Setting Back the Clocks: LPS School Board Considering Start Time Changes


Hayden Peirce, Copy Editor

In a move that has received widespread support throughout the community, the Littleton Public Schools (LPS) Board of Education have begun to consider four separate plans for pushing back school start times. Of those four, two are considered to be viable. The first viable proposal suggests pushing high school start times back a half-hour, to 7:51, and end times back to 2:58. The other suggests pushing start times back almost a full hour, to 8:20, and end times to 3:27. According to LPS Director of Communication Diane Leiker, the Board is not currently leaning one way or the other as far as the two proposals. The decision is expected to take place after another Board workshop on Mar. 9, although Leiker said she “couldn’t speculate as far as what the timing of the decision will be.”

In considering these different scenarios, the LPS board consulted with Shannon Bingham, an expert on school scheduling. They also strongly considered student impacts, especially regarding transportation and after school activities and athletics, per Leiker. The decision will also be influenced by the results of a parent and community survey, which is still open and available on the LPS website.

Of the two viable scenarios, the one most beneficial to students would be delaying the start times a half-hour. Any delay is a good delay; however, considering the wide ranging impacts that the delay will have, it would be much more convenient to both students and parents to have a lesser delay. During the fall and spring, outdoor sports are already practicing until almost dusk under the current schedules. Delaying the end times to 3:27 would require starting after school activities at around 3:45.

All sports practices would be significantly impacted by this, especially outdoor practices. Under the current schedule, there are already sports practices which last until dusk. As such, pushing practice start times back over an hour from the current start time of 2:30 would require that now all sports practices would end at dusk or later, an especially significant problem for outdoor practices due to the lack of light. While it does not seem like much of a time difference, pushing the times back a half-hour as opposed to a full hour would make logistics easier for clubs and practices alike.

The other important factor to consider with practice and club meetings is the amount of time students would have to do homework at night. Since the purpose of the schedule change would be to allow students to get more sleep, they would likely be going to bed at the same time and waking up later; at a bare minimum they should be getting the same amount of sleep. The one-hour extension would cut into homework time significantly, especially if the additional time in the morning is used for sleep – as it was designed for – rather than homework. On the other hand, the half hour extension would be much easier to adjust a homework schedule around.

The half-hour delay would be extremely beneficial to all students, as even a little bit of extra time in the morning is invaluable. The one hour delay, while it would afford extra time in the morning, would ultimately be a downgrade simply because of the time in the afternoon that we would have to give up. The trade off, extra time in the morning for less time in the afternoon, takes away from several important aspects of a high schooler’s life and would not be a helpful change.