A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I was a night owl. When I was a child, I’d stay up late reading or playing Super Mario Brothers on my coveted Nintendo. As a tween, I’d stay up late watching Sanford and Son reruns and premium cable channels. In my awkward teenage years, I would talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning because I didn’t want to be the first one to hang up.
My parents never discouraged my nocturnal habits. Instead, they took a more pay to play approach. Through sheer force of will, my mom would ensure that I made it to school by 7:15 a.m. After lunch, almost everyone in my class would be useless. Most of us would get a second wind as the clock ticked towards dismissal.
Millions of students still follow a similar routine. However, what was once portrayed as merely another growing pain, forcing children and teenagers to drag themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn, may actually be harmful for their long-term growth and development. According to an article in The Washington Examiner, parents and district administrators in Montgomery County, Md., have begun a public relations battle over school start times.
Start School Later, a national coalition dedicated to promoting school hours more aligned with the biological clocks of school age children, has garnered nearly 6,000 signatures in Montgomery County. Despite the groundswell of support for later school start times, Superintendent Joshua Starr does not believe the measure will pass; the district has complicated logistical concerns that belie an easy resolution. Moving the first bell to 8:15 a.m. would create a ripple effect that could have an adverse impact on bus schedules and afterschool activities.
Unfortunately, there has been little substantive engagement between the district and stakeholders.
In order to overcome these seemingly insurmountable differences, areas of conflict must be vetted by promoting proactive conversations. K12 Insight facilitates these important conversations, ensuring a constructive dialogue between districts and stakeholders.
Early birds versus night owls. Elvis fans versus Beatles fans. Team Edward versus Team Jacob. Many times the issues that divide us seem too contentious for a workable resolution. The first step toward any solution is active listening.
We’ll all sleep better knowing that our voices are heard and our opinions matter.
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