Charlottesville School Board Hears Input on Potential Start Time Changes

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

March 24, 2014

Charlottesville schools are considering starting the school day earlier for some students.

In one scenario laid out for school board members on Monday night, elementary students would start a half hour earlier and grades 5-8 start classes a half hour later.

Officials cited research showing more sleep may help adolescents be more alert and achieve more academic success.

"Let's have a discussion about whether it would be beneficial to our families to switch the start times: having our elementary school students go in first, as opposed to second, [and] having Walker and Buford students to go in second," explained Charlottesville schools superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins.

Some parents of elementary school students spoke out against the plan saying it would be tough to get enough quality time in with young kids before their early bedtimes, to balance their work and childcare, and that the earlier time could mean walking kids to the bus stop in the dark.

"That needs to be weighed with, what are some of the negative impacts and what are the impacts on our families to have to respond to a change in the schedule? It's a discussion about balancing all of that and either keeping the schedule that we have or potentially embracing a new schedule," said Dr. Atkins.

The board and staff will continue to ask for and listen to feedback from parents and staff and use it develop possible scenarios. The discussion will continue at the school board's April meeting.

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