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Aiming to Get Teens More Sleep, EPISD Considers Changes to Start of School Day

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Middle school kids in the El Paso Independent School District would start their school day later and elementary school kids earlier if a proposal introduced at Tuesday’s (Jan. 12) school board meeting is approved.

As it stands now, elementary students begin first period at 8:15 a.m. while middle school students start their day at 7:50 a.m. If the proposal were implemented, the start times would essentially be reversed with kids in elementary starting class 45 minutes earlier at 7:30 a.m. and middle school students later at 8:10 a.m.

EPISD Board of Trustees member Susie Byrd says the move is intended to to improve the health and well-being of older students.

“[The proposed changes] would give our teenagers in middle school some additional sleep time,” Byrd told Mike and Tricia in a phone interview. “If you look at all the research, [a later start time] would result in a better outcome for those students.”

Byrd is referring to numerous studies that most teens don’t get enough sleep and that starting school later corresponds with teen sleep needs, and improves health and school performance.

The discussion is currently in the preliminary stages. The board is allowing a feedback process to take place among teachers and administrators and once a consensus is reached a dialogue with parents regarding changing bell times will be opened up.

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