Have you ever felt rushed at your elementary student’s Open House night at the end of summer? The STMA school district is proposing a significant change to the current system of holding a 1.5 hour Open House at the end of August, and they posit that the new Fall Orientation Days will give students, teachers and parents more time to become acquainted and complete beginning-of-the-year tasks.
The STMA district is proposing to move grades 1-4 to the same system as the kindergarten students use for their orientation. Rather than an evening open house the last week of August, all elementary students would delay their start of school date two days to allow for each child to have a 30-minute personal orientation with their teacher.
For next school year, that would mean students in grades K-4 would officially begin school on Thursday, September 10. In August, parents would sign their students up for an orientation time on either 9/8 or 9/9 using ParentView. Orientation times would take place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on 9/8 or 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on 9/9. During their orientation, students would take an assessment with their teacher, have their pictures taken, review bus safety, and complete hearing and vision screenings. The district said this new schedule would save the district money on bussing costs for those two days and would reduce disruptions to the school schedule in September.
What do Other Districts do?
If enacted, STMA would be the only school district in the Lake Conference to use this orientation method. Edina, Wayzata, Eden Prairie and Buffalo school districts have all students start the day after Labor Day. Hopkins students begin either the day after Labor Day or one day later, depending on their grade, and Minnetonka public schools start kindergarten two days later than grades 1-12, identical to STMA’s current system.
The STMA school board plans to hear this proposal at their regular board meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 and will take public input on the plan at that time.