NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The New Brunswick Board of Education has had preliminary discussions about Gov. Phil Murphy's pilot program that will require five New Jersey high schools to start later, the city's School Superintendent has told TAPinto New Brunswick.
With the stroke of a pen last week, Murphy created a law requiring the Department of Education to establish a four-year pilot program to test later school start times for high school students.
Under Bill S3160, classes won't start earlier than 8:30 a.m. for the five schools that will be selected by Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet.
The pilot program will assess how shifting start times would impact districts overall, including how extracurricular activities may be impacted and how transportation to and from school would be affected.
Officials seeking to create later school start times got some leverage in 2014 when the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that later start times are more in line with teenagers' biological sleep patterns. Teens' sleep cycles make it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m., so it's difficult for them to get a full night's sleep. That leads researchers to suggest that a later school start time would result in better grades and health.
“The governor’s pilot program is a valuable initiative for New Jersey’s educators; it will be interesting to see how the test cases work out,” said Dr. Aubrey Johnson, superintendent, New Brunswick Public Schools. “Of course, any altering of the specific time the school day begins to raise multiple logistical issues. Our Board of Education has had very preliminary discussions about how a later start time might work here in New Brunswick, but what our next steps might be, if any, is yet to be determined.”
Schools from urban, suburban and rural areas of the state are required to be represented in the pilot program, according to the legislation.
The legislation was sponsored by Senator Richard Codey and Assemblymembers Mila Jasey, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Carol Murphy.
According to the high school's website, first classes begins at 8 a.m.