By Jeff Gallatin
A proposed earlier start in the school day for North Olmsted High School students drew criticism from several parents at the Feb. 20 North Olmsted Board of Education meeting.
As it stands, the proposal being considered by school administrators would move the start of the school day to 7:20 a.m. next year from its current time of 7:45 a.m. Principal Jeff Stanton has said this would allow more time for an academic intervention and collaboration period, which right now is being proposed for 2:28 to 3:15 p.m. Stanton indicated the period would be designed for students to meet with their teachers outside of their normal classroom hours.
“It would be similar to office hours for a college professor, a time when the students know they can come to their teacher and discuss any issues they might be having,” said Stanton when contacted after the meeting. “This is still a work in progress, but our primary concern is to give students and their teachers an opportunity to be able to meet and work on issues outside of their classes.”
However, several parents voiced their objections to the proposal.
John Dailey, a former member of the school board as well as former city councilman and director for the city of North Olmsted, expressed strong reservations about the proposal. Dailey, who has a daughter currently at the high school, said the planned move would cause safety problems among other things.
Dailey said having the middle and high school students letting out at about the same time would create a “nightmare” for students and people trying to get out of the two schools as well as on the streets around the areas.
Another parent, Melissa Meredith, cited educational studies that shows students often aren’t getting enough sleep, and those who start school later in the day are more productive. She said having an earlier start could cause additional issues for many students. She said the proposed starting time would be one of the earliest in the area for high schools.
“I think if anything, you should consider making the starting time later,” she said.
Stanton, who indicated he had a time conflict and was at a scheduled school concert at the high school while the school board meeting was going on, noted the district is trying to find ways to relieve traffic congestion and safety issues at the middle and high schools. He also said the district is aware of the educational studies cited and noted that a major factor is many students are not getting enough sleep.
School Board President John Lasko said afterward the district has not made a final decision.
“My understanding is the school administrators are looking at all the facts and factors involved and that they are aware of the studies cited in the discussion at the meeting as well as many others,” Lasko said.
Additional information about the school proposal can be found at the school’s website at www.northolmstedschools.org.