School year begins with extended Wednesday arrivals every week

Start time changes for bus efficiency, staff planning boost in productivity


LT students leaving school during a late start Wednesday time change to 9:15 A.M. (Gee/LION).

Maddie Gee, News Editor, Multimedia Editor

LT administration has utilized certain Wednesdays to have teacher-collaboration time before students arrive at school. This consists of professional learning community teams that consistently plan and adjust their class curriculum. 

This model has evolved from 8:45 a.m. late-arrival days occurring every other week, to 8:45 a.m. late arrival days every week, and most recently for this school year, a 9:15 a.m. start once per week. This change is due to last year’s large number of students riding the bus and arriving well after the beginning of first period.

“The way that our buses work, because we start earlier than the grade schools, they run all of the LT routes, then [the] grade schools’ routes,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Scott Eggerding said. “Even starting at 8:45 [a.m.], they weren’t able to do those two routes [reliably].”

Opportunities for professional development take place prior to student arrival as well. Quarterly, planning on Wednesdays incorporate social-emotional learning, trauma-informed practices, culturally responsive pedagogy, infusing instructional technology, and disciplinary literacy that each teaching team can select from.

“A team can determine what they want to study within a few different areas, learn together, and try things out within their practice,” principal Jennifer Tyrrell said. “They’re going to learn and grow together within a line of inquiry that they’re most interested in. The increase in morning PLC (professional learning community) time also allows for some additional professional learning to occur which we are excited about.”

Despite the 30-minute shift shortening educational time, no additional days will be required to attend at the end of the year. The state of Illinois requires 300 minutes, or five hours, of instructional time each day, which the shortened days still exceed.

Distinctions from the four School Improvement days implemented in the 2022-2023 calendar include an earlier 11:30 a.m. dismissal, as well as entire division advancement efforts instead of the typical smaller team meetings. 

More minutes of student sleep coincide with more time to review staff initiatives.

 “A theme among our teachers is they want time,” Tyrrell said. “They want time to work on their craft, collaborate with their colleagues, and not only discuss best practices but determine how they can implement things that we know are best practices within their classrooms and work with students.”

Additionally, students enjoy the break in a busy week with the chance to sleep in, Ben Dreves-Hunt ‘24 said. 

“I prefer 9:15 a.m. [late-starts] 100 percent, because I find that I’m more productive, and that teachers don’t give busy-work,” Dreves-Hunt said. “We actually go over material, and I would be surprised if anyone went against a late-start day.” 

Supporting the biological needs of many adolescents through a shifted schedule aims to improve attendance, as well as academic performance. 

“We always must emphasize student mental health, and we believe a later start time in the middle of the week assists with ensuring that students receive adequate sleep throughout the school week,” superintendent Brian Waterman said. “This is also an important part of balancing the different needs students have.”