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.)

3 comments

  • Vickie Kuhlmeier Williams

    As usual, Davenport school admin is not thinking of high school students who have jobs that are very important to their families incomes. Even an hour makes a difference in pay, after school activities in high school are also not being looked at carefully. Some schools will only be in session for an extra 15 minutes, so this makes no sense at all. Stop playing with the students and families lives and make better decisions. I am glad my youngest will graduate in 2015, and he is also because he does not like the way the admin works.

  • Melissa

    The early start times don’t match ANYONE’s biological clock. Elementary school aged students actually require more sleep than adolescents, but it is proposed to move their start time 5 minutes earlier than currently and keep them 25 minutes later. Kids are already exhausted with the current school day, a rushed lunch and then hours of homework after school. The school system needs to remember that kids are part of a family and they have left very little time for family or anything else, not to mention sleep.

  • Leesa Farmer

    The Monmouth-Roseville district has been doing late start Wednesdays for 2 or 3 years and have decided to continue with it for next year.They still release school at the regular time as they do every other day. As a parent, I think that it just gives my son an excuse to stay up later on Tuesday nights. I did ask him how he felt about it and he said that he still wakes up at the same time on Wednesdays as he does every other day of the week but he can spend a little more time getting around and to school. He likes the late start and feels that he is more awake and can concentrate more. I can’t say that I think it has made a difference either way. I think it has helped to prepare him for college. He will have days that he has later classes and he has learned to monitor his time a little better.

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