New Schedule Announcement

Monday, November 19, 2018 | Maggie

Dear Duchesne Community, 

After months of research and discussion, the faculty and administration have decided to pilot a daily schedule change this spring for implementation in the fall of 2019. Fundamental to this schedule is a half hour later start time for classes at 8:25 am. The dismissal time will remain at 3:30 pm.

  • In the 2017-18 school year, teaching staff engaged in research on daily schedule options with the goals of identifying ways to enhance student’s experience by “Maximizing opportunities for wellness, modeling balance between personal time and work, slowing down the pace of the day, and ensuring teens can sleep 8-9 hours every night” as well as continuing to “Ensure our community can live Goal 4 as well as explore personal interests and wellness”
  • Throughout the research, the staff remained committed to maintaining the excellent education and learning opportunities we offer.

While many options were discussed, the overwhelming research led the school to focus attention on the issue of teenage sleep patterns and school schedules. This research includes:

  • Sleep studies that show the average teen’s circadian rhythm to begin at 11 pm and end at 7:30 am for a full night’s rest. Furthermore, the pattern from 6-7:30 am is some of the most important REM sleep cycle.
  • Studies that show significant improvements in learning, grades and standardized test scores among schools that have initiated a later start time
  • Improved levels of stress, decreased depression, fewer traffic accidents, and overall healthier teens, physically and emotionally, with a full night’s rest.

We know that changing the start time for school may raise other concerns for our families. We hope to mitigate any negative effects and be responsive to the problems this change may cause.

  • Some parents may worry about their teen driving in more traffic to arrive at 8:30. We agree but also hope that the data on decreased traffic accidents after a full night’s rest will lower this risk in both theory and reality.
  • We know that many families have to drop off their students earlier due to their work schedules. Please know that the school will continue to open at 6:30 am and we are also planning to provide supervision in the weight room from 7-8 every morning to offer a healthy activity for those who do need to come in early.

We know that with any change there will be other issues that will need to be addressed, but we also feel strongly that the overwhelming evidence offered for the benefits of later start times cannot be ignored. 

A pilot of the new schedule will be run February 4 to Spring Break and listening sessions will be scheduled for students and parents following the pilot.

 

Click here to view a personal message from Dr. Hickman.