The Courier-Record

NEW START & DISMISSAL TIMES

Nottoway schools proceed with ‘Two-Tiered’ plan

Nottoway County Public Schools is moving forward with a “Two-Tiered” opening and closing schedule when the 2024-25 academic year begins Wednesday, August 21st.

Currently, instruction begins at 8:20 a.m. for all Nottoway K-12 students.

Next year, instruction will begin at 8:00 a.m. at Blackstone and Crewe Primary Schools; and 9:00 a.m. at Nottoway Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools.

Daily instruction will end at 2:30 p.m. at the primary schools and 3:30 p.m. at the intermediate middle-high school complex.

For faculty, elementary school teachers will report to school no later than 7:45 a.m. and will be dismissed at 3:00 p.m.

Teachers at the intermediatemiddle high school complex will report for duty by 8:30 a.m. and will be dismissed at 3:45 p.m.

The “Two-Tier” plan was first presented to the School Board in April.

School Board Chair Sonny Abbott asked last Thursday night, May 9th, “What steps are needed to formalize or finalize this plan?”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marcia Martin said no action is needed by the Board because it’s not changing the number of instructional hours.

“I appreciate that,” Abbott responded. “When will administration make its determination if they’re going to a two-tiered system?”

Division Supt. Dr. Tameshia Grimes responded, “We WILL go to a two-tiered system.”

Dr. Marcia Martin said the division received 420 surveys from parents and guardians and that among those: 51% “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” to the change, and 48% of “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that it would positively benefit students.

Among 115 returned surveys from staff, Dr. Martin reported that two-thirds don’t have a student in the division and that 82% of those respondents “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” with the change, 81% believe it will positively benefit students, and 65% believe it would positively impact daily schedules and routines.

Dr. Martin assured Board members that the change will have no negative impact on the division’s Weekday Religious Program, which is optional for elementary students or high school students attending the Amelia Nottoway Technical Center.

Dr. Grimes said the change will ensure more children will get to school on time. There will be fewer bus drivers and they’ll be making double runs but shorter runs. Drivers can earn an additional $75 per day for the second run. Central office is projecting an additional expenditure of $174,036 for bus driver salaries and benefits.

“We recognize this is a significant shirt,” Dr. Grimes said. “We’ve had our kids on pretty much the same schedule forever. But with the (driver) shortages we have and the need to get our kids to school on time, we feel it behooves us to implement this change.”

Dr. Martin agreed, citing a recent meeting at one school where every student in a class passed their assessment except for one student, who had been on a bus that was late every day for a week. “He missed the lesson every day, which required the teacher to find additional time to work with him. But that child missed five hours’ worth of instruction. That’s a profound statement.”

Dr. Martin last month told Board members, “Elementary students tend to be more attentive and receptive to learning in the morning. That’s their peak learning time. So this takes advantage of their cognitive functioning.”

Secondary students, she added, “tend to be more alert and engaged with a later start time. The research suggests that they tend to be more well-rested, and potentially more attentive, the later it is in the day.”

School officials say another benefit of the change is that elementary students no longer will have to ride buses with older children. That’s expected to alleviate overcrowding on some buses and also lead to fewer disciplinary referrals.

Dr. Grimes assured Board members that after the current school year ends, parents will begin receiving information about the changes in next year’s schedules.

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