Harbor View Elementary School could change its long-standing kindergarten schedule, moving from a split Early Bird/Late Owl system to a more mainstream approach.
“For years, I’ve been an advocate for Early Bird/Late Owl,” said kindergarten teacher Edie Archibald at a Parent Faculty Organization meeting held Wednesday. “Things have changed.”
Currently, most kindergarten students in the district begin school at the same time as the general student body, although the kindergarten school day typically ends earlier than the other students. Eastbluff Elementary School’s kindergarten students are in school from 8:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., the same as the rest of the school. But at Newport Coast, Andersen and Lincoln, the kindergartners typically are released about 1:30 p.m. A review of bell schedules provided by district officials shows only two other elementary schools that have a split kindergarten schedule.
Harbor View kindergartners, however, are split into the two groups. Early Birds attend school from 8:20 a.m. to 1:25 p.m., and Late Owl students attend from 10 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. On Wednesdays, all students are Early Birds.
Teachers have supported that schedule because it allowed for smaller student-teacher ratios for parts of the day.
But Archibald, who is a teacher representative to the PFO, said research has shown that kindergarten has become more academic and less developmental, and studies show that the current system may not be the most effective.
With all students on the same schedule, she said, teachers could offer after-school intervention and enrichment to students.
New principal Todd Schmidt said the change was being considered, but parents asked that more information be provided in executive PFO meetings before proceeding.
Interim Principal Mary Manos said she was principal of Andersen Elementary when that school made the switch.
“We were really non-believers,” she said. “It took us a whole year to find out it’s fantastic. The learning is huge.”
Archibald said that parent and staff input, including surveys, would be collected before any changes would be made.