It began with a petition on www.change.org by a West High sophomore, Matthew Park.
That petition reads: In order to promote the health and education of our students, the Anchorage School District must push back starting times in high schools to 8:30 AM.
As of Friday, April 6, some 5,369 people have signed it; their stated goal is 7,500. Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop in August 2017 asked the school board if they agreed to allocate staff time to study this proposal and make a recommendation to the board. You can hear their school board discussion here (beginning at 43:06). The superintendent got the go-ahead to study the proposal.
Now, the school district is taking its findings out to eight open house sessions; the first one is April 11 at 6:30 pm at Lake Hood Elementary, 3601 W. 40th Ave. More dates are listed below. The school board is expected to make a decision this spring; if approved, the new schedule would begin in the 2019-20 school year.
This isn’t the first time ASD has looked at changing start times. According to a story in the Anchorage Daily News, 4,500 people weighed in on this topic in 2002-3. At that time, the superintendent recommended maintaining the current schedule.
The potential change raises many questions. How will it affect working parents? How would it affect before-school and after-school programming—everything from childcare to sports and club activities?
Driving the consideration is mounting research suggesting middle and high school students perform better with more rest, and a later start time would allow for that. Elementary students often way up earlier anyway, according to the research, and tire in the afternoon.
Today’s Hometown Alaska is a great opportunity to explore the pros and cons of such a decision. We invite your participation.
HOST: Kathleen McCoy
- Dr. Deena Bishop, ASD superintendent
- Shannon Bingham of Western Demographics, consultant
EXPECTED PHONE CONTRIBUTORS:
- Candy Jo Bracken, Alaska PTA president @ 2:15 pm
- Tom Klaameyer, Anchorage Education Association president
- Matthew Park, high school sophomore, petition starter
- Student petition asking for later high school start times
- ASD web pages providing parents with information
- Pro and Con fact sheet for discussion, prepared by ASD
- Camp Fire Alaska alert to parents
- Most US middle and high schools start the school day too early, CDC website
- National PTA resolution: Healthy Sleep for Adolescents (2-pg PDF)
- School Start Time Change: An In-depth Examination of U.S. School Districts, (44-pg PDF, Lessons Learned Pg 26-30, Children’s Medical Center, 2015
- Why are parents afraid of later school start times? The Atlantic, 11.12.2017
- Later school start times in the U.S.: an economic study, Rand Corp. 2017
PUBLIC HEARING DATES:
(all meetings are 6:30-8 pm)
- Wednesday, April 11, Lake Hood Elementary, 3601 W. 40th Ave.
- Thursday, April 12, Tyson Elementary, 2801 Richmond Ave.
- Friday, April 13, Service High, 5577 Abbott Rd.
- Monday, April 16, Wendler Middle, 2905 Lake Otis Parkway*
- Tuesday, April 17, Romig Middle, 2500 Minnesota Dr.
- Wednesday, April 25, Bartlett High, 1101 Golden Bear Dr.
- Thursday, April 26, Eagle River High, 8701 Yosemite Dr., ER
- Friday, April 27, Fairview Elementary, 1327 Nelchina St.*
*Sign language and translation in top 5 ASD languages available these dates.
- Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
- Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org before, during or after the broadcast.
- Post your comment or question below
LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)
REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)