Community proposes later start

May 21, 2009

By Samir Hamsafar

FUSD superintendent Milt Werner held open forums concerning the decision whether or not to implement later start times to all secondary schools. Concerned parents, teachers, and students attended the presentation at American High School on May 15. The concern was that students’ overall health, academic performance, and attendance were suffering from early school start times.

“These sessions are being used as basic fact finding, and compiling opinions and thoughts for those concerned,” Werner said.

Within our district, schools start at about 7:30 a.m. to 7:40 a.m., and end around 2:30 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. James Logan High School acted as a model in the presentation, as they begin school at 8:40 am and end at 3:25 p.m. Werner explained in a report that Logan found that the later start time is showing a slight increase in attendance, and a minor improvement in overall student grades. However, no correlation is to be drawn from these claims.

“I  would be fine with coming to school later because it give us more sleep, and I’m fine with leaving an hour later,” sophomore Kirsten Mamaugh said.

The goal of the forums is to compile enough data to create a report. The school board has yet to take a position on the subject, and hopes that online surveys can help to make a decision by fall of 2009, to employ the later start times for the 2010-2011 school year.

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