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Decatur School Board Will Consider Changing Start Times April 10

The superintendent says there are two choices.

The Decatur School Board will meet Tuesday, April 10, and consider changing the start times for the high school, the middle school, the 4/5 academy and two elementary schools.

In the online agenda packet, Superintendent Phyllis Edwards tells the board she is offering two options. One is to not change.

The second option would change the start times like this:

  • The high school from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • The middle school from 8:45 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.
  • The 4/5 academy from 8:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
  • Clairemont and Glenwood elementary schools from 8 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

Times for Pre-K and Oakhurst and Winnona Park elementary schools would remain 8 a.m.

Start times are a sensitive issue in Decatur because a change can radically disrupt a family's morning routine. Several different forces are at work.

The system wants to cut transportation costs and encourage more kids to walk to school. Some parents are urging later start times for high school students, pointing to studies that show academic performance improves the later a kid starts classes. And the administration is coping with.

To complicate matters, there's no consensus among parents and faculty.

The administration conducted several surveys but the results were inconclusive or split 48/52 percent, Edwards said.

A committee that studied start times presented its findings in February. Those findings were not conclusive, but the committee did recommend starting the high and middle schools between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.

In a related issue, Edwards told the board in her overview letter that the administration is exploring the possibility of locating central administration offices in the Beacon Hill center on West Trinity Place.

The board board will meet April 16 with the city commission to discuss the idea.

The administration now operates out of the on Scott Boulevard, which may be turned back into a school for students.

The school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Westchester Center at 758 Scott Blvd., Decatur. The board will hold a work session before the meeting, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Maribel Ibrahim April 06, 2012 at 03:10 AM
For those of you who are interested, there is a national movement to start schools no earlier than 8:00am, called www.StartSchoolLater.net I commend the Decatur school systems for not starting schools before 8:00am under the current proposal. The second proposal would actually help high schoolers, but the 4/5 academy would be shifting very early, which could create problems with attentiveness and sleep deprivation. It is very important that the health and safety of students is factored in, in addition to any transportation savings. You can visit www.StartSchoolLater.net and view our flyer: http://www.startschoollater.net/uploads/9/7/9/6/9796500/ssl_flyer.pdf to get more information on how early school start times affect the health, safety and equity of public school students. Regards, Maribel Ibrahim Co-Founder, www.StartSchoolLater.net
Maribel Ibrahim April 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
We also have an ongoing petition that we have been delivering to members of Congress and government representatives in Washington, DC. To view the petition and sign it, go to: www.tinyurl.com/StartSchoolLater The petition already has over 5,600 signatures from all 50 states.
Decaturette April 06, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Why can't there be a third option that allows the 4/5 Academy to start at 8:00 AM or later but still allows the middle and high schools to be in sync, which makes sense in terms of shared busing, sports, and adolescent health? If CSD can't manage that 15 minute shift from 7:45 to 8:00 AM at the 4/5 Academy, then we've got the wrong configuration of schools.
lynn m keefe,md April 07, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Compelling data from academic and medical researchers shows the benefits of later start times for middle and high school students. I commend the Decatur District Superintendent for her forward thinking and proposal for these start time changes. The academic and health outcomes for the students must outweigh the costs of transportation, not vice versa. Lynn M. Keefe,MD startschoollater.net

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