Douglas County School District is asking for your input on a potential change to school start & end times for Valley Schools next year. The District is interested in adjusting times to accomplish three goals:
1) better alignment to research on the sleep needs of teenagers;
2) accommodating new schedules launching in our secondary schools next year and;
3) maintaining efficiencies in the costs of transportation. Please take a few minutes to provide your views in the attached survey.
The survey will be open until 12:00 Noon on Monday, December 8th.
Background from the National Sleep Foundation:
Research has found that later sleep and wake patterns among adolescents are biologically determined; the natural tendency for teenagers is to stay up late at night and wake up later in the morning. This research indicates that school bells that ring as early as 7:00 a.m. in many parts of the country stand in stark contrast with adolescents' sleep patterns and needs. Evidence suggests that teenagers are indeed seriously sleep deprived. A recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of children under the age of 18 complained of being tired during the day, according to their parents, and 15% said they fell asleep at school during the year.
Later school start times are better for teens than the early start times used in many high schools. With the movement of ninth grade to Douglas High School next year and the aligning of middle school schedules at CVMS and PWL, the Board would like to review feedback from parents, staff, students and community on a proposal to move most of the district's teenagers to a later start time and - in some cases - have elementary schools start earlier in the morning. (Younger students have an easier time going to bed early and waking up early.)
To see more of the research on this topic, there are many articles that can be read online on the The National Sleep Foundation's website. The website provides information such as:
Teens and Sleep
• Teens need about 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night to function best. For some, 8 1/2 hours is enough.
• Most teens do not get enough sleep. One study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights.
• Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence -- meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm.
• Teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week. They typically stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends, which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep.
• Sleep is food for the brain. Sleep is vital to one's well-being. It can even help teens to eat better and manage the stress of being a teen.
Not getting enough sleep or having sleep difficulties can:
• limit a teen's ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems.
• contribute to acne and other skin problems.
• lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior.
• be harmful, particularly when behind the wheel.
The times posted inside the survey are recommended for DCSD Valley Schools in 2015-16 to accomplish the goals stated above and to avoid putting DHS, CVMS and PWL on even earlier start times. (DHS: 7:20am, CVMS: 7:25am and PWL 7:40am)
To see the proposed times, click here.
To take the survey, click here.
Thank you for your time and input.