Algonquin Start Time organizers ask for support on March 18

The Algonquin Start Time committee is urging concerned parents to attend the next Regional School Committee meeting.

The parent-and-student-driven Algonquin Start Time group is looking to “Start School Later”. The goal is based on studies that purportedly show a range of harmful repercussions for teens not getting enough morning sleep.

This fall, Superintendent Christine Johnson formed an administration-led School Start Time Study group to look into it. In October, Johnson promised the Regional School Committee an update in March. This month’s meeting takes place on March 18, 7:00 pm at ARHS.

In her fall discussions Johnson made no promises to have the administration-led study group pursue a later start. Instead, she said that the group would also look at “innovative practices” rather than “just moving the clock hands”.

AST members aren’t sure what Johnson will report to the school committee. So, they hope parents will show up in support of the initiative.

Currently, the Algonquin has a home room start time of 7:20 am and first period start at 7:30 am. In contrast, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends high school start times of 8:30 am. Interestingly, the those times rate poorly by national statistics, but aren’t that atypical for our state. 

Only 9.5% of schools across the country starting before 7:30 am. 43% begin between 8:00 and 8:30 am and another 14% begin even later.*

But in Massachusetts, ARHS is among 27% of schools (with data collected) that begin before 7:30 am. Another 62% begin before 8:00 am. And only 1% met the AARP recommendations.**

For past blog stories on the local Start School Later initiative, click here.

*National start time statistics from National Center for Education.

**State start time statistics from SSL MA Chapter website and linked Google spreadsheet.

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