Southampton to send start time surveys

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If approved at a special Monday, March 16, meeting, the Southampton County school board will send a survey to all parents, faculty and other stakeholders to gauge their thoughts on a potential change in the district’s start time.

School superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish first told The Tidewater News that the district was mulling the idea back in January, citing that teens are most productive when they start their school day later in the morning as one of many added benefits.

“Some of the benefits (of a delayed start) are in terms of getting prepared to be in class, focusing on learning, and they also have a little more productivity,” she said.

As it stands, all schools within the district — primary or secondary — begin the day at 8 a.m.

Parrish previously said that the board was working toward having a decision by the end of the school year; however, the surveys have already been delayed by at least a month, according to board member Lynn Modlin.

The board had previously hoped to approve the survey at Monday evening’s meeting, but that was delayed even further because several board members did not email their survey assessment to Parrish beforehand.

Those specific board members thought that the survey could be amended at the meeting and subsequently approved, either in person or via email. There are no provisions in the board’s bylaws that would allow them to do so. Therefore, the vote on the revised survey must wait until the special meeting next week.

“There’s no rush,” said Dr. Deborah Goodwyn. “We want to make sure that we do this thoroughly, and this is the first step of several steps.”

This includes members of the board hosting public forums throughout the county in the coming months.