Urbandale High School has faced many changes over the years. As a result of this, Urbandale is consistently evolving to fit the current needs of students and staff. This year, on January 21, the district held a meeting where it was proposed that the high school schedule should be shifted to add late starts on Mondays and to eliminate early dismissal on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Later, after some consideration, the proposed changes were passed by the school board. This has been met with both positive and negative reactions.
Dr. Carlile is the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Urbandale School District. She supervises the administrators that oversee student services and school principals. In addition to this, she works with the district’s curriculums, instructions, and assessments. Dr. Carlile, along with others, proposed the schedule change. This was a long and difficult process, and the people who prepared it had to take many steps to get it approved. The process began by evaluating the effect of both proposed changes, moving Urbandale High School to late starts instead of early-outs and moving late starts back to Wednesdays. Then Dr. Carlile spoke with the busing company to ensure that the changes would work within their constraints. Soon after, the HR Director and Dr. Carlile took the proposed modifications to the Director Team, which consisted of Dr. Carlile, the HR Director, the Director of Quality and Continual Improvement, the Superintendent, and the Chief Financial Officer, for their consideration and approval.
“I then mocked up the calendar and shared in a meeting with the calendar committee. We then presented to our school board,” stated Dr. Carlile. “The school board requested that we survey staff and families about the changes. Once we surveyed these groups, we changed the late start back to Monday based on their feedback. The school board then approved the calendar.”
Getting the program approved was a long and strenuous process. Ultimately, Dr. Carlile is hoping that this will benefit everyone in the community.
Many people in the community, especially the students, are questioning the reasoning and validity behind these schedule transitions. Many students even expressed anger at the schedule changes. Those that oppose the schedule transformations state that if students all get out of school at the same time it will be much more challenging for parents to pick their kids up from school. Many students are also upset that they were not included in the survey that was sent out to parents. They feel like they have been left out in a decision that affects them deeply.
“I think it’ll be a challenge not having early-outs,” said sophomore Hailie Bonz, “because I think the exciting part of our Wednesdays and Thursdays is getting out early and having more time to spend the afternoon with family or get work done.”
In response to the criticism of the schedule changes, Dr. Carlile reasoned that the changes would actually benefit families in the long run. As a result of all the schools’ dismissal times being synchronized, it will be easier for parents to pick their kids up from school. The changes also solve the issue of unsupervised students. Many students that participate in after-school activities have to wait for an hour or more for those activities to begin on early-out days. Overall, the schedule changes have both supporters and opponents, with both sides having valid claims for their arguments.
There have been many factors that contributed to this controversial schedule change. In addition, the were a significant number of steps that Dr. Carlile and the Board of Directors had to go through to get these modifications approved. As a result of their efforts, next year the Urbandale High School schedule will be shifted to add late starts on Mondays and eliminate early dismissals on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Everyone is hoping that these changes to the schedule are for the best.