A typical school week for students in the Kent School District will look different beginning this fall.
All students will attend school for 6 hours and 40 minutes a day, except for most Wednesdays, which will be a two-hour early release.
“The new Learning First Schedule will allow consistent time for music, physical education, and library/media instruction and allow teachers to infuse more science and social studies content into lessons at early grade levels,” according to a media release from the school district.
The length of the school day currently varies at each of the three levels – elementary (6 hours, 8 minutes), middle (6 hours, 26 minutes) and high school (6 hours, 35 minutes).
The new schedule will give teachers more time for collaborative planning and professional development. Under the current schedule, there is one late start day each month for teaching training and collaboration.
The new schedule is in line with many surrounding school districts, including Seattle Public Schools, which recently adopted a similar calendar.
“We are looking for ways to improve students performance and give kids the best possible education in time that we have,” Kent School District spokesman Chris Loftis said.
All high schools and Kent Mountain View Academy will begin at 7:40 a.m., while middle schools will start at 8:30 a.m. Elementary school start times will range from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The Outreach Program (T.O.P.) – which serves 18-to-21-year-old special needs students – will start at 9:30 a.m. Preschool schedules and conference week schedules will be available soon.
School will get out two hours early every Wednesday, except for three weeks for conferences – one each in October, November and February – with the first early release day set for Sept. 6. The new school year starts Thursday, Aug. 31, except for kindergarten, which begins Sept. 6.
The early release schedule ensures students have access to two meals a day.
“When we do late arrival some kids are not getting breakfast,” district communications specialist Ayla Kelley said. “If we do early release, they get breakfast and lunch.”
District officials are compiling – along with a list of childcare providers and free, low-cost, and fee-based after-school activities – on the district’s website, kent.k12.wa.us/learningfirstschedule.
Anyone with concerns or questions about the changes can send an email to LearningFirst@kent.k12.wa.us.