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Board Approves New School Start Times

Borg Report December 11, 2018

The Westonka School Board unanimously approved changes to school start times district-wide during its regular meeting Dec. 10, citing the latest research and best practices regarding sleep patterns in adolescents.

The district arrived at the new start times, which will begin in the 2019-2020 school year, by looking at relevant research; gathering feedback from staff, students and parents; and considering logistics, such as transportation, that impact the student schedule. Starting in the fall of 2019, Westonka’s primary schools will start at 9:05 a.m. and release at 3:45 p.m., Grandview Middle School will start at 8:10 a.m. and release at 2:50 p.m. and Mound Westonka High School will start at 8:20 a.m. and release at 3:00 p.m.

These changes were carefully designed to offer secondary students a later start, and specifically to provide them with added sleep that research has shown to be critical to development and learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics, among other organizations, recommends that districts delay start times of middle and high schools to combat teen sleep deprivation.

We believe that our students’ mental health and wellbeing is a crucial aspect of school safety. When looking at the research on this topic, pushing back our start times seems to be a logical step to support healthy learning environments.

These changes will bring the instructional day for all Westonka students to 6 hours and 40 minutes, which is in line with neighboring districts. A comparison chart of neighboring district start times can be found on the district website.

Our priority was developing a schedule that best fits the needs of the entire community. Though no single timetable can fit every individual's personal preference, the option approved by the board on Monday night ultimately garnered the most support from stakeholder groups. Committees are working to finalize new daily schedules at the building level, which will be communicated to staff and students once finalized.

We value all of the input we received over the past several months, and we understand that this schedule shift may inconvenience some of our families and staff. This decision was not made lightly, and we are committed to working through individual concerns and challenges as we move forward with this process.

The catalyst behind this change is our belief that later start times will have a positive impact on our students’ overall health and wellbeing. We appreciate the continued support of our community as we work to maintain safe, healthy, supportive and welcoming learning environments.

The new school start times are listed below:

 

Current Start Time

Start Time for 2019-2020

Current End Time

End Time for 2019-2020

Shirley Hills & Hilltop Primary Schools

8:55 a.m.

9:05 a.m.

3:35 p.m.

3:45 p.m.

Grandview Middle School

7:40 a.m.

8:10 a.m.

2:35 p.m.

2:50 p.m.

Mound Westonka High School

7:41 a.m.

8:20 a.m.

2:45 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin Borg, Superintendent
borgk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8001