Harlem May Change School Hours

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

We all know teenagers need their sleep, now one school district is considering changing its start times to accomodate that need. But some aren't ready for the change.
The Harlem school board is considering changing the start times for all schools in the district to allow more time for students to sleep.
"If you believe the medical field and the sleep research, if you believe what other schools have done, we believe that students will be more attentive at all three levels to learn and obviously attention span is one of the key components to learning," says Harlem Superintendent Pat DeLuca.
Right now Harlem middle and high schools start around 7:30 am. Elementary schools an hour after that and the Parker Center for kindergarten and pre-k at 9:05 for the morning shift, or 12:45 for afternooners.
Under the new proposal, middle and high schools would start an hour later. Elementary schools 40 minutes later. But the Parker Center would start an hour and a half earlier. Some parents say that would change their whole family's schedule.
"If the early start times go through and I have to put him to bed earlier, we're going to miss that family interaction time and I think that's a really important part of our family, of his growing up right now," says Parker Center parent Heather Eschmeyer.
Superintendent Pat Deluca says studies show younger kids perform better early in the day. Still, even some high school students, who you might think would jump at the chance to set their alarm clocks later aren't so sure about the plan.
"The more you do something, the more you get used to it and when you're gonna have a job you're gonna need to get up early, so like I said it's prepping you for that," says Harlem Junior Christine Chaney.
The board also considered a two-tier idea tonight that would start the Parker Center and eight of nine elementary schools at 7:30 A.M. Machesney Elementary, the middle school and the high school would start at 8:30.
There will be another parent meeting to discuss scheduling April 19th at 6:30 P.M. in the Harlem schools board room.


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