Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2014

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26 Hudson Valley Parent ■ November 2014 tes. Studies have also shown that lack of sleep contributes to feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as a propensity toward risk-taking behaviors, such as substance abuse and violence. In addition, it increases the likelihood that teens will get into motor vehicle accidents. Driving while sleepy makes young drivers 21 percent more likely to get into accidents, according to research pub- lished in JAMA Pediatrics in 2013. Injuries are also more likely to occur when a sleep deprived athlete gets on the field. He or she is 68 percent more likely to be injured than a well-rested peer. Because of the gravity of these findings, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that school start times be delayed for middle and high schools until 8:30 or later. Changes being made The movement to change school start times is gaining traction. Dis- tricts in 42 states from New England to California have moved their start times later. Two districts in Kentucky have seen tremendous benefits from shift- ing their start times: In one county, researchers found there was a 16.5 percent reduction in the rate of teen motor vehicle ac- cidents within two years of making the switch. In another county that shifted its start time to 8:40 in 2002, scores went up on standardized tests, and continued to rise in the following years. Over 20 districts in Florida have start times between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. In addition to academic ben- efits, these schools say they have reduced transportation costs by streamlining bus runs. In Brevard County, which made the switch in 2004, they saved $1.5 million on bussing by streamlining bus runs. Regionally, the Glens Falls High School in the Capital District of New York switched its start time to 8:26 in 2012. Since then, they have seen a decrease in tardiness, discipline referrals, and failures. The local conversation Even closer to home, the New Pal- tz Board of Education has assigned a committee to begin planning a way to shift their start time from 8:00, which is already the latest in Ulster County, to 8:30. Although Board President Brian Cournoyer says he has en- countered some parental concerns about scheduling sports practices and games, he says, "I'm optimistic that these problems aren't insurmount- able, and that we will find a solution that works. I also hope that if our district takes the lead on this, other districts in the county will follow." Also in Ulster County, the Onteo- ra Central School District has made shifting start times one of their Super- intendent Goals for the year. Board of Education President Tony Fletcher says, "In my own conversations with parents and educators alike, I have heard nothing but support. I have spoken up about this issue many times at board meetings and have yet to have someone come back to me and argue against it. If anything, I am hearing 'about time!' from parents." Reluctance from parents Still, some parents in the Hudson Valley are reluctant to get on board with shifting the school day later. One of their concerns is that shifting start times won't make a dent in students' sleep deprivation. "I personally don't think pushing high school off by an hour or two will even make a difference in the amount of sleep teens get. They'll just go to bed later and create the same problem all over," says Kristen Mead of Hopewell Junction. Nikki Rogers of Saugerties agrees: "This feels like yet another way to baby our teens." An economic concern local par- ents share is how a shifting start time will impact childcare for their younger children. Lori Traver of Stone Ridge says, "In today's family, a parent isn't always home to get younger chil- dren off the bus. They rely on older children to care for the younger ones until they get home." Or, as Mead points out, they rely SCHOOL START TIMES (Continued from Page 25)

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