From left, Charlotte Forward, Theresa Teel holding son Oliver with daughter Evelyn in front of her and Molly Newman with her daughter Cecelia in the forefront, discuss expectations for the first day of school with first-grade teacher Christina Tirheimer. Photo by Peter Szabadi

The Idyllwild School year started Monday and parents encountered a new schedule.

For the 2017-18 school year, the school day for Idyllwild Elementary students will be from 8:07 a.m. to 2:48 p.m. However, Wednesday will be nearly two hours shorter. middle school students have a similar pattern. While school starts at 8:12 a.m. and ends 10 minutes later at 2:58 p.m. every day but Wednesday, in mid-week, the school day ends at 1:34 p.m.

School just started this week, and reactions have been minimal, according to Hemet Unified School District officials.

“I haven’t heard any rumbles from that quarter although I am sure that any change will force some families to change their schedules,” replied Idyllwild Trustee Vic Scavarda, and board president this year. “HUSD tried to add collaboration time in the least disruptive way possible, so after talking to stakeholders, it seemed best to do one very early release day instead of a late start one day and an early release on Friday.  

For the most recent school year, the local starting time for elementary students was 8:14 a.m. and school day ended at 2:42 p.m. every day except Friday, when it ended at 1:42 p.m.

Middle school students had five days of 8:14 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.

In April, the HUSD Board of Trustees approved the shortened Wednesdays. This was part of negotiations with the Hemet Teachers Association in order to allow more time for staff collaboration. The added time will allow staff and administrators to focus on activities and efforts to improve student success.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the change. In June, it also approved moving the Friday elementary teacher preparation time to Wednesday for consistency across the school week.