Rockland high schools will start classes half an hour later, says superintendent

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 11, 2013, at 11:23 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Oceanside High School students will be able to sleep in a little longer beginning in the fall.

Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent Lew Collins announced during the school board’s Thursday night meeting that the schedule for the schools will be changed. Oceanside East and West will start a half hour later, commencing at 8 a.m. for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Research has shown that the adolescent brain is often not fully awake at 6:30 a.m., the superintendent said.

He said the schedule used to get students to school on time calls for some to get on buses shortly before 6 a.m. to get to school on time for classes that begin at 7:30 a.m.

In addition, he said teachers are having staff meetings at 6:40 a.m., which he maintained was too early.

Collins said he went to the high schools in the district and asked students when they would like classes to begin and most said 8 a.m.

“I was surprised, I thought they would have said 9 or 10,” the superintendent said.

The National Sleep Foundation, based in Arlington, Va., states on its website that teenagers biological clocks are designed to stay up later and get up later. The Foundation called for schools to adjust their schedules to meet these realities.

The change in the schedule will mean a later start as well for elementary students, Collins said. The district does not have enough buses to run all the high school and elementary bus runs at the same time, Collins said. He said the district would need to purchase six more buses and hire six more drivers to keep the elementary schedule the same.

Elementary school classes in the district now start at 8:30 a.m. but will be moved to 8:45 a.m., starting in the fall.

“I know this is a concern to working parents but we will see what we can come up with to address those concerns,” Collins said.

The new schedule means high school students will get out of classes at about 2:30 p.m. while elementary students will be released at 3:10 p.m.

RSU 13 comprises Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/11/news/midcoast/rockland-high-schools-will-start-classes-half-an-hour-later-says-superintendent/ printed on October 25, 2014