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St. Paul Schools Considering Changing Start Times

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s the middle of August, which means school is starting soon for many students in Minnesota.

The big talk in the St. Paul School District right now is a proposal to push back the start of the school day for secondary students. The district is having a meeting Monday night to hear what people think about the plan.

This proposal isn’t just about pushing back start times, for some students it could also mean an earlier start. Changing the start times would have a district-wide impact from elementary to high schoolers.

Monday night is the public’s opportunity to weigh in on the pros and cons before school leaders make any decisions. The St. Paul School District is considering pushing the high school start time back an hour and moving the elementary start times up. Officials said high school students would start their day at about 8:30 a.m. and some elementary school students would start at 7:30 a.m. That’s two hours earlier than normal for elementary school students.

District officials are relying on research out of the University of Minnesota that shows a teenager’s natural sleep pattern is later and that the majority of secondary students don’t get enough sleep. The research shows teenagers perform better in class, attendance goes up and tardiness goes down.

For elementary school students, it also shows they do better with an earlier start. They’re more attentive in class and are more likely to eat breakfast.

There are some challenges that come with a potential change in school times for students. At the elementary level, it could mean students are getting on school buses as early as 6:30 a.m. For high school students, it could mean they’re getting home later and extra-curricular activities could get pushed back.

The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the St. Paul School District headquarters. If the start times are changed, school district official said they would not be implemented until the start of the 2015-16 school year.

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