By Heather Lusk
Elementary school start times will impact more than just students when school begins an hour earlier in August.
The extracurricular foreign language programs that currently last from 8 a.m. until school starts an hour later are shifting most classes to after school this fall.
“We’re excited about it,” said Cathy Dwyer, teacher liaison for L’Ecole Francaise, which offers French classes for kindergarten through sixth grade.
She hopes that more people will take advantage of the classes with the time change.
“It’s all about the benefits of studying another language,” she said.
Learn Another Language, teaching Spanish, will also shift to after school. Amy Malott, the organization’s president, doesn’t believe the change will impact participation in the program.
“I think that as long as the students are able to manage their curricular activities, I don’t think that we’re going to have a big problem with enrollment,” she said.
Early Start, teaching Spanish to kindergarten and preschool students, will continue to have an option at 8 a.m. since their classes begin an hour later than other elementary students.
Before and After Care, which provides a safe place for students before and after the school day, is also adapting to meet the anticipated addition of students using the service.
“We’re definitely looking at mixing it up,” said Julie Oakley, director of GROW, which provides the service for Zionsville Community Schools.
With the expectation that most students in BAC will stay more than three consecutive hours, they are adapting the model to be similar to summer camp with homework time, snacks and activities.
“We don’t want it to look like daycare,” she said. “It’s going to be a long day for some of the students.”
“We want it to be enrichment time but also fun,” Oakley said.
Roughly 400 students participate in morning and afternoon BAC but Oakley suspects that the morning hours will decrease.
“We feel that this coming year will be a learning experience for all of us,” she said.