School Start Times Project Update
We are excited to share information about the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools start times project. The goal of this project is to facilitate a process where we can examine our current start time structures, review research related to school start times for students and consider different start time options that might better support our students' success in school.
The project was first announced last February and has been discussed at each Board of Education meeting since. In September, an email was also sent to all families with an opportunity to participate in a focus group.
Throughout the process, we have actively sought input from many stakeholders, including more than 100 parents and guardians, all our building and department leaders and a survey that was distributed to all of our staff. Through that feedback, we have heard a variety of questions, concerns and considerations including:
Child care impacts
Access to enrichment and programming at various levels
Length of our instructional day
Staff planning time and contracts
Impact on athletics and extracurriculars
In addition to the feedback we have received from our community, we are looking at the research pertaining to school start times and student health and behavior. The evidence supports school districts placing a focus on moving the school start times back so they can get the sleep necessary for their brains and bodies to be in an optimal state for learning. We are actively taking into account recommended hours of sleep in a night as well as circadian rhythms.
With all of this in mind, we are working with a routing and start-time expert to generate various options that we will consider for implementation next school year. Those options will be presented to District staff and the family focus group for feedback. A final decision will be shared with our entire community before winter break so that families will have more than seven months to make any necessary changes to support our new hours.