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D-181 board rejects late start days

HINSDALE – District 181 will no longer pursue the addition of eight, two-hour late start days in the 2013-14 school year.

It was recommended by the Board of Education during Monday's meeting to stop pursuit after survey results and additional feedback from parents and staff showed little support for implementing the late starts.

"From a superintendent and administration point of view, I commend them for what they did," said school board member Gary Clarin. "They listened to the public and they changed it. That's a good thing."

Originally, late start days were considered to provide more time for staff collaboration as the district puts into effect the Advanced Learning Program for the 2013-14 school year.

Clarin said personally he was not disappointed by the decision, and if discussions go beyond last night's meeting, he'd like to see more data about late starts.

He said the alternative now is to have teachers meet a couple hours after school, or during school when students aren't there, such as a teacher institute day.

“I think it's a great alternative," Clarin said. "I really believe the community will be a lot happier for it.”

The community was invited to complete the online survey from April 15 through May 3. According to the survey on District 181's BoardDocs, 70.6 percent of respondents supported the idea of more teacher collaboration, but 69.9 percent did not support the late start idea.

A total of 785 residents completed the survey, while more than 500 people signed a petition against the late starts being implemented earlier this month.

"It's really administration and teachers working together, and not taking away any class time away from the students," Clarin said. "That's the whole idea behind this thing and that's what they're trying to accomplish."

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