Bell Schedule Changes for 2013-2014 School Year To Affect 13 Schools

Ella Lundquist, Staff Writer

With the 2012-2013 school year winding down and summer vacation coming closer, changes are being finalized to next year’s schedule including the bell schedule for the high school and twelve other schools in the North Penn School District.

The schools affected by these changes are NPHS, Northbridge, Gwyn Nor, Gwynedd Square, Hatfield, Inglewood, Knapp, A.M. Kulp, Montgomery, General Nash, North Wales, Oak Park and York Avenue elementary schools.

The most important benefit of these time changes is that it is a money saver. “Saving money on the operational side of the school district is important so that these funds can be used for student learning and instruction. To that end, NPSD recently completed a study related to the start and end times of our schools and how these times can affect transportation of our students. We found that more time between the arrivals and dismissals of our various schools would allow us to use fewer buses and consequently save money,” explains North Penn School District Superintendent, Dr. Curtis Dietrich.

Additionally, Dr. Dietrich continued saying that “NPSD is committed to continuous improvement both in the education of our students and on the operational side of the school district. When efficiencies in operational areas such as energy and transportation result in expenditure reductions, the funds saved can be re-directed to the educational needs of our students. Over the next few years the minor changes to bell times that we are making can significantly cut transportation-related expenses such as vehicle, fuel, and staffing costs, while at the same time provide safe and efficient transportation for our students.”

There are many concerns that typically come with changes to the times of school including busing schedules, sports practices and games, after school care, and various other after school activities. However, Dr. Dietrich believes that “the changes are so slight that [any] negative impact is minimal,” and he has “personally heard from only a handful of parents who have concerns about the impact on after-school activities for their elementary age child. We haven’t heard from secondary parents with concerns.”

As much as high school students would love to start their day later in the morning agreeing with a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation stating that “80% of poll respondents said high schools should start no earlier than 8:00 a.m.,” and that there are many benefits to starting high schools at a later time, Dr. Dietrich states that “in researching the changes, I spent a lot of time at North Penn High School in the mornings and realized that a majority of the students are already there at the new start time. NPHS, its students and staff are recognized as the best in the nation. I do not foresee a minimal change in school hours by minutes impacting student achievement. Our students and staff are committed to excellence.”