Will an earlier start to school become the new norm?

Superintendent says goal is to have more school days before September holidays

Mike DeNardo
August 23, 2018 - 3:10 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — School bells are ringing in Philadelphia earlier than ever. The first day of classes for School District of Philadelphia students is just four days away. 

Some eyebrows raised when the Philly school calendar came out, with classes beginning Aug. 27 — a week before Labor Day.  

It may be a culture change, but Superintendent William Hite said his inbox hasn't exactly been overflowing with complaints.

"I have had one teacher and one parent who sent emails asking, 'Why did we do this?' " he said. The goal is to have more school days before the September holidays interrupt the flow.

"We want to frontload the instructional time so that we don't have three weeks of school after Memorial Day when attendance tends to drop off," he explained.

Will an early start become the new norm? Hite said he'll evaluate attendance and available academic records before making a recommendation for next year. This calendar change had been in the works for two years, he noted. 

"Anytime you do a change like this, you should analyze the impact of the change," he added.

But one thing the teachers do like, Hite said: The last day for students will be June 4.


Listen to the full interview with Superintendent William Hite below.