Midcoast schools eye later start for teens

By Stephen Betts | Dec 07, 2016
Source: File

Rockland — The superintendents of the three mainland school districts in Knox County will meet next week to discuss starting school later in the day for middle and high school students.

The superintendents from Regional School Unit 13, the Five-Town Community School District, and RSU 40 are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland.

The decision to consider a later start is "in light of compelling sleep research that indicates adolescents benefit from a later school start time," according to a news release from the CSD.

This would affect Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, Oceanside High School in Rockland, Medomak Valley High School  and Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro, Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston, and Camden-Rockport Middle School in Camden.

RSU 13 Superintendent John McDonald said Wednesday, Dec. 7, that the superintendents had talked among themselves a year ago about the change and felt it was time to bring in board members, staff and the community. He said no decision has been made, but that he personally is impressed with the studies.

One option being considered is to have middle and high schools start between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., as opposed to the current 7:30 a.m. start. In turn, elementary schools would start at 7:30 a.m., rather than the current 8:30 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year that urged schools across the country to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for teenagers. The report quoted the American Academy of Pediatrics in its report.

"Too-early start times can keep students from getting the sleep they need for health, safety, and academic success," according to the Academy.

McDonald said other schools in Maine have made the change, including Biddeford, and have had good results. He said a representative from Biddeford will be at next week's meeting.

The local schools would need to coordinate their schedules, because they send students to the regional technical and career center -- MCST.

Comments (7)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | Dec 07, 2016 19:15

I never had a school day start before 8:15 AM no matter the grade level.  Staff and teachers would likely benefit from a later start time as well.

Posted by: Rosemarie Richter | Dec 07, 2016 19:13

I do hope students are asked their opinion of this idea.


Posted by: Adam Tyler | Dec 07, 2016 16:49

We are happy with the way it is now. I think it should be up to the parents to make sure their teenagers go to bed on time so they get the sleep they need.

Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Dec 07, 2016 16:37

neuroscientists are clear on this; we must pay attention and think hard about what is best for our students

Posted by: Wayne Curtis | Dec 07, 2016 16:14

Doesn`t sound very fair to the little people to me.

Posted by: Margie Gerrish | Dec 07, 2016 15:13

What about Early Release days?  Will the dismissal times be reversed so the older students will get home before their younger siblings?

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Dec 07, 2016 13:57

The school districts are seeking input. I would recommend you contact board members or attend the meeting to make suggestions.

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