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Later start times, academic focus among changes Baldwin-Whitehall superintendent sees

| Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, 6:51 p.m.

Baldwin-Whitehall Superintendent Randal Lutz told the board he is looking at ways to change the way schools in the district function.

Like many school districts across the country, Lutz said, Baldwin-Whitehall still is educating students for a career in the industrial age, rather than the informational age.

He said results show students achieve more when they have a choice rather than adhering to a set schedule.

“The idea is having choice,” Lutz said to the board. “Schools are making the decision to move into the informational age.

“Right now it is one size fits all.”

One option he suggested is that administrators to look at modified schedules, especially for high school students. Studies have shown, he said, older students tend to function better with a later starting time, even 15 minutes later.

“The key item is to take the steps to transform what we do,” said Lutz, adding that a steering committee is being assembled to study various items that would enable the district to make changes. “What I am proposing is looking at things differently.”

“We're not in a hurry. We have been in this model for a long time.”

The board is expected to take action at its Dec. 12 meeting on whether to hire a demographer – at $15,000 – to study future enrollment changes in the district. According to Lutz, the state Board of Education said student enrollment in the district could reach 5,300 by the 2014-25 school year.

He said the board needs to look at the five district buildings to determine what can be done to accommodate future growth.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at selliott@tribweb.com or 412-871-2346.

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