Dist. 103 considering starting school day at 8:30 a.m. or later

  • Scott Warren

    Scott Warren

 
 
Posted10/29/2015 5:50 AM

Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 officials are considering changing when the school day begins at their three campuses.

The district's examination of the issue follows recommendations by health experts to start middle school and high school classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. so students get enough sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And last week, the Stevenson High School board voted to change the daily start time at that Lincolnshire facility to 8:30 a.m. starting in August 2016.

Lincolnshire-Prairie View is a feeder district for Stevenson. District 103 Superintendent Scott Warren said his administration's examination of the issue is independent of the Stevenson board's action.

"It's coincidental," Warren said.

The school day at Daniel Wright Junior High runs from 7:50 a.m. to 2:55 p.m., while Sprague School and Half Day School both run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New times haven't yet been proposed, Warren said.

"We are still gathering information," he said.

Experts have said school districts that have pushed back start times have seen an improvement in student performance. Later start times also have led to fewer car accidents involving teenagers in those communities, experts have reported.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the health authorities that have issued policy statements advocating later starts.

"That's why we're looking at it," Warren said.

With the sleep issue in mind, District 103 officials called for an examination of school hours in a strategic plan adopted earlier this year called Vision 2020.

The potential impact on bus schedules and extracurricular activities needs to be addressed if starting and ending times change, according to that report.

District 103 officials held a pair of public meetings this week to discuss the issue and get some public opinions. Parent and staff surveys, and staff meetings also are part of the information-gathering process, spokeswoman Kim Sylvan said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Even though they serve some of the same geographic area, Stevenson's decision doesn't directly affect what District 103 officials will decide to do, Warren said.

That's true even when it comes to transportation schedules, because the two districts use different buses, he said.

An update for the school board is expected in mid-November.

If the effort progresses, the board could vote on a new class schedule in December, Sylvan said.

Elsewhere in the Chicago area, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Barrington District 220, Elgin Area District U-46 and Naperville District 203 are among the districts that have studied delaying start times, but none of them have taken the step yet.

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