PARIS — Studies show teenagers could benefit from starting school later in the day, according to Heather Manchester, director of curriculum in School Administrative District 17.

Manchester presented the SAD 17 board of directors with information Monday night about possibly introducing a later start to the school day for grades seven through 12.

“Teenagers are wired to stay up later and sleep in later,” she said. “In puberty, they experience up to a two hour shift in sleep onset and wake-up time.”

The curriculum committee researched two options, she said.

The first would provide single-tier busing and a more-unified start time for all grades, requiring more buses and bus drivers. The district is already struggling to find bus drivers, she said.

The second option would alter start times for older students. Currently, grades seven through 12 start the day at 7:30 a.m., she said. Under the proposal, the day would start at 9 a.m. and end at 3:22 p.m.

Pre-kindergarten through grade six now begins at 8:30 a.m. Under the proposal, those students would begin at 8 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.

“Younger kids are up and ready to go,” she added. “There are significant studies that found teens don’t stay up later when late start is introduced.

“The advantages include improved grades. Some districts saw improved standardized test scores. There has also been a significant reduction in car accidents.”

Items that need to be considered before making a final presentation to the board include:

• Impact on sports schedules and other co-curricular activities.

• Food service delivery to schools with pre-kindergarten through sixth garde.

• Child care concerns with parents.

• Impact to staff.

• Impact on Oxford Hills Technical School.

“We are going to start researching answers to these questions over the summer,” Manchester said. “We will also convene a parent group for input.”

Manchester said she hoped to make a second presentation to the board by December so the later start, if approved, could be implemented for 2020-21.

In other matters, Superintendent Rick Colpitts informed directors there were no updates regarding a June 4 break-in at Oxford Hills Middle School.

Colpitts said Paris police are investigating the break-in and theft of student laptops.

“They have identified a person of interest and are hopeful to complete their investigation shortly,” Colpitts said.


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