Douglas school board rejects 4-day week, late start; No change for lake schools |

Douglas school board rejects 4-day week, late start; No change for lake schools

Kurt Hildebrand / Record Courier
There was standing room only in February for a district meeting at George Whittell High School.
Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — A proposal to implement a four-day school week was rejected by school board trustees on Tuesday evening.

Superintendent Teri White said the board also voted 4-1 against changing school start times for secondary school students.

Every single Carson Valley school principal weighed in against the proposal to reduce the week to four days, though three of them acknowledged teachers and staff wouldn’t mind.

Whittell High School has been on a four-day schedule for 11 years.

Principals tended to favor starting school 30-45 minutes later, which would adjust school’s end time as well with four of the 11 opposing it.

“There could be huge benefits to this for most kids,” Douglas High Principal Joe Girdner said. “Our most involved kids might suffer with later extracurricular activities. Educationally, it would benefit the majority of students to get extra sleep.”

School Board President Robbe Lehmann was the sole vote in favor of changing the start time.

“I have spent countless hours reading what seems to be a never ending supply of articles, studies and stories about the benefits of later start times for adolescents,” Lehmann wrote the board.

Douglas High Football Coach Ernie Monfiletto expressed concerns about changing the start time, saying there are around 1,000 Douglas students participating in extracurricular activities.

He pointed out that the rest of Northern Nevada’s schools start at a traditional time, which means students participating in games or other activities will miss more school with the late start.

White said the school board took no action on aligning the calendar between the lake and valley schools.

At present, the lake schools don’t let out until late in June and start in the last week of August.

Carson Valley schools let out in the first week of June and generally start in the first half of August.

In a memo to the school board, White pointed out that the district requires 70 minutes between the start for elementary school students and secondary students.

“Schools starting later will be released later and that means any students involve in sports or extra-curricular activities may miss more instruction on game days,” she said. “The converse means that our younger students may be a bus stops very early in the morning and may be coming home earlier in the afternoon.”

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