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Modified School Start Time Committee to Hold Informational Meeting

Thursday, March 3, 2016

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a recommendationschool2 that adolescents, particularly those of high school age, have their school start times delayed to better align with their natural sleep patterns. The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education took note of this recommendation and a cross-disciplinary team of LCSD teachers undertook an extensive research project to understand the AAP's position and the research upon which it was based. The results were compelling: that the average teen student is biologically prone to fall asleep at 11 p.m. or often later, yet the academic schedule for students in the LCSD requires them to be in class by as early as 7:30 a.m., and awake 60 to 90 minutes before then. Extensive interviews and surveys conducted by the team of teachers corroborated the national studies. While the typical elementary-age student is bursting with energy at 7:30 a.m., many high school students are struggling to stay awake in their early classes and throughout the day.

In the fall of 2015, the LCSD Board of Education assembled a committee of parents, teachers, members of the public, and district administrators to discuss these findings and present a recommendation to the Board as to whether it should support making a change to the academic schedule that would allow adolescents to begin their academic day at a later time. The response was overwhelmingly affirmative. In January, the committee reported to the Board recommending that it should proceed with developing plans to implement such a change. The Board unanimously agreed, and has impaneled a "Phase Two" committee to develop a plan to start the high school and potentially the middle school class schedules later in the morning. This change also would present an opportunity to change the elementary start times to take advantage of the elementary students' own sleep patterns and physiology.

The Liverpool BOE and the members of the Modified School Start Time Committee (Phase Two) are excited to be at the forefront of a national movement to better align the school day with students' biological needs. There is a great deal of work to be done to create an implementation plan that meets the needs of all affected populations, including extra-curricular activities (athletics and fine arts in particular), BOCES students, non-traditional students, parents, the community, and, of course, students. Now that the decision has been made to move forward, we would like to once again invite participation from anyone in the Liverpool Central School District who wishes to learn more about this initiative and to potentially join the Phase Two committee to help make this change a reality in Liverpool.

An informational presentation will be held in the District Office Board Room on Monday, March 14, from 5 to 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Immediately following, the Phase Two committee and any prospective new members will meet for a working session to begin identifying the challenges that need to be resolved and then crafting an implementation plan to submit to the Board. Regular meetings will follow approximately every other Monday from 6 to 7:30 PM (specific schedule will be available at the meeting), with sub-committee meetings scheduled based on member availability.

We hope you will join us to learn more about this topic and the research behind it. We invite you to review with us the expected benefits of this change and to join us in making it a reality.

Modified School Start Time Committee (Phase Two)
Mike De Lucia, Facilitator

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