Sycamore High School Considers Flexible Start Times For Students

Jul 7, 2017

Sycamore High School officials will reach out to students next fall about their most recent attempt to customize education for their students.

What started as an effort to create bus-route efficiency throughout the Sycamore school district developed into a customized learning initiative for Sycamore High School students, according to school officials. Supt. Kathy Countryman says the focus shifted after the district received community input.

“We’re really looking at how [we can] flex student schedules to allow them to maybe participate in activities, or maybe have a job, or things like that,” Countryman said.

Countryman says the district is considering three start-time options: Zero Hour at about 7 a.m.; standard start time at 8:15 a.m.; and adding a later start time, possibly 9 a.m. There also could be night-class options.

“We’ve been working for 16 years with a consultant about customizing education for kids,”said Sycamore High School principal Tim Carlson, so we’re trying to provide different opportunities and constantly talk about how education needs to change, education needs to change -- and education never changes; it’s at a glacial pace."

Carlson says teacher input also will influence the flexible start-time initiative, because the school will need willing teachers to teach classes at the other proposed start times.

Countryman says a district committee will survey students on the topic this fall.