OVERLAND PARK, Kan. —This fall, middle school students in the Shawnee Mission School District could have the option to start their Thursday routine a little later. 

Middle school students currently start their day at 8:45 a.m. with a “mascot hour,” a period similar to a study hall. Beginning in August, students will start their first class about a half hour later to allow teachers time each week to participate in professional learning communities (PLC). 

PLCs will meet on Thursdays from 8:05 a.m. until about 9:05 a.m. to give teachers time to work collaboratively to improve students’ academic performance. The district approved a similar plan for high school teachers to participate in PLCs in 2016. 

“When educators come together and have collegial conversations about students and their performance, that’s really when we can push student performance forward,” Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Michael Schumacher said. 

On Thursdays, the first class of the day will start at 9:18 a.m. Students who walk to school or are dropped off by a parent have the option to arrive later on Thursdays before the start of first period. 

Breakfast will still be served at the regular time, and bus schedules will not change. On a rotating basis, teachers will be asked to supervise students that arrive at school at the normal designated time.