes and eliminates some bus stops, some middle and high school students may have to walk between two-tenths and four-tenths of a mile (an increase from last year’s distance of two-tenths of a mile) to their new bus stops.

The distance elementary students have to walk to their bus stops remains about one-tenth of a mile, which is the same as last year.

Bus drivers transporting afternoon kindergarten students will contact the families on their routes shortly before school begins.

Bus routes can be found on the district’s Web site at www.psd202.org/schools/busruns.php.

  • New school start times also go into effect this fall in order to accommodate the new bus routes.

High school students will attend school from 7:05 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. Middle school students will attend school from 7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. and elementary schools, except for Lakewood Falls Elementary School, will attend from 9:05 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

Students at Lakewood Falls, because of their close proximity to Creekside Elementary School, will attend school from 8:55 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to allow traffic to flow better through the area.

  • Also new this year is the ability for parents to pay their school fees online. The system is expected to be easier and more efficient for both parents and school officials by reducing manual data entry for secretaries and bookkeepers and reducing the number of phone calls and visits to the schools to pay fees, Hernandez said.

The new student fee payment system can be found on the district’s Web site www.psd202.org in the announcements section. The system will allow for total payments or partial payments under the monthly payment plan.

Lunch fees cannot be paid for under this new student fee payment system, but can be paid for using https://mymealtime.com/signin.aspx.

Sheila Raddatz August 03, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Concerned, you are so right on the sleep issue but thinking back to some of my pysch class, I believe that teenagers need about 10ish hours of sleep because of all the developmental changes in their bodies. Puberty is rough all around. (haha) My kids are little, so I am not encoutering this problem yet, but I am not looking forward to it.
Lori Janiec August 03, 2011 at 06:38 PM
This is something I'm hearing a lot in talking with some of the other parents. Between activities, sports, jobs, family activities, it's going to be hard on everyone! If I remember correctly, my high school day went from approx. 7:50 to 3:10 and I rode the bus! The chief complaints I hear are families who have children at multiple levels who work and now it's harder to get the younger children off to school. I guess only time will tell if this is a good change or not. People generally don't like change (myself included) but without change there is no progress. We'll just have to wait and see!
Lori Janiec August 03, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Oh Karen! You've been posting something along these lines a LOT lately! Blame the heat! It's making everyone a little crazy! ;)
Concerned Parent August 03, 2011 at 07:22 PM
I agree, it's going to be harder on everyone, and all we can do is hope for the best!
Denise Williams August 03, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Jerry, congrats, you hit the nail on the head. As for the studies showing how much sleep teenagers need, there are just as many equally well done studies showing how those original studies were faulty in their inception, implementation and conclusions.

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