During our most recent contract negotiations, the Board of Education and the Prospect Heights Education Association (PHEA) worked collaboratively to come to an agreement to extend the D23 Elementary School Day by 30 minutes, starting in the 2024-25 school year. The primary purpose of this action is to align District 23’s elementary school day with the neighboring Districts, thereby providing additional time for teaching and learning.
This Fall, a task force comprised of PHEA, Administration, Board of Education, and parent representatives met multiple times to brainstorm options and develop a recommendation for Board action that expands the school day for elementary students to 6 1/2 hours. These meetings consisted of collaborative sharing of concerns, needs, and goals; testing multiple scenarios, and providing time for building-based scheduling discussions. The following proposal meets our goals, constraints, and parameters:
Meet Board transportation parameters ensuring route start times of no earlier than 7:00am
Work within First Student’s (bus company) staffing and scheduling constraints
Capitalize on the developmental needs and differences of our students
Improve pick-up and drop-off timing and efficiency by staggering start times
Minimize the impact on extracurricular activities and vocal/instrumental music (VIM) programs
These new times also provide an opportunity to improve efficiency for drop-off and pick-up by better staggering times and offering “early entry”. Rather than asking parents to wait in the car line, we are recommending they drop their child off as they arrive (no earlier than the designated drop-off times) and then immediately pull out of the line. Car riders will be supervised inside the elementary schools where they can sit quietly with friends and take advantage of breakfast for purchase.
New 2024-25 Start/End Times of Instructional Day:
1st Grade and Full Day K
Morning 1/2 Day K and EC
|Afternoon 1/2 Day K and EC
|Grades 2 & 3
|Grades 4 & 5
|Full Day EC
|MacArthur Middle School
|Grades 6, 7, & 8
What will you do with the additional 30 minutes?
Will there be changes to the lunch, specials, and class schedules?
Building administration and teams are using this opportunity to reflect upon and make enhancements to the school day schedule. There have been no definitive decisions made, but as they are, information will be shared with families.
Why did you decide to make elementary earlier and MacArthur later?
To facilitate bus, car, and stagger drop-offs, we needed to select one way or the other. The task force’s concern about younger students maintaining focus and effort later into the day and desire to align with the D214 practice and research on middle school students starting later were met by this decision.
Will there be changes to EDP?
We will continue to provide Extended Day programming for our students at Ross, Sullivan, and MacArthur 6th graders.
How will “early drop off” work?
Parents may drop off their children at their school location where they are to come inside the building and be supervised prior to the start of the school day.
Anytime AFTER 7:40 AM, Eisenhower students may enter the building and head to the Multi-Purpose Room.
Anytime AFTER 7:50 AM, Betsy Ross and Anne Sullivan students will be welcome to come right into their buildings, head to the gymnasium.
Anytime AFTER 8:05 AM, MacArthur students may enter the building and head to the cafeteria.
Breakfast will be available for purchase at all buildings. While students may use their MealTime accounts for purchases, cash will not be accepted in lines. Students who qualify for free/reduced lunch will also have breakfast provided.
Will there be changes to traffic flow?
We are encouraging parents to take advantage of the “early drop off” options at all buildings which will take place at the main entrances of all sites..
There are no anticipated changes to the actual traffic patterns at Eisenhower, Ross, and MacArthur.
No changes are being considered for afternoon pick-up.
Will there be changes to athletics and vocal/instrumental music programs?
The new start and end times will not impact any of our home athletic competitions, travel to away events, or VIM performances.
Buildings will continue to schedule rehearsals, practice, and club offerings before and after school to adjust to the new times. Some programs will also see movement into the school lunch or recess periods.