The new school start and end times have been in effect in Randolph schools for more than half the school year now, and they are not working for our elementary school students!
Children in grades kindergarten through five are in school until almost 4 pm. Some do not get off the bus until after 4:30. In the winter time, it was dark out when they were walking home. They come home tired and hungry, but it’s too close to dinner for a snack and there’s no time to unwind from the school day. Many rush off to sports or other activities. And when can these young students do their homework? Immediately after getting home from seven hours of school? In the short time between dinner and showering and getting ready for bed? Since most elementary school children go to bed between 7:30 and 9 pm, there is little time for families to do everything they need to do in the evenings.
And just because children are starting school later, doesn’t mean they are sleeping later. Many children wake by 6 or 7 am. Some wake early because their parents have to go to work, and some just because their little bodies are ready to start the day. Full day kindergarten was implemented this year. There are 5-year-olds getting up at 6 am and in school until 4 pm. They are shutting down way before dismissal time. The new school times are making teachers’ jobs even more challenging and are doing a disservice to children.
I have spoken to many parents and teachers who believe that the new times are not good for the elementary population. The Board of Education voted to implement the new school times proposed by the former superintendent because studies show that adolescent (middle and high school) learners benefit from later start times. It seems that the elementary start times were not informed by research but that the elementary schools received whatever timeslot was left after the middle and high school times were determined. I do not know if the changes have benefited middle and high school students, but I do know that they have not benefited the younger children, who will eventually become these adolescent learners.
The Board of Education has sent out a survey on the new school times. I urge any parent who has concerns to complete the survey in all honesty.
Randolph Township Resident & Parent
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