SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Those alarm clocks will be changing settings for students in Rowan-Salisbury Schools next year.
Monday night, the school board approved a change that will see middle schools starting at 7:30 a.m. and high schools starting at 8:30 a.m. Elementary schools will split into two groups with half starting at 7:30 a.m. and half an hour later.
"We had a couple goals when we started," South Rowan High School Principal Kelly Withers told WBTV. "We were looking at, the start times are highly varied across the system. Every school had a little bit of an adjusted time. One of the goals was to align start times and instead of having twenty different start times, we would have just two.We also wanted to make it consistent with the employees that they would have times that weren't variable, that we would know when that was happening."
"And the goal our committee started, we were investigating the events and the research as it relates to time of day and adolescence and when they learn best, and obviously high school age children learn best later, a little bit later in the day where as elementary school kids peak before lunch so we were trying to make that as close as possible as well," Withers added.
Admitting that there are pros and cons to the new scheduling, supporters said it would be particularly helpful on days of potentially bad weather and would allow high school students to have a later start, coinciding with some studies that suggest a later start is better for the older students.
"We wanted a little bit of time in the mornings. We were having, because our high school routes are so much larger, the bus routes, because they cover geographically a larger region. Elementary schools are much smaller in the geographic region because there are more of them," Withers added. "We wanted a little bit more time to make that decision, and what we found was that our district was having a three hour delay while other districts are having a two hour delay. We were either losing instructional days completely because we had to make a decision too early or we were having to do a much linger delay than some of the systems around here."
The new start times will be in place beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.