Shawnee Mission middle schoolers will start slightly later on Thursdays next year

Hocker Grove Middle School

All Shawnee Mission middle schools will implement later starts for students on Thursdays beginning August 2022. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

Starting next school year in August, Shawnee Mission middle school students will get a little bit of later start every Thursday.

Why the change? This move aims to allow teachers a guaranteed hour of weekly time with their professional learning communities, or PLCs.

  • The district previously approved a PLC hour for high schools six years ago, but elementary and middle schools were asked to find time to do PLCs in the course of their normal schedules, according to board documents.
  • Negotiations are still ongoing to find a regular PLC time for elementary teachers, district officials told the Post on Monday.

The upshot for students: The new middle school PLC hour will impact the start of the day for students on Thursdays, pushing back the time they first need to be in class from 8:45 to 9:18 a.m.

  • Thursdays at SMSD middle schools will not begin like other days in “mascot hour,” similar to a study hall. That will be cut in favor of giving teachers PLC time each Thursday morning. Students on Thursdays will go directly to their first period.

Thursday start time: First period on Thursdays will still begin at 9:18 a.m., the time it has started in the past after “mascot hour.”

  • Teachers’ new PLC hour is scheduled to last from 8:05 a.m. to 9:05 a.m., giving them time to also get to their first period class.

Bus schedules stay the same: The later start on Thursdays will not change bus schedules.

  • Bus riders will still catch the bus on Thursdays at the same time they always do and get to school on Thursdays before first period begins.
  • Teachers will be asked to supervise students on a rotating basis during that hour before first period starts, when students would have previously been in “mascot hour.”
  • Car riders and walkers can choose to arrive at school later before first period starts.
  • Breakfast will still be served at campuses before first period begins.

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested middle school students would start Thursdays a full hour later. This was incorrect. The time they need to be in class is about 30 minutes later than on other days.