CLINTON — Discussions among top researchers and officials around the country have prompted Clinton School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy to ponder a change in school start times with his colleagues.
Drawing from a recommendation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, DeLacy suggested at January’s Clinton School Board meeting that perhaps a shift in both elementary and secondary school day start times could benefit students.
The recommendation from the AASM stated that middle and high school students will conduct their most successful learning practices by starting the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Elementary students, on the other hand, could benefit from beginning their day before that, because of their “readiness to learn earlier in the day,” according to a blog post from DeLacy.
“Although the perfect school schedule does not exist, I do feel that the overall consensus in these conversations is to move our elementary school starting times earlier and move the secondary school starting time close to the recommended time of 8:30 a.m.,” DeLacy’s post says. “The district will need to work with the transportation department to finalize these times later this spring.”
DeLacy said “99 percent” of his conversations with elementary parents, teachers, and administrators have concluded with a desire to begin the day before the current 8:40 a.m. start time, especially with some children coming to the buildings as early as 6:30 a.m., then waiting two hours and 10 minutes before class starts.
Now, it depends on DeLacy communicating with the district’s transportation officials to coordinate a successful transition to the new start times.
“I’m looking to move forward in terms of probably flip-flopping,” DeLacy told the school board last week. “I would like elementary to start earlier, and secondary to start later, and I will let you know in the future what that’ll look like, because a lot of it is going to depend on transportation.”