Noblesville students may get to sleep in

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Stephanoff

Stephanoff

Elementary and secondary students may be switching times in the classroom next school year. At the April 15 school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Steve Stephanoff made a recommendation from the calendar committee to change school times for the district.

“We’ve been talking about this for two years,” he said.

Stephanoff said the committee looked at more than 10 options and is recommending school days be 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. at the elementary level and 8:45 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. for middle and high school students. Current starting times are 7:28 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. for grades 6-12 and 8:36 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. for elementary students.

“Part of the problem with scheduling and changing the start times is the secondary day was longer than our elementary day,” he said. “We added five minutes to the elementary day and took 10 minutes off the secondary day, which then equalized them so we are six hours and 50 minutes. It still puts us above the minimum requirement by the state. It also allows us to schedule the buses a lot easier because the days are the same length.”

Stephanoff said research indicates the later high school start time improves test scores and attendance and decreases depression and accidents from student drivers.

“Elementary teachers on the committee think it’s better to have the elementary students in the morning,” he said. “We realize this is a major change for the community.”

Stephanoff said the potential drawbacks include change, inconvenience on families and having younger students waiting for buses in the dark.

While school board members said a decision should come before the end of the school year a timetable was not discussed. To gauge the community’s opinion on the potential change, the district will setup an online survey as they have for previous issues within the districts. Links containing research studies about the topic will be included with survey.

“We need to have the research background to why we are even thinking about this,” school board member Jane Barr said.

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