If you take a look at Monday evening's agenda, you'll note that we will begin preliminary discussions as a board on this topic. Pediatricians, health experts, and educators alike have noted that later start times are best for adolescent minds, both physically, mentally, and academically. My hope is that we will soon come to have a detailed discussion about how this might look in East Penn.
There are several logistical considerations I will be looking for feedback on:
- What do the experts say?
Data, science, and expert opinion must remain at the forefront of every decision-making process, regardless of outcome.
- What does history tell us?
The most common argument against changing start times that I've read elsewhere is, "I was fine getting up early when I was that age. They will be too." Staying rooted in old ways simply because that was how it was always done is not how progress is made. We may even find that start times are earlier now than they used to be.
- At what cost?
With a potential shift in transportation schedules, do we need to add busing? How do the potential benefits weigh against the potential associated costs?
How would a shift locally impact neighboring districts? How would sport and activity schedules change? How would this impact our students attending LCTI or who receive supports from CLIU?
Ultimately, there are plenty of reasons to make a switch. There are also several factors that may prevent that switch from happening.
However, we owe our students the conversation in order to find the right solution. I hope you'll become part of the conversation by adding your comments below or on Facebook. If you can't make Monday's meeting, stay tuned for the recording of the meeting which I will be sharing later next week as well.
- American Academy of Pediatricians - School Start Times for Adolescents
- The Children’s National Medical Center’s Blueprint for Change Team - School Start Time Change: An In-Depth Examination of School Districts in the United States
- Lancaster Online - Too late to bed, too early to rise: District officials need to seriously consider later school start times for teens [opinion]
- Penn State - Teens may get more sleep when school starts later
- Philly Inquirer - Latest trend in area schools: Pushing back start times so teens can sleep later
- WHYY - Pa. school districts say later start times are boosting grades