Faculty and Students Adjust to New Start Time
3:17 p.m. and the dismissal bell rings. Caroline Grosman, junior, rushes from her Personal Finance class on the second floor.
3:23 p.m. and she makes it to the parking spot she purchased just for that day. She starts her car and puts it in the long lineup to exit the parking lot.
3:36 p.m. and Caroline’s blue Honda CR-V hits the main road and zooms to meet her 30-minute commute.
“Last Friday I had to get a daily spot so I could get to work on time,” Grosman said. “It was very stressful to get out of the parking lot on time. This wouldn’t have been a problem if our dismissal time didn’t change.”
This year the Rockwood High School Program Design Committee moved the high school start time back by 12 minutes, changing the release time from 3:05 p.m. to 3:17 p.m.
Samad Arif, senior, understands Grosman’s difficult schedule resulting from the time change.
“Getting to work is absolutely an issue with this schedule,” Arif said. “I constantly have to call my bosses and apologize for being late.”
Arif said the new time also deprives students of much-needed freetime between their extracurricular activities.
“It puts a lot of stress on the students, where they can’t go home to eat something. Instead they have to go rush to their next activity that they have scheduled,” Arif said. “It’s really just unneeded stress.”
Mike Ebert, Cross Country Coach, said issues concerning the district’s new schedule might also extend to sporting events. When teams face schools outside of the Rockwood District, they will be at a disadvantage because the others teams will have more time to warm up and prepare for the game.
He’s uneasy not only about the competitive disadvantage, but for the coaches and students who will be forced to miss class time.
“We try not to pull kids out of class unless we absolutely have to, but we’re going to need to,” Ebert said. “You have teachers who have to leave class because they’re riding those busses, they’re going to those games, and this means there’s going to be more class that they’re missing.”
Activities Director Shane Matzen is trying to manage after school sports with the new release time.
“We’re trying to make as many adjustments as we can, but like anything new we’re gonna have to deal with some issues that we just haven’t seen yet,” he said.
Despite the schedule change, Matzen is not too concerned because the time difference is only 12 minutes.
“It may work out great and we don’t have any issues whatsoever, but we won’t know until we start to go through it,” Matzen said.
Principal Dr. Greg Mathison participated in the Rockwood High School Program Design Committee and said the new start time will be beneficial to students.
Dr. Mathison said Committee based the decision on research that shows that children from sixth grade to twelfth grade should be starting school after 8:30 a.m. Not only was the start time for the high schools altered by 12 minutes, but the district middle school start time was similarly pushed back by about 16 minutes.
“The answer really is that research is clear and our community was clear in a survey we did a year and a half ago that they want later start times for middle and high school,” Dr. Mathison said.
Despite the community’s support behind the idea, Dr. Mathison said concerns have arisen relating to the resulting revised bus routes. The school administration said it has been working with MoDOT and the bus company to accommodate the new schedule.
“While I know there are some growing pains with some kids and some families, I don’t want to minimize that, I know our transportation is trying to do everything they can to keep our buses on time,” Dr. Mathison said.