Mounds View high schools to start 70 minutes later next fall

If 7:25 a.m. brings blurry eyes and unfocused attentions to high school classrooms, the Mounds View School Board hopes pushing school start times back a bit will help solve some of the problem.   

Considering a change for several years now — and only dedicated to making one within the last year — the board made its long-awaited decision to change school start and end times at its April 25 meeting. 

Following an eight-month public review, the board approved a change that will have high school students start their school day at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. — that’s a 70-minute change.

The new school hours will go into effect in the fall of 2018. 

Of the three options the board considered, the one members finally landed on has high school students starting the latest. Currently, the district’s two high schools, Irondale and Mounds View, both start at 7:25 a.m. and end at 2:05 p.m. 

The school board has said for some time that its commitment to establishing new start times for the high schools will help provide high school students with more time to sleep in. 

“We agreed with the medical evidence and research that shows later high school start times would better align with teens’ unique sleep needs,” said school board chair Amy Jones of the board’s initial decision to work on changing the status quo.

But it’s not only the upper grades that will have to adjust to a change. Due to the complicated nature of scheduling in regards to bussing, before and after school programs and other factors, a high school time-change means a district-wide change.

For example, Chippewa, Edgewood and Highview middle schools will start and end 20 minutes earlier than they now do. Island Lake and Turtle Lake elementary schools will start and end 35 minutes later, while Pinewood and Valentine Hills will be set back on the clock by just five minutes.

According to District 621, current programs will remain in place in all the schools, “and in the coming months schools will determine how to structure before- and after-school programs.”

“Districts that have tackled this issue know how complicated, but important it is,” Jones said in a statement.

At the April 25 meeting, the board asked for a mid-year planning report in advance of the 2018-19 school year, and it committed to reviewing start times every three years as required by policy.

“We recognize this is a schedule change affecting many families,” Jones said. “Having more than a year to plan for this will allow the smoothest transitions possible as families and staff prepare and adjust into new schedules and routines.”

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. 

 

 

 

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