TULSA, Okla. — In just one month, students will be walking through the doors at Thoreau Demonstration Academy for their first day of school. But this year, they'll have a new start time.
In previous years, the day would begin at 9:15 a.m. and not end until nearly 5 p.m. This year, students could now be at school as early as 7 a.m.
“We just found the change in bell time a solution to a lot of concerns," said Audrey Doctor, principal at Thoreau Demonstration Academy.
The middle school has an extended day program every Tues, Wed. and Thurs. It’s a chance for students to get extra academic support.
- Under the new schedule, the morning extended program is from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
- The regular school day is from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- There is also an afternoon extended program from 2:35 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.
Students have the option to participate in either or both programs.
“Our extended day program offers not just the academic support, but again, we have archery, we have sewing, we have knitting," Doctor said. "We have some things that, really, sometimes make students want to stay.”
There is no extended program on Monday or Friday. Those days are normal school hours.
This early start time is concerning some parents like Lynn Hernandez whose son will be attending middle school for the first time.
“His bus time will probably be 6 a.m.," Hernandez said. "So, that means he’s going to have to get up and get his school uniform on, get ready around 5:15ish.”
Hernandez wishes parents had more notice about the change. He's worried about his son is ready for school so early in the morning.
“Especially in the dead of winter, it’s going to be freezing cold," Hernandez said. "I mean that it feels like it’s going to feel like him driving to school on the bus in the middle of the night almost.”
Doctor said a big reason for the change was students struggling to make it to extracurricular activities after school because of the late dismissal time.
“We also have parents that have their child enrolled in karate, gymnastics, dance classes," Doctor said. "And because of our late school time, every time their child had to go to those classes, they would have to check their child out early.”
She also said this change will help teachers who have second jobs or other obligations after school.
You can check out bell times for Thoreau or other Tulsa Public School sites here.
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