The first of six late-start days in the Rock Hill school district will be Wednesday, as listed on the district calendar.
On late-start days, all students report to school two hours late, while teachers report at the normal time for “professional development,” district spokeswoman Elaine Baker said.
This Wednesday, each school will look at data from last year to develop a “school improvement plan,” said Judy Mobley, executive director of secondary education for the district. A school improvement plan is mandated by the state.
For subsequent late-start days, each school has flexibility to determine what kind of professional development it would like to implement to achieve the goals laid out in its improvement plan.
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This is the ninth year the district has used late-start days, although people are often caught off-guard by them, Baker said, despite numerous efforts the schools make to communicate the information to parents.
A common misconception is that there are no options for parents who need to work and can’t provide care for their children during that two-hour delay period, Baker said.
While district buses will operate on a two-hour delay, each school has supervision and a safe space for children to be if they need to be dropped off at the normal time, she said. In that case, schools ask parents or guardians to let the school know if a child is going to be there at the usual time so adequate space can be provided.
In the past, some parents and board members questioned why late-start days were necessary.
“It gives teachers time to plan and work together when they’re fresher instead of at the end of the day when they’ve been teaching a whole day,” Mobley said.
Allowing staff members two hours of collaborative time without students or extracurricular activities allows them to accomplish more than if the same professional development happened after school.
There is no breakfast served on late-start days.
The rest of the year’s late-start days will be on Oct. 8, Nov. 12, Feb. 11, March 11 and April 22.