(Note: The Board of Education has tabled this issue for now.—Ed.)
My name is Kelly Lewis and I am a Granby resident and mother of 3 (ages 3,7 and 9). Although I believe the science behind teenagers needing more sleep, I am completely opposed to the school time changes that are being proposed by The School Start Time Task Force. These proposed changes cause a myriad of serious problems for the families of elementary-aged children. The link to my petition is below. Since Thursday it has received 335 signatures against any change in the school start time.
These are some of my questions and concerns outlined specifically below:
“The Push” option causes a major disruption for both mornings and afternoons for Kelly Lane and Wells Road families. The 9:10 start time does not work with the majority of working parents’ schedules, thus causing a new need for morning care. The 3:55 release time causes children who take the bus to get home very late. For example, with the current 3:15 dismissal times my kids arrive home on the bus at 4. With the new schedule, my kids would arrive home at 4:40. This leaves very little time to get work done, eat and go to evening sports/activities.
What about the kids going back to Hartford? They are heading into rush hour; what time will they get home? How will they get their work done? When do they get to do sports/activities?
Secondly, wWhen expressing my concern over morning care I was told that they were talking with the YMCA to provide “safe, affordable” morning care, but they would not share specifics. I called the YMCA directly and was told it would follow the same pricing schedule they use for Avon. These are the details I was given:
It will either be at the YMCA or possibly at Kelly Lane and Wells Road;
There is no discount for families that pay for a full-family membership;
There is a 5 percent discount for your second, third child etc.;
There is a 20-child cap per program;
If you have a special needs child that has a 1-to-1 at school you have to pay for a 1-to-1 at the morning care. (This is the case for my family).
Small World and Patchwork are at or almost at capacity for morning care so those are not options.
*For a family of 3 (which I have), this would cost me $974.40 for morning care alone. This is NOT an affordable option and it is irresponsible to be saying that it is and then not providing people with the actual numbers.
*If you have children at more than one school you will be doing multiple drop offs.
*If you have special needs children this is an extra transition they are now dealing with.
When the time study was presented, why was there no option to “keep it the same?” You were forced to choose a push back time.
What is the research on young children and their ability to learn and focus late in the day?
How do the primary teachers feel about this change? Do they see their students being successful at the end of the day? I am a teacher and my older students are exhausted and checked out by the end of the day. How do we expect 4-,5-, 6- and 7-year-olds to have that kind of stamina?
Why are the needs of the high school age students being put ahead of the youngest learners? Who should be more equipped with coping mechanisms when tired? Who should have better time management skills…an elementary or a high school student?
Do high school students really want to get out of school at a later time? How does this effect after school jobs? Sports? How many more classes will student athletes miss now that they have to leave school earlier for sporting events?
The majority of coaches are teachers. Won’t we be paying for substitutes now? How does that effect the quality of education?
Why couldn’t first period at the high school be an optional study hall? Students that need to sleep could come in second period. Students that wanted to take advantage of that time to do homework could use it that way. Or perhaps a rotating class schedule so that they aren’t always tired during the same class.
Why are we trying to push through this new initiative while our district is undergoing so much change. A school closing, new teacher teams, bear dens, and rotating schedules. Why would we do this when there is an interim superintendent, thus causing a potentially new superintendent to have to implement something they were not a part of?
How do teachers that are also coaches feel? How will this impact your teaching, classes and ability to get to sporting events?
I understand and believe the science that teens have different sleep patterns and would benefit from more sleep. I just cannot see how making such drastic changes for such minimal “possible” improvements is worth it. The Start Time Tasks own statistics are not very supportive:
• Modest effect on overall attendance
• High School grades improved by 1-4 percent IN BEST CASE SCENARIOS
• SMALL impact on standardized test scores 1-2 percentile points
• Later home arrivals for student-athletes
• More frequent early dismissals for student athletes and teacher-coaches.