Friday is final public input meeting on school start times
Friday evening is the last public hearing opportunity for Anchorage School District parents to give their input on proposed school time changes. It’s the last of eight public meetings held by the district to talk about the proposal to change school start times for Elementary, Middle and High schools in the district.
The proposal would have high school students starting later, and Elementary students starting earlier.
There are three alternatives, plus the option to keep school times as they are.
Currently in the Anchorage School District, high schoolers start class at 7:30 a.m., middle schoolers at 8:15 and elementary students at 9:00. The three different proposals don’t change much for middle schoolers—start times range from the current 8:15 to 9:15, but have elementary students starting before 8:00 in all three change scenarios, and high schoolers starting at 8:30, 9:00 or 9:15 a.m.
The proposal is based on studies that show high school students would benefit from better start times. Because the district uses the same buses for all three levels of schools, a major change for high schoolers would affect the other grade levels as well.
Wednesday, at the public meeting at Bartlett High School, some elementary school teachers said they would support a change to earlier times, but they still had some concerns.
“I think a 7:30 or even a 7:45 start time is pretty early considering 5- or 6-year-olds need to have at least 12 hours of sleep. So you’re looking at putting them to bed at 6:30,” said Crystal Whitney, a Kindergarten teacher.
Rhiana Gay, another elementary teacher, said, “I don’t know if the high schoolers are actually going to get to bed on time, so that’s also the tricky part.”
Friday’s final meeting is from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Fairview Elementary School. There will be translators available in ASD’s top 5 languages, and an ASL interpreter.