Chalklines: District Puts New Bell Schedule And Makeup Time After Hurricane Irma Center Stage

By Tamas Mondovics

School Board Votes On New Bell Schedule For 2018-2019 Season

The Hillsborough County School Board has approved a new bell schedule for the 2018-2019 school year.

Spearheaded by Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and after feedback from parents, students, district employees and the community, the proposed schedule was introduced on Tuesday, October 10, at 11:30 a.m. in the School Board Auditorium, located at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

At the district headquarters, 901 E. Kennedy Blvd. the Board approved the proposal the following week.

The decision came in the wake of three community meetings to gather additional feedback and answer questions.

According to school officials, nearly 57,000 people chose one preferred option among the six possible bell schedules on the district’s Bell Schedule Survey and more than 1,800 stakeholders provided input using the Bell Schedule Simulator.

The change means that starting next fall, elementary schools will begin the day first.

Officials said that the new schedule matches the guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommend high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Before-school and after-school care at elementary and middle schools will continue to be available, at a low cost, for families where there is a need.

One big reason for the change given by officials was the district’s issues with thousands of students arriving late to school as the current arrival and dismissal schedule does not allow buses enough time to run their routes.

District spokesperson Tanya Arja said that last year, 12,000 students were unavoidably late to school every day.

“The proposed new bell schedule will afford our bus drivers more time to safely navigate traffic and get students to school on time,” Arja stated in a recent press release.

For parents, students, staff and the community who would like to provide feedback or input to the proposed 2018-2019 bell schedule, please email bellschedule@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

The 2018-2019 bell schedule, based on community input, is listed below. Individual school schedules, including K-8 schools, may vary. For a complete school-by-school list, visit https://tinyurl.com/y7cpldwy.

Type of School Start Time End Time
Elementary Schools: 7:40 a.m. 1:55 p.m.
Elementary Magnet: 8:45 a.m. 3:00 p.m.
High Schools: 8:30 a.m. 3:25 p.m.
Middle and High Magnet: 8:30 a.m. 3:25 p.m.
Middle Schools: 9:25 a.m. 4:20 p.m.


District To Use Early Release Days for Makeup Time After Hurricane Irma

Hillsborough County Public Schools officials decided last month to convert four Early Release Days into regular school days, beginning on Monday, October 23, to make up for missed classroom time due to Hurricane Irma.

Officials said that instead of dismissing an hour early, school will dismiss at its normal time on the following dates: Monday, October 23, October 30, November 6 and November 13, which they said will allow students at all grade levels to meet the state’s requirements for time spent in class during the first semester.

To finalize its decision, the district sent a survey directed to employees for feedback, which proved that the most popular option (78 percent of respondents) was to make up for missed time by changing early release days.

Hillsborough County Public Schools annually builds additional instructional time into the calendar each year.       
 
For more information, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

Superintendent Eakins Named Administrator Of The Year By American Heart Association

Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins was named the National Administrator of the Year, by the American Heart Association last month.

Out of hundreds of candidates, Eakins was chosen by the AHA for his commitment to student health by ensuring heart healthy programs including the May 2015, Hands-Only CPR, which was approved by the district, making it a graduation requirement, while educating nearly 12,000 students each year in high school.

Eric Stommes, the Youth Market Director with the American Heart Association, presented a plaque to Superintendent Eakins.

“We believe this award is well-earned and well-deserved,” Stommes said. “Superintendent Eakins promotes health and wellness throughout the district and that is truly saving lives.”