School year changes create opportunities for district

Students+fill+the+hallways+of+DCHS+as+they+move+from+one+class+period+to+the+next.+Passing+periods+have+been+shortened+from+four+minutes+to+three+to+help+accommodate+for+the+new+Access+period+at+the+end+of+the+school+day.

Photo by Nicole B.

Students fill the hallways of DCHS as they move from one class period to the next. Passing periods have been shortened from four minutes to three to help accommodate for the new Access period at the end of the school day.

Nicole B., Co-Editor

To kick off the 2014-15 school year, new additions were added to David City High School and the rest of the district.

School now starts ten minutes earlier at 8 a.m. and finishes five minutes later at 3:35 p.m. The administrator team felt more time was needed to tackle items throughout the day. Although classroom time has been cut, this extra fifteen minutes has given DCHS the opportunity to have an Access period, a time for students to take care of things outside of classes.

The Access period will give organizations time to conduct meetings, allow the students to attend pep-rallies, provide time to broadcast announcements, and so forth.

“If we interrupt Access, that’s not the greatest thing in the world, but it’s better than interrupting a class during the day. Creating that time at the end of the day will hopefully create some opportunities for our students,” Principal Cortney Couch said.

The extended school day not only creates opportunities for students at DCHS, but for students at the elementary schools as well.

At the elementary level, it was difficult for students to get to everything they needed all in one day. Art, PE, music, and keyboarding were running out of time to do everything required. However, the school board did not want to simply cut those classes, for they feel the classes are just as important as any others.

With the extra 15 minutes added to the day, the elementary schools now have more time for each of the classes to further expand their learning.

“We needed more time. We didn’t need more days, we just needed more time in the day,” Superintendent Chad Denker said.

When the idea of going from a four-minute passing period to a three-minute passing period was discussed, the administrators looked at past 1:30 outs and two-hour late starts, as these days both contained the three-minute passing periods now used. No tardies or problems seemed to have occurred on those days, so the decision was made to reduce the passing periods from four minutes to three minutes.

Assistant Principal Chad Fuller has experience with three-minute passing periods from his previous schools.

“The last two school districts that I worked at there were three-minute passing periods and they were bigger buildings than this. It’s one of those things that you have to plan ahead. You may not have time to go to your locker every period. You may have to go to one class and take the next two class things with you,” Fuller said. “You are going to have less social time in between. But I think in a school of our size, if you plan, three minutes is plenty. And most teachers are going to work with you and that kind of thing. My recommendation is you go, you check in, and you go to the restroom if you need to.”

Couch said that many students have approached him suggesting that he reconsider the changes, but Couch continues to keep a positive outlook. He expects everything to become smoother as time goes by.

“Students are going to realize which classes they can use the bathroom in between and go to their locker and which ones they can’t. I’m going to wait and see if that continues to be a big issue or not. If we have to revisit it and make changes, then we can always revisit it. But I respect the students bringing that to my attention because that’s truly the only way I’m going to know things,” Couch said. “We’ll see if it gets better or worse, then we’ll make a decision.”

Along with the extended school day, the new Access period, and the shorter passing periods came a new phone and bell system as well.

Last spring, the intercom system shorted out when the phone system was struck by lightning during a storm. The bells were run through the phone system, and due to the bell system being so outdated, its company no longer exists. The only option was to purchase an all new phone and bell system. The new bell tone has been matched to the old tone to the best extent possible.

The administrator team hopes the new additions will bring opportunities, development, improvement, and additional time every day into DCHS.