DELAYED: Whitko to start school day a half hour later on Wednesdays

SOUTH WHITLEY — Beginning Jan. 9, students attending Whitko Community School Corporation will start their school day a half hour later on Wednesdays.The delay in the schools’ start time comes after the school board passed the amendment at its last meeting.“We’ve needed to find a way to give our teachers time for professional development,” said Steve Clason, Whitko schools’ superintendent.“This weekly delay will allow us to spend more time developing educational programs that will enhance our schools.”One school board member, Jorell Tucker, was against the change. His concerns centered around parents having no alternative for their children with the mid-year change.Clason said he has received one phone call from a parent concerned with the change, but overall teachers and administration are looking forward to the opportunity to work on improving the schools and curriculum.“We’ve been struggling for four years on finding a way to building in efficient staff development,” said Clason.While the delay takes 30 minutes out of the school day for students, teachers will be giving up 30 minutes of their own time too. With this plan in place, teachers and administration will receive a full hour of development each week.The shift in schedules comes after the school corporation received a poor rating from the Indiana Department of Education. Although the score card was not the single factor in making the time change, Clason said it was a factor.“This is just another way for us to better ourselves and our schools,” Clason said. “In the end we saw the need to address specific things like math and reading. This time for the teachers will allow them the time to devote to working on those areas.”The need for professional development was interpreted by current Indiana Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. There are some concerns that once newly-elected Glenda Ritz takes over in January, the interpretation of that need will change.For more information on the schools’ start time, visit a more in depth look at this story, see the Dec. 4 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.