Rhinebeck Central School District – School Start Time Committee Outlines the Full BOE


Prior to the start of the rescheduled Regular Board of Education meeting on March 1, 2016, the Board’s ad hoc School Start Time Committee outlined information on their proposal for changing the start time of the District’s schools on a pilot basis, starting in September 2016, for the full Board and the approximately 15 members of the public in attendance.

School Board member Deirdre d’Albertis reviewed the context and the research base for the Board of Education’s interest in studying the possibilities, the benefits, and the disadvantages of the five possible options that were reviewed and considered.

Superintendent Joseph Phelan then reviewed the details of the option that is being proposed to the Board for their consideration and approval for implementation as a pilot, one that does not incur additional costs and that enables before and after school programs to be maintained. This information was followed by a synopsis of the results of the data collected through November and January surveys conducted with District parents, with CLS, BMS, and RHS teachers, and with students in grades 6 -12, as well as the District’s strategy for assessing the success of the proposed pilot.

The proposal, if adopted by the Board of Education, would shift the start time at BMS/RHS by 30 minutes, from the current 7:30 am start time to 8:00 am, with dismissal shifted 19 minutes later, from the current2:16 pm dismissal to 2:35 pm.  At CLS, class start time would begin 5 minutes later than currently, at 9:00 am, although students would continue to be allowed to be dropped off at school at the current 8:45 amtime, and would dismiss 5 minutes later than currently, by 3:35 pm.

The full text of the Powerpoint presentation used during the March 1, 2016 presentation, which outlines the details of the recommended proposal, can be accessed by clicking the following link: 2.16.16 Presentation FINAL.pdf. At the conclusion of the presentation, seven (7) of those members of the community in attendance, both parents and students, shared their comments with the members of the Board of Education and the audience.

A review of the research base supporting later school start times for adolescents can be accessed by clicking the following link: SST Research.  Additional research links include the following:https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/school-start-times.pdf and http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=383436#METHODS. This latter study specifically addresses the health and wellness benefits for adolescents of as little as 30 minutes of additional sleep time.

An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document, which has been developed by the School Start Time Committee, is available and can be accessed by clicking the following link: FINAL FAQ.pdf. A recording of the School Start Time presentation will be available on the website within the next several days.

During the 2014-15 school year, an ad hoc Committee of the Board of Education was formed to look into the possibilities of changing the school start time in Rhinebeck and what effects, both positive and negative, would be inherent in such a change.  The Board’s School Start Time Committee – Deirdre d’Albertis, Diane Lyons, and Laura Schulkind, assisted by Superintendent Joseph Phelan, Assistant Superintendent Thomas Burnell, and others – was charged with reviewing, researching, discussing, and making a recommendation to the full Board. The Committee was instructed by the Board to keep any recommendation cost neutral.

The Committee examined the details of various options, and they collected and reviewed feedback from teachers, parents, and students in preparing their proposed recommendation to the full Board of Education for consideration and action. The proposed recommendation of the School Start Time Committee will be considered and voted upon by the full Board at a Special Board of Education meeting scheduled for 7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 15. An affirmative recommendation, if approved by a majority of the full Board of Education, would be implemented, on a pilot basis, at the start of the 2016-17 school year.

The impetus for considering such a change at this time was a recent series of recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. Although educators have realized for some time that teenagers require 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night, the national conversation about school start time has become more insistent, particular, and conclusive in the past several years.

To that point, in August 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following recommendations made the year before by the American Academy of Pediatrics, declared insufficient sleep among adolescents to be a public health concern best addressed by adopting later school start times.

After gathering initial information, the Committee determined that 2015-16 would be spent educating and collecting additional feedback from various stakeholders, including parents, students, teachers, and non-instructional staff. The Committee is committed to considering the impact any change would have on all members of the community. The Committee has held a number of meetings with Administrators, the Athletic Director and a transportation consultant to gather information and opinions on each of the options. Parents, students, teachers, and non-instructional staff were provided with the opportunity to participate in a survey of their opinions on the topic. A presentation was made at a faculty meeting in each of the District’s three schools, and a series of meetings were held after school to provide interested school staff with an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback in person. Several coffee hours with the Board of Education were held to solicit input on the topic from parents and students.

Questions or comments may be directed to the full Board of Education and District administrators by clicking on the following link: Contact BOE Members/Admins

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