Richmond School Board to Decide on High School Start Time Changes

Major changes to Richmond high schools could soon be on the way, impacting when your teenagers wake up and go to bed.  

High school start and end times haven’t been changed for decades; altering them is a major move. The times impact transportation, child care, teacher schedules and other issues.

But the Richmond School Board, some parents and many students say delaying school could improve the quality of education.
“We should push it back,” said high school student Uneke McClendon.

McClendon and her friends support moving the start time back.

“Students be tired in the morning, so it should be stayed back a little longer,” said Neriah Shaw.

Right now, high school in the City of Richmond starts at 7:25 a.m. In Chesterfield County, it beings at 7:20 a.m. Recently, Henrico County Public Schools moved the start of high school to 9 a.m. and in Hanover County high school begins at 8:30 a.m. Research shows those later start times are beneficial.

“It deceases truancy, tardiness, depression, obesity, anxiety and even migraines,” said parent Kirsten Gray.

However, the delayed times can create some problems for students who have after school jobs or sports practices.

“Practice is gonna be even later,” said concerned resident Roderyck Bullock. “During the fall, it gets dark early, so that creates another problem.”

While the school board wrestles with this decision, it has another big one to think aboutchanging the school day schedule. On Monday night, high school principals and guidance counselors presented some options. One proposal is the four-by-four plan, in which students would go to the same four classes every day for an extended period of time. Then, the next semester, they’d attend four different classes. Many are against this proposal.

“I’m truly against it because, ultimately, I think that with the schedule you will have a lot of disciplinary problems,” Bullock said.

Right now, high schoolers are on an even/odd schedule; they have eight classes, but go to four different subjects every other day.

None of these proposals are final and even if passed, they won’t go into effect until the 2015-2016 school year. Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says he hopes to have the delayed high school start time in place by 2015.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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