District 103 to survey students on sleep and start times

As they investigate changing school-day start times, Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 officials are planning to survey students about their sleep habits.

During the school board's meeting Tuesday night at Wright Junior High, Superintendent Scott Warren said a student survey was recommended by sleep specialists with whom he's spoken.

"I think it would give us more concrete information," Warren said. "The more questions you can answer, the better standing you have on whatever decision you make."

Warren said he'd like to ask the district's fifth- through eighth-graders about how much sleep they get each night and related topics.

"We're drafting that survey now," Warren said.

The board hasn't made any decisions about start times. End-of-day times could be adjusted, too.

The school day at Wright Junior High now starts at 7:50 a.m., while Sprague School and Half Day School both start at 9 a.m.

Officials had discussed starting Wright later and the other schools much earlier. But that concept has been set aside, board President Gary Gordon said.

"Nobody is interested in starting the younger kids (much) earlier," Gordon said. "We got a lot of great feedback that said that doesn't make sense."

Officials now are researching other options, such as a staggered schedule for the three schools starting at 8:15 a.m.

"There's only so many different combinations," board member Anne Van Gerven said.

National health experts have said starting the school day at 8:30 a.m. or later provides more time for kids to sleep and is healthier for them.

District 103 officials called for an examination of school hours in a strategic plan adopted earlier this year.

Trustees haven't yet voted to change the schedule, nor have they decided whether the change would be effective in fall 2016 or fall 2017.

Some board members expressed concern about the potential cost of the change Tuesday. Others questioned the amount of change the community could be asked to endure, because the shift is being considered at the same time officials are planning to move fifth-grade classes to Half Day School.

About 30 people attended Tuesday's meeting. Lincolnshire resident Rebecca Young spoke in favor of the 9 a.m. start time at Sprague.

One of Young's kids used to attend a school that started at 8 a.m., and getting that child up for the day was a challenge.

"They start to resent school at a very, very early age," Young said.

That's not the case for the 9 a.m. start, she said.

"It gave them time for adequate sleep," Young said. "It gave them time to naturally wake up."

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