Green Bay school task force looks at adjusting school start times
The average school start time for middle and high school students in Wisconsin is 7:59 a.m. according to the U.S. Department of Education, National Education Statistics, Schools, and Staffing Survey.
In the Green Bay Public School District, school starts at 7:30 a.m. for most middle and high school students.
“I don't struggle that much with getting up early, but it's a frequent complaint, you hear it daily,” said Noah Becker, a junior at West High School where school starts at 7:30 a.m.
He is on the School Start Time Task Force and would like to see the start times changed.
“I think that there should be options for students to start later than 7:30 a.m. or the traditional start time for high schools. I think it has a negative impact on academic performance is my main concern,” said Becker.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged middle and high schools to push school start times to 8:30 a.m. at the earliest, citing improved health and academic performance.
School board member Rhonda Sitnikau started the task force after having to get her own daughter to middle school at 7:30 in the morning.
“I just thought this seems to be really difficult to get moving in the morning for that time,” said Sitnakau. “So, I did some research and looked into it, and then I started thinking about the kids who get on the bus to be there for that time and they're up even earlier.”
Middle and high schools start at 7:30 a.m. except Aldo Leopold Middle School, at 8 a.m. The NEW School of Innovation Academy starts the latest at 9 a.m.
Elementary school start times vary from 7:30 a.m. to 8:57 a.m.
“Most of the research shows that school start times are actually, for elementary students, are better if they're a little earlier versus later -- and we actually seem to have it backwards,” said Sitnikau.
The task force has been meeting for several months, researching how adjusting start times would impact the district.
The task force put out a survey hoping to get parent’s feedback on how changing start times would impact them.
The deadline to take the survey is Monday, September 30.
The task force hopes to make a recommendation to the school board by the end of the year.