Dear Putnam Valley School District Community:
In an effort to respond to comments we have received following our most recent communication about the Later Start at the High School, we have prepared an FAQ. We continue to welcome your questions and will add new queries as they are received. The running FAQ will be posted on our website.
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools
When will this change for the High School take place?
What is the amount of time gained by students?
High school will start 40 minutes later. Classes will begin at 7:50 am, the equivalent to one full class period for our high school students. Bus pick up times, in many cases, will be one hour later than the current time. MS and HS families are encouraged to take a close look at the new routes and route numbers. MS start time remains at 7:50 am.
Why are we making this change when many students are not in favor of the later start?
We are basing this initiative on the substantial research on the emotional and physical well-being of youth that indicates the need for more sleep in alignment with their natural biological requirements. We have provided that research on our website and also statistics on how a later start contributes to academic achievement and safety for student drivers.
How will we handle traffic for additional buses as well as parents who drive their children to school?
A traffic study is underway to explore options. Traffic patterns on this campus have presented challenges in the past, so the traffic study made sense even before the late start decision was made. We are confident that changes can be made and that adjustments will be worth the end result.
What is the earliest time a middle school student can be dropped off in the morning to the Middle School by a parent?
How will the change affect morning clubs at the Middle School?
We have met with PV Parks and Rec, and they indicated that they would assess the needs of parents for an early morning program. Middle School clubs will be offered after school as many are now. Middle School administrators are looking at alternative ways to meet student interests.
We currently adjust club offerings based on student interest and enrollment, and we will continue to do that.
How will clubs and after school help be provided at the High School?
Clubs and academic help will still be offered after the regular school day concludes. For student-athletes, fall and spring sports’ schedules will still allow time for clubs and after school help as sports will not begin until 3:15 pm. For winter athletic season, due to the availability of gym space and working to accommodate our various sports teams, winter sports will have to begin directly after school ends. Practice schedules may still allow student athletes time for other after school activities.
In addition, the High School is also planning a mid-day single longer lunch period during which some academic help and clubs will be offered. More information on the single lunch will be provided prior to implementation as we develop the initiative. We will serve food in several different places throughout the building and students will be able to eat in a variety of spaces with their friends or as they participate in activities scheduled at that time. This model is successfully used in other schools in the region and allows for more flexibility in scheduling.
How will sports at the High School be scheduled?
Modified sports will look exactly as they do now. If they are off campus, they will be bused 3:00-5:00 pm,to and from their sites. If they are on campus or inside, practice will be held 2:45-4:15 pm in most cases. Fall and spring practices for JV and Varsity will start at 3:15 pm or later depending on shared spaces. Games will remain as they are now. On the few away contests that are an hour or more away we will leave at 2:45 pm (this will not happen often during a season.) Junior varsity and varsity winter sports, all held indoors, will remain at the current 2:45 pm start time due to full utilization of the buildings’ gymnasiums and other practice areas.
How will bus monitors be assigned?
We will continue to assign monitors on buses where they are needed or required due to student programs.
How will the late bus schedule work for high school students with this new schedule?
The late bus runs will continue and will move to accommodate the after school schedules.
New Horizons (Special Student Programs) schedule and large or small buses assigned?
Student programs that have special busing now, will continue to have separate busing which is typically a small bus.
What effect will this have on our students who attend BOCES programs?
Separate transportation for BOCES and other out of district schools will continue to be provided.
How appropriate is it to have grades 5-12 riding together on buses?
School districts vary in the way that students are assigned to buses depending on their transportation needs and schedules and we have consulted neighboring school districts and have received positive feedback from those who currently have middle and high school students ride together. Within our current transportation structure, middle and high school students do occasionally ride on the same bus as students take advantage of before and after school activities and sports.
With the ongoing partnership between drivers, administrators and parents, who all share the same message of the importance of appropriate behavior, we are happy to share that student behavior is overwhelmingly appropriate. This is especially true during our high school bus runs. We monitor bus behavior closely and discipline referrals support the notion that our high school students help moderate the behavior of our middle school students.
Our high school and middle school students already connect in a variety of positive ways, and the new bus run schedule will pick up a greater number of students from a smaller geographic area. This raises the likelihood of middle school students riding on buses with older students whom they already know from the neighborhood. Finally, shorter bus runs will provide less opportunity for misbehavior to occur.