• A message from the WCSU School Start Time Subcommittee Chair, Karen Bradley:  The Washington Central Supervisory Union committee on school start times has held 2 public forums. At the first one, held March 26, participants viewed a TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/wendy_troxel_why_school_should_start_later_for_teens and then discussed in small groups the research and information available about student learning and sleep and the associations with what time school commences on these. The question was asked, if we were to change school start times in our district so that middle and high school students start later (like 8:30 or 9) what information further would you need? 

    During the second forum, held April 11, participants worked in groups to explore options for shifting school start times and identified further areas that will need to be addressed in order to serve the most students. Transportation is an obvious question and the district leaders understand that we have quite a bit of flexibility in this area. Extracurricular activities were also identified as something that is important to accommodate including reviewing how far our students travel for sports events and when (weekdays or weekends). Importance of considering special needs and underprivileged students in a school start time change was also identified as important. Another point that was raised is that sixth graders are actually considered middle school students yet they do not currently attend our U-32 middle school and are instead kept at the elementary schools.  Some families rely on older siblings to care for younger ones after school was also discussed.

    At both forums, the consensus was clear that middle and high school students should start school later. Research supports that this change results in many positive benefits: lower tardiness and absenteeism rates, lower rates of depression, higher graduation rates, higher test scores, better athletic performance, in general—better student outcomes. Check out the WCSU School Start Times webpage for links to studies and information on this subject: https://www.wcsu32.org/domain/260.

    Another forum meeting will be held on Monday, April 23 from 5:30-7:30pm at U-32 rooms 128-132. Information will be provided on options for school start time changes and further community input gathered. Students, teachers, parents, and community members are invited to attend and participate. 

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