School to Start at 8 a.m. on Feb. 8th

Big change coming: School to start at 8 a.m. on Feb. 8
Posted on 01/14/2021
Red alarm clock

Big change coming: School to start at 8 a.m. on Feb. 8


No more sleeping in for some students in the Hughson Unified School District. Beginning on Feb. 8, classes will begin at 8 a.m. at all grade levels four days a week.


The move impacts hundreds of students in kindergarten through high school who are part of the district’s hybrid program.


Currently, hybrid students in grades K-5 begin class at 9:30 a.m. on the two days a week they attend school in person on their campuses. On the other days – when they’re learning from home via computer – those students begin meeting with teachers online at 8 a.m.


To this point, students at Ross Middle School and Hughson High School have begun their classes – in person and online – at 9:30 a.m.


Starting Feb. 8, everyone will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, said Superintendent Brenda Smith. On Wednesdays, when teachers participate in training and all students are taught via distance learning, starting times of classes will continue to be different at each campus.


The change is prompted by the introduction of a new piece of technology – Owl computers – in every Hughson classroom. The Owls provide a more robust online link between teachers and students, allowing students at home to see and hear their teachers as they walk around their classrooms.


The reason that elementary distance-learning students have started at 8 a.m. was so that teachers could go over assignments and review lessons, Smith explained. But the Owls eliminate that need. Now, the students at home can see and hear exactly what is said in class in the same way as the students sitting in front of the teacher.


The end of the school day varies from campus to campus and will not change, Smith said, meaning the district will add about 90 minutes of instruction to each school day. That extra time will be devoted to address the so-called “learning loss” associated with distance learning.


“We’ve asked our teachers at elementary level to focus on reading and math,” Smith said. “At the higher levels, students also will have more instruction time and there will be the ability to have an intervention period where students can get extra support.”


The superintendent also said that it is good for students’ mental health to have more connection with their teachers and a consistent schedule each day.


Though a few teachers have had the Owls in their classrooms since November, most of Hughson’s instructors only began using them after returning from winter break. Smith said that waiting until Feb. 8 will give everyone a chance to feel comfortable with the technology. The early adopters, she said, “have been experimenting and helping to train the others.”


Plus, rolling out the new schedule on Feb. 8 allows the district to come up with a memorable catch phrase – “School starts at 8 on the 8th.” Everyone should mark their calendars now.



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