District hours under review

Four proposed options to determine school start, end times


Ruthie Posada

A St. Louis Park parent asks a question regarding the time change for schools in the St. Louis Park School District during an informational meeting Feb. 21. According to superintendent Astein Osei, the school board will likely make the final decision in March.

Noah Orloff and Gabriel Kaplan

The St. Louis Park School Board is actively working on gathering community input on potentially changing start and end times throughout the district in order to address issues with sleep and transportation, according to Park superintendent Astein Osei.

“Currently, we are in the feedback stage of the process. We are in the process of going out to different stakeholder groups and getting feedback on the initial options that were shared by the project team,” Osei said. “We held a public meeting, but we used Facebook to allow people that couldn’t physically be present to participate live or watch it, and provide comments and feedback at a later time.”

Junior Sam Sietsema said he would enjoy a later start, but can see why changing the school hours could cause conflict.

“I would like if school started later in the day — like around nine or 10 — but I understand for practical and logistical (reasons)

, like having jobs outside of school, that we need to start at the time we start (now) so we can end at the time we end (now), but it would be nice to do something else,” Sietsema said.

After attending an assembly Feb. 21 where students voiced their opinions on the proposed start time options which would reorganize when the various St. Louis Park schools start in relation to each other, sophomore Rochelle Jackson was motivated by learning how the high school would be affected.

“I decided to attend the meeting because I wanted to be a part of discussing and (wanted to) know how our start time (might) change,” Jackson said. “We filled out a sheet, and we picked out the time that we thought was the best for us to start.”

According to Osei, various data reports helped form the current options.

“Those options were developed based on a lot of the academic research that’s out there right now on sleep and the impact on the overall student health from an academic, social, emotional standpoint,” Osei said. “In addition to that, we also looked at what we describe as best practice, so we are looking at what a lot of other school districts in the state and across the country are doing connected to start times.”

Osei said the information collected throughout the community also affected the proposed start and end time options.

“We also took into account the local survey that we did, and we also took into account all of that feedback that we collected over the month of January from the 22 different stakeholder groups that we met with,” Osei said. More information is available on the district’s website as well as on the feedback flyer.