A substantial body of research shows that teenagers would biologically benefit from later start times. Our secondary school students currently begin as early as 7:30 a.m., which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says is too early.
The AAP says shifting back middle and high school schedules is “an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement.”
We believe this change will benefit our students' physical health, emotional well-being and academic successes.
We are not alone in making this move. Many districts around the nation are also pushing back school start times for middle and high school students. Among Oregon's largest districts — Portland, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, Eugene and Medford — all have secondary start times at 8:30 a.m. or later.
In order to facilitate pushing back our secondary start times, we will be starting elementary schools at approximately 8 a.m. We know that this is in line with other local school districts. Elementary schools in Sisters and Crook County school districts both begin around 8 a.m. and our own Three Rivers School has started elementary school at 8:20 a.m. for many years.
We dug deep on this issue, knowing how much it would affect and impact not only our families, but our staff and community partners as well.
The two-year decision making process included work by a 20-member School Start Time Advisory Committee of parents, certified and classified staff, business leaders, athletics representatives and more. We also conducted a community forum on start times and a broad based survey. In all, we heard from more than 5,000 voices. Support for changing start times was consistent across all groups — including staff, students, parents and community members.
We are conducting communication outreach to families and community partners. We hope that having the information now will help families and our community plan ahead for next year.
Changing school start times is not a decision we made lightly. Rather, this is a decision based on what we believe would best serve our students today and into the future. When we keep students at the heart of our decisions, we know we are on the right path.
Start times in the media:
We welcome questions and comments about school start times. Follow the link below connect with us.
Between April 9 and May 31, 2018 Bend-La Pine Schools engaged in a series of activities designed to gather feedback from parents, students, staff, and community members about the two school start time options.
Community members were invited to view the following school start time communication prior to taking a broad based survey on the topic.