The Nevada State Board Of Education Advances A Step Toward Later High School Start Times
By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, December 16, 2022 12:38 am
LAS VEGAS – The Nevada State Board of Education (NSBE) discussed starting high school classes later in the morning, with some progress made toward that goal.
On Thursday afternoon, the board meeting brought together superintendents from Nevada’s 17 school districts to discuss a matter that has been discussed for years. At the meeting, board officials and superintendents expressed a strong desire to do so.
“It has been researched,” stated NSBE President Felicia Ortiz at the conference.
“We’ve done the study,” stated NSBE member Summer Stephens.
“The information is crystal obvious,” said Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara.
Inadequate sleep in adolescents is classified as a “public health issue” by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that teenagers get eight to ten hours of sleep per night.
However, students remarked that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so due to a variety of circumstances. The majority of CCSD’s 58 high schools start before 7:00 a.m., joining only 10% of schools in the country that start before 7:30 a.m.
Malia Poblete, a high school junior and NSBE student member, said she gets four hours of sleep every night after juggling school, extracurricular activities, and a job.
“We’ll all start doing homework at 10 p.m., then we’ll have late nights, and then it’ll all be over when we wake up,” Poblete said to the board.
Later school start times result in better mental and physical health, better academic performance, lower risks of car accidents and injuries, and less tardiness among students and staff, according to the studies addressed during the discussion.
“It can also reduce violent and behavioral incidents, boosting the safety and pleasant climate on our campuses,” stated NSBE Member Katie Dockweiler. “Stressful working conditions are one of the reasons our employees may leave, therefore this would be another instrument to increase or improve those working conditions.”
So why not to the alarm clock?
“The difficulty is adults,” stated President Ortiz.
Board members believe that getting pupils to and from school with later start and end times offers logistical challenges for both rural and urban schools. According to Superintendent Jara, CCSD, for example, altered several of its start times this school year owing to a shortfall of 250 bus drivers.
“Some of the larger systems that have this opportunity have very robust regional transportation from municipalities. That is not the case in Nevada,” stated Superintendent Jara.
It joins a long list of other issues, such as teacher salary, staff retention, parent work schedules, and after-school services. According to board members, finance is at the heart of all of these problems.
The item concluded with President Ortiz’s address about asking increased funds from state legislators during the upcoming legislative session next year.
Nevada public schools received a “F” in funding level, funding distribution, and financial effort in the Education Law Center’s 2022 Making the Grade report.
Nevada was the only state in the nation to receive a “F” in all three categories.
However, the president and other board members agree that implementing a uniform start hour for all schools in the state raises its own set of issues.
Ortiz recommended that the issue be “worked out” over the next few months with school families and other stakeholders to establish the best way to address the conflict of starting school so early.
“Are there opportunities for us to pilot initiatives in certain locations? Perhaps various start times? “Do bus children begin at a different time than surrounding children?” According to NSBE Vice President Mark Newburn. “What type of choices can we give the families? “What could we possibly do?”
However, no date or schedule for discussing this idea was set during the Thursday meeting.
Credits: 8 News Now
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