Jeffco Strives to Better Student Experiences with Later School Start Times

While the 2023-2024 schedule is still only in draft form, as of now school will start every day at 8:05 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m.

While the 2023-2024 schedule is still only in draft form, as of now school will start every day at 8:05 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m.

Payton Tanner, Editor

The longly anticipated DRHS school schedule for the next school year has been released in draft form. This past week Dakota Ridge put out a draft for the next school year, with the main goals of improving student health and providing equitable teaching hours for all of the schools in the district. This has stirred some controversy among students, as some believe this is a great step forward for students and their healthy sleeping schedules, but many also do not like these new schedules as they will carry later into the day.

“Personally, looking at the schedule, it looks awful. First, Seminar is a useless class. We never learn anything valuable and do nothing important in that class. We shouldn’t even have it in the first place, so why are we adding time to it? There is going to be an attendance problem throughout the whole school with that class, like there already is, and many kids won’t want to show up. It also contradicts activities outside of school. Many people, including myself, hate this change,” junior Brayden Cusick said.

This Seminar issue has been the cause of many student concerns, as Seminar is not really a class that students feel should be the same length as normal classes. Many do not attend Seminar or don’t take advantage of that time for school work. 

“Teachers are going to talk about what to do with Seminar. One of the things that we’ve already started talking about is making some kind of a mandatory AE so that kids could really, truly take advantage of working with teachers, especially since our D and F list continues to grow. That might be a way in which we can really hone in and help kids who are struggling,” Principal Kim Keller said. 

While there are many mixed feelings surrounding the new schedule, this is just a draft, and there are issues, including the length of Seminar, that need to be sorted out. There have also been many complaints made by students about the time the school day is supposed to end as it may interfere with some outside of school activities. Outdoor sports, for example, need early start times during daylight savings time, but because of the later school end times, some conflicts may emerge.

According to teens between 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. (Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash)

One of the main reasons for this schedule change is the benefit more sleep has for students. According to a proper amount of sleep at night helps students stay focused, improve concentration, and improve overall academic performance. Young people who do not get enough sleep at night have a risk for many health problems including obesity, type two diabetes, and poor mental health. In addition to the clear benefits that getting more sleep at night has on students, schools will also have a positive effect on the number of students who show up late to classes. The district has hopes that with more time in the mornings students will be more likely to show up on time.

“I think this is a difficult topic that, either way we look at it, somebody will not be happy with the results. I am happy that I do not have to wake up as early for school, but when it comes to football I really don’t like our practices being pushed back so much,” junior Rhys Mallory said.

One of the other main reasons for this schedule change is to provide more equitable teaching hours from school to school. There have been some past inequities between schools as some students were getting up to 50 extra minutes of teaching than others. While this may not seem like that big of a deal, those 50 minutes add up, and a gap between education can emerge. With an equal amount of hours students can be placed on a more even playing field and have more opportunities for success. 

There will always be conflict with change, and while many students are not happy about these later end times, there are also some benefits that people may not see right away, including the potential for healthier sleeping schedules and more equitable teaching hours. A new schedule will definitely be an adjustment for students, but little do they know, they may begin to love it.