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Fayette high school days get longer in Aug.; middle schoolers also affected

Beginning in August school days get longer for Fayette County’s high school students — 20 minutes longer each weekday afternoon.

And middle school students will have to get to school 10 minutes earlier than they have been used to, but they will get out 10 minutes earlier each afternoon.

The changes are the result of the Board of Education last week voting unanimously to expand the 20-minute instructional focus period to the county’s three remaining high schools beginning in August. Time changes for the new school year will also go into effect at each of the county’s middle and high schools.

The move to add a 20-minute instructional focus period at Whitewater, Starr’s Mill and McIntosh high schools beginning in August follows that of Sandy Creek High School and Fayette County High School where the 20-minute period had been previously added.

Sandy Creek Principal Roy Rabold and Fayette County High School Principal Charles Warr at a recent school board meeting noted numerous benefits to having added the 20-minute period within the high school day in recent years.

Rabold said that at Sandy Creek the 20-minute period is used for purposes of remediation, acceleration or study hall. Both Rabold and Warr said the instructional focus period is supported by staff and is beneficial to student achievement. The move to add the 20-minute instructional focus at the three remaining high schools was supported by the principals of those schools.

Implementing the change will mean that each of the county’s five high schools beginning in August will start the school day at 8:40 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m.

The vote by the board came at the recommendation of Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach after the meeting said the additional 20 minutes of high school instructional time for 2011-2012 brings new start and end times for middle schools and a different end time for high schools.

She said the school system decided to adjust the start times between middle and high schools in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, especially at the South Complex (Rising Starr Middle and Starr’s Mill High) and the North Complex (Flat Rock Middle and Sandy Creek High).

Currently, all middle schools start at 8:25 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m. All high schools begin at 8:40 a.m. and release at 3:20 p.m., Berry-Dreisbach said.

Next school year beginning in August, middle school will start and end 10 minutes earlier, 8:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. High school will begin at the same time, 8:40 a.m., but will release 20 minutes later at 3:40 p.m., said Berry-Dreisbach.

Elementary start and end times will remain unchanged, 7:45 a.m. — 2:30 p.m.

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