D51 Board of Education approves new start times

School District 51 Board of Education approves new start times
Posted on 03/06/2019
student sleeping on homework

Grand Junction, CO – The School District 51 Board of Education voted unanimously at their monthly work session Tuesday, March 5, 2019, to approve new start and end times for the school day.

The board unanimously adopted a resolution recommending all middle and high schools start at 8 a.m. and that all elementary schools start at 8:55 a.m. The resolution also recommends that middle and high schools end the school day at 3:15 p.m. and that elementary schools dismiss at 3:55 p.m.

Start and ends times for certain schools may be slightly different to accommodate busing route needs, which is current practice. In addition, start and end times will remain site-specific for multi-grade schools, schools with four-day weeks, and Academic Options.

The majority of elementary schools currently start at 8:50 a.m., middle schools start between 7:20 and 7:35 a.m., and high schools start at 7:25 a.m. Elementary schools dismiss at 3:50 p.m. (one dismisses at 3:45), and middle and high schools dismiss between 2:40 and 2:50 p.m.

Board members decided to change school start times to better fit adolescents’ natural circadian rhythms and give them a later start, while changing the elementary schedule as little as possible to help preserve parents’ current drop-off and pick-up schedules. The National Sleep Foundation reports “biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence,” and recommends later school start times to make it easier for teens to get a recommended 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer symptoms of depression, be overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, perform poorly in school, and engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs.

To see the results of a public survey that asked parents, students, business leaders, staff, and community members about changing start times, consolidating days off into blocks, and changing Early Release, click here.

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