Friday, May 6, 2016

Advisory: Department of Education Announces Public Meetings to Explore Later School Start Times

Prince Henry departs Hoboken- 1902
There has been growing research concerning the need to begin the start of the school day later in the morning to allow students more time to sleep. In 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement on the topic that certainly had an impact on the topic. 
"Studies show that adolescents who don’t get enough sleep often suffer physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance. But getting enough sleep each night can be hard for teens whose natural sleep cycles make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. – and who face a first-period class at 7:30 a.m. or earlier the next day." -American Academy of Pediatrics (2014) 
Looks like the message is finally getting through to states and districts around the country. In New Jersey, there will be a series of public meetings concerning later start times. 

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will hold regional public meetings to receive comments from parents, educators, students and the community on the issue of later school start times in the middle and high school grades.
Legislation calls for the NJDOE to explore the issues, benefits and options of instituting a later start time to the school day in middle school and high school. As part of its outreach, the NJDOE will conduct meetings throughout the state to elicit comment and insight from the community.
The regional meetings will be held at the following dates and locations:
Monday, May 2, 2016 – Southern Region
Camden County College, Blackwood Campus
Civic Hall (CON 105)
200 College Drive, Blackwood, NJ
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Register for the May 2 meeting

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – Central Region
New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, Room 1
12 Centre Drive, Monroe, NJ
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Register for the May 4 meeting

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 – Northern Region
Franklin Williams Middle School auditorium
222 Laidlaw Avenue, Jersey City
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Register for the May 10 meeting
Free parking is available at all three locations.
Online registration is being taken to present oral testimony. Space is limited, and registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Those accepted to present oral testimony will be granted three minutes for their presentations in order to ensure that all participants can be heard. Speakers are asked to bring printed copies of their remarks to the meetings, as testimony will not be recorded.

Citizens who want to provide input but cannot attend the regional meetings may provide comments and suggestions to the NJDOE through May 20 via email at or by mailing comments to: New Jersey Later School Start Time, c/o Division of Learning Supports and Specialized Services, New Jersey Department of Education, PO Box 500, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0500.

Citizens are asked to describe how a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would affect them as it relates to their position as a student, parent, teacher, school administrator, coach, counselor, citizen, or other. The public testimony will be considered for incorporation into a report that the NJDOE will submit to the Governor and Legislature with a recommendation on whether to establish a pilot program to test later school start times.