As part of a nationwide trend, the Oxford School District has recently transitioned to a later start time in the morning, in an effort to increase student achievement.
This past year, the drop off line at Oxford High has filled up a little later in the morning. The school district decided to implement an 8:20 a.m. start for Oxford High students who researchers say need more sleep.
However, in an attempt to manage traffic cycles and bus behavior, carpool times for the other grades stayed the same.
“You can only allow so many cars through at one time, and when we were struggling with that, this enabled us to basically cut that in half. It really solved a lot of problems,” said Oxford School District’s Superintendent Brian Harvey.
The reasons behind the later start time were not purely logistical either. School officials agree that separating the older and younger students proved to be a good thing for the district.
“There were just some things we wanted to deal with from a behavioral standpoint and cleaning up the climate on our school buses,” said Harvey.
Before the time change, Oxford’s elementary and high school students shared the same buses. Now, students ride the bus with their own age groups, which officials see as a more appropriate situation for all.
However, the implementation of a later start has not been without some challenges. School administrators say that parents, students and teachers had to work together to ensure a smooth transition, though it appears to have been worth it.
“I can tell you anecdotally, seeing them, that they do seem a little more spry in first period,” said Oxford High’s Assistant Principal Duncan Gray.
Schools in other parts of the country begin as late as 8:30 a.m., the most highly recommended start time for adolescents, but Oxford is not currently looking to ring the morning bell any later. Administrators day that, if the time were any later, it would interfere too much with after school activities.
“Our achievement has certainly increased; I don’t know if you can attribute all of it to late start time, but certainly some of it,” said Harvey.
Story contributed by Meek School of Journalism and New Media students Kelly Loggins and Alexandra Paton.
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