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FAQs regarding change in school start times

| October 23, 2019

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers in response to the district announcement of the change in school start times, which will begin September 2020.

To see other frequently asked questions and answers regarding the transition of the junior high to Shaker Middle School, including the questions below, please visit this page.

Athletics

Since the middle school dismissal time is later, will the modified sports schedule be adjusted?
Yes. Modified practices will start after the middle school release time. The modified athletic contest start times may be slightly adjusted. Home contests may move from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and away contests from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30-4:45 p.m. These are the same times already in place for the other “late schools” in the league.

Will middle school students still be able to participate in high school sports?
Yes, middle school students will be able to participate in high school sports. The new Shaker Middle School schedule will not prevent any student from participating in interscholastic athletics. All seventh and eighth grade students who have been identified by a coach to try out for a High School level sport will still have that opportunity. Numerous other schools in the Suburban Council already follow the schedule we will be changing to and still include middle school students on high school teams.

Will middle school students participating in high school sports have to go late to practice since the middle school will dismiss later than the high school?
Yes. Middle school athletes who participate on high school teams will potentially arrive late to practice, which is a common occurrence at most other Suburban Council schools.

How will middle school students participating in high school sports make a 4 p.m. contest?
When necessary, students in the middle school will be excused early for athletic contests if they participate on a high school team.

Will the high school students wait for the middle school students to get out so they can practice together?
In some cases high school practices may start later, but some sports will start practice before middle school dismissal. In those cases, middle school athletes will arrive to practice late with no penalty. Again, this is a common occurrence with most of our league counterparts who have a middle schools off campus and with a later start time.

What time will modified practices end?
Typically, modified practices will end anywhere from 5:30-6 p.m.

Transportation

How do the bus runs operate?
We currently do a high school/junior high school bus route, followed by an early elementary run, followed by a late elementary run. This would be the same next year, but with high school only first, then the two separate elementary routes, then the middle school route. The same process would take place in the afternoon.

What will the late bus schedule be? Who can ride on those buses?
There will be late buses available to students at the middle school and high school. The details of these routes are still being worked out and the district will share details with families once they are finalized.

Why didn’t the district just add more buses and keep the schedules as is?
In order to keep the current bus schedule, it would require adding at least 30 buses at a cost of $3,735,000, just for the buses. This total does not include salary and benefits for drivers. We would need to hire 30 new drivers at a time when there is already a regional, state, and nationwide shortage.

Will the district provide buses for before care, or will parents need to drop their kids off to school every morning?
No. There will not be a separate bus route in the morning to take kids from home to before school care, which is no different from what currently takes place across the district. All parents are expected to drive their students to before care and sign them in each morning they attend. This is done for security purposes.

High School

Why wasn’t a later start time for the high school taken into consideration?
Due to the fact that a large majority of our 2,000 high school students participate in extracurricular activities, sports and/or jobs, a later start time for the high school does not seem feasible. We are aware that there are other suburban council high schools actively looking into later start times and Superintendent Corr will continue to follow the progress of those conversations.

Middle School

Why is the middle school starting later and not the elementary schools?
This scenario is something that our transportation director researched. In order to put all of the elementary schools on the same bus run and have the middle school and high school bus runs not be impacted, the district would need to purchase an additional 15 buses, costing $1,867,500.This total does not include salary and benefits for drivers. We would also need to hire 15 new drivers at a time when there is already a regional, state, and nationwide shortage.

Given the later dismissal, will middle school students still have access to after school help and a late bus?
Yes.

Will there be an after school program at the middle school for 6th graders?
No, we are not currently planning on hosting a CYC after school program at the middle school for sixth graders. However, if you are interested in an after school program for your sixth grade student, please contact Nikki Caruso at the Colonie Youth Center at ncaruso@colonieyouthcenter.org so that she can gauge interest from the families in the district. There will be a Colonie Youth Center program before school that will run from 7:30-8:45 a.m. but with the later dismissal time, we are not planning on running a PM program.

When will extra help be offered for students at the middle school?
Extra help will be provided to students at various times throughout the day. Details will be shared with families at a later date.

What extracurricular opportunities will be available to incoming sixth graders?
There will be a variety of extracurricular activities available to sixth grade students, including intramurals, sports, clubs, etc. All students will be made aware of these opportunities when they enter the middle school.

How are the renovations at the junior high going?
The building project is on schedule, if not ahead of schedule. We eagerly anticipate opening the new middle school in September 2020 and welcoming our first group of sixth grade students!

More questions?

If you have more questions, please submit them via this Google form.

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