Goal 1:

Determine the feasibility of adjusting the starting and ending times for each school that consider the health and well-being of students.

District 103’s Strategic Plan, Vision 2020, outlines the need to review starting and ending times for each of our schools. Specifically, the goals state:

  1. Review research regarding optimal school start times for early childhood, elementary and adolescent students.
  2. Determine the impacts and explore options for bus scheduling.
  3. Determine the impacts on after school activities and programs
  4. Create an engagement process to involve the community in possible changes to the school schedules.

The comprehensive evaluation included:

  • National research on student sleep
  • Analysis of local cohort districts' school times
  • Parent and staff surveys
  • Community and staff meeings regarding survey results
  • Examination of multiple busing schedules and implications
  • Review of after school impacts for changing start/ending times
  • Review of comparison districts' starting and ending times
  • Discussion of topic and data with doctors specializing in sleep and children
  • Student survey for grades 5, 6, 7 and 8
  • Financial implications and projections
  • Board parameters for start times at Sprague and Half Day no earlier than 8:15 a.m., and Daniel Wright no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
  • Evaluation of two scenarios of starting/ending times

District 103 will not change its starting and ending times for our schools for the 2016-2017 school year primarily due to:

  • Financial implications impacting the 2016-2017 budget
    • Unknown factors related to State of Illinois funding
      • The State has yet to pass the current budget and will begin the process of determining the 2017 budget this winter
      • A property tax freeze and the pension cost shift are possibilities that would have a large impact on the school district’s finances
    • Master Contract negotiations for 2016-2017
    • Rising student enrollment

However, the District will continue to monitor these issues in order to make a more informed decision when the financial unknowns are solidified to include the following actions:

  • Continue to review transportation options, through June 2016
  • Monitor State decisions for property tax freeze and pension cost shift, July 2016
  • Determine the budget implications of negotiated contract, estimated no later than the end of August 2016
  • Review ending times for Daniel Wright to ensure they are ending as close to 3:30 p.m. as possible, August 2016
  • Update the Board of Education with the status of the financial conditions of the District and Daniel Wright starting/ending time, September 2016

Altering the starting times for our junior high students is an important step to providing our students the opportunity to receive the recommended amount of sleep. If/when the District overcomes the financial and time hurdles presented above, a recommendation will be brought to the Board of Education to consider changing to a later start time for Daniel Wright. The goal is to make a recommendation in the fall of 2016 to implement a time change for the 2017-2018 school year to help parents, staff and students to effectively plan for any adjustments to their schedules.

UPDATE, Fall 2016

During 2016-2017, the District reviewed the research, conducted surveys, consulted with medical professionals, held meetings and informed the community regarding the importance of adjusting the start times for our middle school students to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The goal last year was to present to the Board of Education a recommendation regarding a change in the starting times for the 2017-2018 school year.

At the end of November 2016, the District’s work has shown that this change is feasible, pending a five-year financial projection. The five-year financial projection has been completed and shows a positive financial status. The analysis includes moving 5th grade to Half Day School, adjusting bus transportation with that change, incorporating grade level teaming at Daniel Wright for 7th and 8th grades, and addressing growing class sizes. A recommendation will be made to the Board of Education at its December 2016 regular meeting Opens a New Window. that the school starting and ending times for the 2017-2018 school year be changed.

The changes to the start times will enable the District to follow medical recommendations that middle school students start school no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and will ensure that all our students have the opportunity to receive the sleep needed to keep them healthy.

UPDATE, January 2017

At the Board of Education meeting on December 13, 2016, the Board considered a recommendation to shift the start times at District schools, in line with research on adolescent health and learning. The Board unanimously approved the school starting and ending times for the 2017-2018 school year as follows:

  • Sprague, 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Half Day, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Daniel Wright, 8:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.