Later Nyack High School Start Time

Later Nyack High School Start Time

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Lezlee Peterzell-Bellanich started this petition to Nyack School Board Education President Michael Mark

"Mom, Dad, I am so exhausted all the time. I hate school because I can't wake up or focus. All I want to do is sleep!"  Have you heard your child or a child you love say this? 

We are a group of concerned parents who want Nyack High School to start later.  Why does this matter?

For the health, safety, and academic success of our students, high school start times must be changed from 7:30 am to 8:19 am.  Why 8:19 am? Because that is the latest we can start without drastically affecting the dismissal times. High School end times would then be changed from 2:15 pm to 3:05 pm which allows enough time for students to attend after school activities (according to the High School Sports Director).

National organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society, and the CDC, are urging school districts to start middle and especially high school no earlier than 8:30 am to align with teenagers’ natural sleep cycles. These cycles shift in puberty and make it difficult for teenagers to fall asleep before 11 p.m.  Requiring them to wake up before 6:30 am. (or earlier), leaves them chronically sleep deprived during a period of intense growth and development. 

     School Districts that have changed to later school start times have realized dramatic, positive outcomes that include:

  1. Improved scores on state and national achievement tests (CNN 2016)
  2. Improved graduation and attendance rates (Reuters 2017) 
  3. Reduction in teen car crashes ( 2014; Governors Highway Safety Association 2017)
  4. Increased participation in sports, improved team performance, and a decrease in sports related injuries (National Institutes of Health 2014; School Start Time Change: An In-Depth Examination of School Districts in the United States 2014)

This issue has been put before the Nyack School Board of Education many times and their concern is about logistics; the budget for busing students cannot drastically increase, elementary students should not dismiss before high school, high school students need to have enough time to get to sports activities or after school jobs. Furthermore, the question of whether we should sacrifice middle school start times for high school start times has come up.  

The bottom line is, there is no perfect solution for everyone. While we wish start times for both middle and high school could be pushed forward and elementary school could start earlier, in an effort to accommodate these constraints, we feel it is more important that high school start later (even if middle school starts 20 minutes earlier) because many high school students are driving, have heavier academic schedules, preparing for college, and need more sleep.  After much work, we have worked out a schedule below which would accommodate without hiring additional buses.  If you would like more detailed information, please reach out.

WE MUST VOICE OUR CONCERN NOW if anything will change for the next academic schedule.

The proposed 2019-20 new times would be:

Arrival Start Time End Time Departure
50 Minute Delay
Arrive 8:05 AM Start: 8:19 AM
End 3:05 PM Dismissal: 3:10 PM
Current High School-Arrive 7:15 am Start: 7:30 am End 2:15 pm Dismissal: 2:20 pm

Begin 20 Minutes Earlier
Arrive 7:30 AM Start: 7:45 AM
End: 2:30 PM Dismissal: 2:35 PM
Current Middle School - Arrive: 7:50 am Start: 8:05 am 2:50 pm 2:55 pm

15 Minute Delay
Arrive: 8:50 AM Start: 9:05 AM
End: 3:35 PM Dismissal: 3:40 PM
Current Elementary Schools - 8:35 am 8:50 am 3:20 pm 3:25 pm

2019 Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, November 3rd and sunrise begins at 6:29am which gives middle school children plenty of light if they are walking to school or waiting for the bus. For the month of October (only), the sun rises between 6:52am to 7:25am. Arrangements can be made for this one month by hiring additional security to increase safety. Otherwise, this 20 minute change would not affect middle school children who walk or ride the bus to school to be in the dark.


The Next Board Meetings are at 7pm on Tuesday, January 15th and Tuesday, February 5th at the Nyack Schools Administrative Building. We encourage as many people to come as possible to show support for this important change!

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