Late start proposal a good compromise

By The Camden Herald Editorial Board | Apr 20, 2017

Earlier this month, the Five Town Community School District, which oversees operations at Camden Hills Regional High School, approved an alternative plan to allow for later start times at Camden and Rockport schools.

Initially, the area's three school districts, including Regional School Unit 13 in Rockland and School Administrative District 40 in Waldoboro, were involved in discussions to change the start time for high school students after research showed teens need additional sleep.

But the proposal would have meant elementary school students going to school even earlier — some children would have had to get on the bus before the sun even rises and start school at 7:30 a.m., which was the time the high school was trying to change from starting at. SAD 40 and RSU 13 boards ultimately voted not to change start times in their schools.

The change implemented in the Camden school district is a good compromise, as it allows for high school students to get the extra sleep they need, but doesn't come at the expense of younger children.

The new schedule for the 2017-2018 school year will see students at the middle school and high school arriving at school a half-hour later, at 8 a.m., rather than 7:30 a.m. At the April 5 meeting, Superintendent Maria Libby said these times represent when the last school buses arrive at school; the school day officially begins 10 minutes later with homeroom class.

Students at the elementary school will begin their day 15 minutes later, at 8:45 a.m., rather than 8:30 a.m.

Under this plan the middle and high school academic day will end at 2:45 p.m., and the length of the day remains the same. Although elementary students will start 15 minutes later, their school day will end 30 minutes later. Libby said each school will determine its own daily schedule, such as lunch times.

In addition, Libby said Mid-Coast School of Technology will delay its start time next year by 10 minutes, from 8:10 to 8:20 a.m., in order to allow transportation time for students attending from the Five Town CSD. High school students first arrive at Camden Hills and then board another bus to MCST.

We urge Camden Hills students to use this extra time for what it is designed for — getting to bed on time and getting some additional sleep to help them come to school better rested, more awake and ready to learn.

Earth Day 2017

The very first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970, to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems.

“The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin said on history.com, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” Earth Day was Nelson's brainchild, and it worked.

Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce federal pollution legislation.

Earth Day is celebrated in various ways throughout the country. A couple of opportunities to help out locally are:

Deer Foot Farm, Appleton Library and Appleton Historical Society will facilitate litter pickup along Appleton Ridge, between the Searsmont town line, and Route 105 on Saturday, April 22.

Volunteers are asked to meet, sign in and check out at Appleton Village School to receive their territory assignments. It is suggested that participants bring their own trash bags and reflective vests. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Pickup trucks will be on hand to remove filled trash bags. Returnable bottles and cans will be donated to the AVS eighth-grade class. Receptacles are located at the school.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will host an Earth Day Work Day with volunteers at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day by helping MOFGA prepare its grounds for the upcoming growing season. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Volunteers may be cleaning, raking and mulching gardens, screening compost, doing light carpentry or work in the woods.

For more information or to RSVP for the work day, write to volunteers@mofga.org or call 568-4142.

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