Four-day week at Whittell High modified for shorter school days |

Four-day week at Whittell High modified for shorter school days

Roseann Keegan
Roseann Keegan / Tahoe Daily TribuneWhittell High School Principal Sue Shannon addresses an audience of parents during a meeting Monday to guage support for the school's new four-day week schedule.

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. – The four-day school week at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove adopted last fall will continue for two more years with a few modifications, Principal Sue Shannon said in a meeting with parents Monday.

Shannon will go before the school board in March to request that six additional Fridays be added to the schedule during weeks with holidays. Fridays in April and May will also be used to make up for snow day cancellations.

Under the modified schedule, students would attend school from 7:39 a.m. to 2:57 p.m., instead of 3:18 p.m. The school year would also lengthen from 144 to 150 days of instruction.

Fourteen parents gathered Monday night in the school commons to discuss their experiences with the new schedule and suggest changes.

Linda Bronken said her son stays up until midnight to complete his classwork.

“He has midnight nights routinely, so he does not get a day off,” she said.

Shannon said students should only have 15 minutes of homework per subject if the assignment is due the following day – an agreement reached among teachers when the new schedule was put into place.

The four-day schedule went into effect last fall due to the high absentee rate of students in athletics who were traveling up to eight hours by bus to rural Nevada communities to compete. Now the games are mostly restricted to Friday and weekend play.

Whittell High is the only school with a four-day schedule within the Douglas County School District and its neighboring Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

Under the traditional, five-day schedule, Shannon said students missed an average of 35 classes per year. This year, she projects that number will shrink to seven or eight.

Parent Raquel Norton has two children at Whittell High, both who are involved in sports. She said her son was sometimes the only student in class if he wasn’t playing that day.

“It’s not just about the athlete, it’s about the kids who are left behind,” Norton said.

Another parent noted that with the new schedule many activities are on Thursday nights making it difficult for parents to attend if they have to work the next day.

Shannon said the issue was discussed at a recent booster club meeting, and that an effort will be made to move school events to Friday nights.

The schedule could revert back to the five-day week if Whittell High is moved to the proposed Mount Rose League, which incorporates six schools, including all five high schools around Lake Tahoe and Sparks High School. The change would decrease travel time to games.

“It’s always been about increasing seat time,” Shannon said.

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