Board approves LRPC's recommendation to adopt Option 1 school start times

At its regularly scheduled December 14, 2017 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education approved new school start times districtwide, in a 5-0 vote. The Board approved the Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation to adopt Option 1 changes in school start times, beginning in the fall of 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year.

Beginning in August, 2018:
Most elementary schools will start school at 8 a.m.
High schools will start school at 8:30 a.m.
Middle schools will start school at 8:54 a.m.

The decision to change school start times followed months of research analysis, parent presentations and extensive opportunities for parent, student and staff input through public forums, open houses, and surveys.

Board members noted that over the past several years, LPS has made a commitment to address the mental health and wellness* of our students and staff.  They agreed that changing school start times to better align with what doctors tell us about adolescent sleep patterns cannot be done in isolation; it is just the first of several issues that need to be studied.

Board members discussed the challenges associated with a start time change. High school and middle school activities and athletics will take place later in the afternoon, and all LPS families will be impacted by the change in family routines. They also noted that these are problems that adults can solve.

“This was not an easy decision for me. But, I believe in the research. I believe that the challenges related to Option 1 are solvable. I trust our superintendent, his team, our principals, and teachers to make it work,” said Board of Education President Jack Reutzel. “We all are guided by the same North Star, which is to do the best thing for our students.”

“We are committed to making it work. School leaders and teachers solve problems every day. It’s what we do. This change is the right thing to do for our teenagers,” said LPS Superintendent Brian Ewert. “It absolutely will make a difference. I’m confident we can make it work.”

Please visit the Start Times Page on the district website for additional information about the new school start times, the process and the research.

 

*Impact of Chronic Sleep Loss in Adolescents: Physical health and safety; Increased obesity risk; Metabolic dysfunction (hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus); Increased cardiovascular morbidity (hypertension, increased risk of stroke); Increased rates of motor vehicle crashes (“drowsy driving”); Higher rates of caffeine consumption; increased risk of toxicity/overdose; Nonmedical use of stimulant medications; diversion; Lower levels of physical activity; Mental health and behavior; Increased risk for anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation; Poor impulse control and self-regulation; increased risk-taking behaviors; Emotional dysregulation; decreased positive affect; Impaired interpretation of social/emotional cues in self and others; Decreased motivation; Increased vulnerability to stress; Academics and school performance; Cognitive deficits, especially with more complex tasks Impairments in executive function (working memory, organization, time management, sustained effort); Impairments in attention and memory; Deficits in abstract thinking, verbal creativity; Decreased performance efficiency and output; Lower academic achievement; Poor school attendance; Increased dropout rates.

From the Policy Statement - School Start Times for Adolescents; American Academy of Pediatrics