School board still considering changing start times


Johnston High School students arrive at the school around 7:30 a.m.. If the start times were to be changed, high school students would begin their first period at 8:30 a.m..

Brandon Spraggins, Staff Writer

When students and faculty planned to the move to the new high school in 2016, the topic of late start times seemed to a pressing issue.

After many studies suggesting that school start times directly impact student learning, the district exploring the possibility of delaying the start time.  Students were sent a form requesting their preference for the start time.

The district has not eliminated the possibility of changing start times. Rather, the school board wants to consider all districtwide effects of changing the start time before making the final decision. “As the district continues to look at ways to increase student achievement the issue of school start times continues to be a topic of discussion,” School board member Jill Morrill said. “The decision to change start times has a broader impact across the district than simply changing the bell times; The impact any change made will have on our community and staff families, our transportation services, our capping policy, and any after school activities all need to be considered.”

Students and faculty continue to have mixed feelings about the impact of a later start time. Teacher Lisa Noe believes that changing the start time would not benefit the students. “Students would think it is okay to stay up later since they do not have to get up as early, just creating the same situation,” Noe said.

Noe also believes that having activities end later in the night would not be beneficial for students, and it would also keep students working later into the night. Noe is also concerned about the after-school program Kids Teen Connection (K.T.C.) since the program relies on high school students as their main employees, and high schoolers would not be able to work in the afternoon. “I’m not sure where the benefit really is,” Noe said.

Student Jeremiah Steinfeldt ’18 has mixed feelings on the subject of late starts. “Students get to sleep in but then they are inconvenienced by doing homework late at night and it’s not practical for teachers, coaches, or student-athletes,” Steinfeldt said.

Des Moines Public Schools decided to have late starts and realizes that this is a change that would affect nearly everyone in the school district, from students and their families to our teachers and staff, and appreciates the support to do the right thing for education.