District contemplating starting high school a little later

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MONUMENT, Colo. (KKTV) - Students and parents in Monument's school district have mixed feelings over rumblings that high school could start later down the road.

"I like the start times the way they are because my daughter does a lot of sports and it's very convenient for her to get home at a reasonable time to have dinner," said parent Anna Walsh.

"It's really, really early," said Palmer Ridge High School sophomore Elysia Glowacz of the current 7:40 a.m. start time. "And especially hard to focus because you're up so early, and then you don't have time to do your homework in the morning, and then it's just not fun overall."

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Lewis-Palmer District 38 says it's going to discuss the issue in a special school board meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. The meeting is to determine whether the matter is something they want to research.

The district said they are considering the issue in part because some parents have reached out to them, but also because there have been a lot of national studies of late that suggest teenagers do better when they can sleep later.

The Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics say middle school and high school start times should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later. Although the CDC say most don't, "fewer than 1 in 5 middle and high schools in the U.S. began the school day at the recommended 8:30 AM start time or later."

Parent Scott Dooley tells 11 News the solution for lack of sleep could start with the night before.

"I've heard that, you know, the argument that teenagers need more sleep. You know, they can go to bed earlier as far as I'm concerned."

He suggested that the early start times can be easier on families with working parents.

"I drop my stepdaughter off at 7 o'clock to the junior high school. For me personally, that works out pretty good. I work up at the Denver Tech Center, so I get there about 7:45, so later would be tougher for me personally if they pushed it back. We have to provide transportation, and again, if it was like an 8 o'clock or even close to 9 o'clock, that'd be pretty difficult for me just coordinating with my work schedule."

Elysia said she thought she'd be more focused with a later start time.

"We wake up so early and we're up so late doing our homework. It would be so much easier. ... Even, like, an hour, 8:45, like, 8:30 even -- it would really still help with more rest."

Lewis-Palmer freshman Bella Walsh, Anna Walsh's daughter, disagreed.

"I think that honestly, 7:40 is a great time. Like it's -- I thought middle school starting time, because that started at 7:20-something, that was way too early. ... When I was in elementary school I didn't like getting out later just because it did cut into that dinnertime and homework time."

We'll let you know what happens at the meeting.