Committee Recommends Changes In Decatur School Start Times
Parents complained because the start of school was moved up last year.
A committee that studied start times for Decatur High and Renfroe Middle schools has made three recommendations that will be presented Tuesday to the city school board:
- Start the schools between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.
- Start the two schools within 15 minutes of each other.
- Explore the sharing of buses for the two schools.
The start-time study was ordered last year after the administration decided to start classes earlier at the middle and high schools.
The start-end times are now 8 a.m.-3 p.m. for Decatur High and 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m. for Renfroe Middle.
Some parents complained these earlier hours made it difficult for students to concentrate in class.
Parents gave the school system research papers showing adolescents' biological systems are different from adults and children and that their academic performance improves with later start times
The school system surveyed parents, students and teachers about what times they preferred. Decatur's start times were compared to other school systems.
It's unclear if the school board will take action on the recommendations Tuesday night.
The board will also hear about the Bullying Intervention Project that Georgia State University has conducted in the city schools since 2003.
Victims of bullies participated in weekly small group sessions to learn how to cope. Nine students identified as bullies were counseled.
This year the program will expand to include individual counseling and to provide information sessions with parents.
The school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchester auditorium at 758 Scott Blvd. To see a full copy of the agenda and the attached reports, go to the school system website.