Early bird gets the worm

Des Moines Public Schools change start times to a later hour for High schools

Lynsey Borgen

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Times are changing. And I’m not just talking about a new day and age, I’m talking about school start times. Everyone welcomes extra sleep with open arms, and we have all at one point complained about getting up early for school. But what if you had to get out of school at a later time than before just to get one more hour of sleep? You already know you will use that extra hour of sleep to stay up later the next night.
Overall, switching school start times for the 2018-2019 year will not fix everything the district is trying to fix, like the gaps of times between after school activities and students getting enough sleep. There are multiple problems that will arise as a result of the new school start times. Although DMPS feels that they have solved their issues, but they haven’t.
First of all, because of the fact that elementary schools will get out of school before high school, some students that attend high school would not be able to give their younger siblings rides home from school in the afternoon when their parents at work. Since elementary schools are starting earlier than high school, the students that have to drive their younger students to school in the mornings would still have to get up early in order to get their siblings to school on time, which ruins the whole point of sleeping in for an extra hour or so.
Students in high school who participate in extracurricular activities will face negative effects from the start times being later in the morning and the afternoon. For instance, the coach for girls swimming is also an elementary school teacher. Because of the fact that high students will be starting the school day off later than elementary school, the athletes who participate in this sport will still have to adjust their new schedule around the earlier schedule of their coach so that they can work around the coaches travel time and start time of the school she works at. With that, there’s also the trouble with after school swim practice, the same coach will have to struggle to get out of her school on time to make it to the high students practice to be able to coach the team. And she is not the only coach who might struggle to arrange their primary work schedules along with the new school start times. There are other coaches at East that will struggle to work around their full-time schedules and their coaching schedules. Students will have to either adjust to a new head coach, or the assistant coach will have to fill in while they wait for the head coach to get there in time. This not only accounts for sports, it also hurts many extracurricular activities. Along with the clashing times for coaches and leaders, students will not be able to have very much time to get ready for their activities after class gets out at the end of the day. If a meet starts at 4:30, students won’t have enough time to grab dinner before going to the game.
DMPS has commented on every aspect of this change. “Practices and rehearsals for extracurricular activities will be adjusted to reflect the new school hours. Because many high school activities currently do not begin until later in the afternoon, the “time gap” between the dismissal of school and the start of practices will be lessened or eliminated.” This is how administrators explain dealing with the time between activities and school hours.
With the old school hours students barely had enough time to get prepared for their activities, whether it was time needed to change, make plans for meeting spots, travel, or all of the above.
But now, with the fact DMPS is trying to get rid of the gap in time between class and extracurricular activities, there’s no time to take a break or get prepared for the next activities. Along with all of these things, students will have to adjust their own work schedules around the new school schedule, and although that might not seem like such a big deal, students that participate in extracurricular activities will have to choose one over the other when it comes to work and activities.
Overall, there are many reasons I believe that DMPS could have come up with better ways to fix the problems within our district.

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