Academy school district goes for later start times

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High school students in Academy School District 20 can shout “Yes” to later school start times that will take effect next school year.

For the 2012-2013 school year, D-20 has implemented new start times not only for high school students but for middle school and elementary school students as well.

The change is expected to provide student safety, improve attendance and academic focus and reduce transportation from four to three tiers, which will continue to increase efficiency.

“We are pleased to be able to implement these changes because we feel all students will benefit,” D-20 Superintendent Dr. Mark Hatchell said in a statement “Many in our community have long been concerned about how early our high schools start. A recent task force studied our transportation services and did recommend that start times be changed if transportation efficiencies could be gained.”

Next school year, start times for all traditional high schools will be at 7:45 a.m. Current start times are as early as 7:05 a.m. Students in middle school and elementary school will have later start times too, but only by a few minutes. Elementary students will start no later than 8:45 a.m.

“The high school change is the most significant time change. It will make things safer for those students walking or driving,” said Nanette Anderson, D-20 public information officer.

With the early start times, many high school students have to walk to school or to the bus stop or drive themselves to school with little daylight.

“I think it’s kind of a good thing, but I don’t like the fact that we will be getting out of school later. I like to get out early,” said Discovery Canyon Campus sophomore Michael DeMio. DCC high school students start school at 7:10 a.m. and get out at 2:15 p.m. Next year they will start at 7:45 a.m.

DeMio added that the late start times will allow students to get some additional sleep, which might help them do better in school. He also said he has to walk down the street to the bus stop in the dark and walking in the daylight would be good.

D-20 parent Bonnie Hart has children in high school, middle school and elementary school and thought the idea of later start times was brilliant.

“My initial response was excellent,” Hart said. “It makes more sense.”

Hart said the later start times benefit her family because they like to have family time in the morning. In order for the older children to be out the door at 6:30 a.m., the younger ones wake up at 6 a.m.

Reducing one tier of transportation will mean that many middle school and high school students will ride on the same bus in some locations. This is currently being done on some Challenger Middle School and Pine Creek High School bus routes.

For the complete list of all D-20 school’s current start times and those scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year visit asd20.org.