Davenport schools’ start-times may be changing

Some students in Davenport may get a little extra sleep during the 2014-2015 school year.

A spokesperson from Davenport Community Schools said that new Iowa laws are changing the amount of time students must spend in school. These changes have stirred up the topic of school start times.

“There is a lot of studies that show that high school students need eight or nine hours of sleep, and we know that our student’s aren’t getting that,” said Davenport School District Superintendent Dr. Arthur Tate.

Earlier this year, a group was brought in to study school start times and determine if they were working for the students’ needs. The team said that based on research and recommendations from the National Institutes of Health, they advised some changes to area schools’ start times.

“The research shows that early start times, particularly for high school students, don’t match the adolescent biological clock,” said a spokesperson from the district.

Click here to see each school’s proposed start time.

Some Davenport parents like Jen Bergert are in favor of changing the start time.

“I have seen some research that does suggest students do better when they get more sleep,” said Bergert.

But other parents voiced their opposition.

“Be a parent. Have your kids home by nine or ten, get them to bed, and have them ready for school,” Debbie Thede said.

The district planned to host public discussions on the matter on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25 and 26. Tuesday’s discussion will be held at the Central High School auditorium and Wednesday’s will be held at the West High School auditorium. Both meetings were set to last from 6 – 7: 30 p.m.

Another change in the works was changing the current requirement of having students in the classroom for 180 days per year. Instead, they could give students 1080 hours of instructional time during the year.

The board was expected to vote on that change on Monday, March 24, 2014.

Also under the new law, Iowa students are required to be in school for a minimum of six hours per day, instead of the current 5.5 hours per day.

(Editor’s note: We mistakenly reported that the school board would vote on the school time changes Monday, March 24. The vote being held Monday is actually for the amount of instructional time students will receive per year. We apologize for the error.)

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