Last winter, some concerned parents began a movement to push Algonquin’s start time later.
Volunteers studied and presented to the APTO on the issue, sought administration suport and even began a Massachusetts Chapter for the national movement “Start School Later”.
At issue is the many problems proven related to lack of teen sleep. Supporting the cause are claims that scientific studies show teens are biologically wired to stay up late and sleep late.
This month the combined school committees for the district was slated for forming a study group on the issue. According to Southborough Wicked Local, the committees supported the effort.
The local movement was focused on the high school. ARHS is in the 40% of schools with start times before 8:00 am.
But a study group will also look at lower grades and consider the “ripple effect” caused by changes to the bus schedule.
Superintendent Christine Johnson also plans to look into solutions beyond just delaying the school start.
And the district won’t be alone. Johnson has recruited other superintendents to explore the issue.
In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised U.S. schools to delay start times past 8:30 a.m., citing the benefits of more sleep for middle and high school students. . .
Because of the national interest, Johnson brought the issue to area administrators.
“We thought maybe there was some benefit to the education community to looking at this as a regional issue,” Johnson said. “A number of superintendents will meet to discuss what makes sense.”
Johnson said many things will factor into their decision, including the impact on bus routes, sports teams and student jobs. A change in the high school will mean a ripple effect to the lower grades, prompting the wider scope of the study, Johnson said. . .
“Let’s not assume this is just about changing the clock,” Johnson said. “Let’s really dig deeply into the concept. All things are open to conversation.”
Johnson said she hopes to have some solutions by March.
To read the full SWL story, click here.
For past coverage of the district movement, click here.
For more information on the Start School Later, including their study findings and how to get involved, click here.