The Anchorage School District will provide a series of opportunities for the public to weigh in on possible new school start times for high schoolers.

Currently, high school students start classes at 7:30 a.m. with classes ending at 2:00 p.m. Middle School starts at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m., followed by Elementary students starting classes at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.

"This topic has come up over the last 10 years," ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop said. "It's been brought up by school board members and parents. Last spring, we had a student do an online petition and over 5,000 people signed it. Certainly, the research supports high school students kind of being more nocturnal and their circadian rhythm being messed up by having to wake up so early."

On the ASD's website, they provide some of the data to back up the research.

The research provided shares some of the benefits of academic and student performance experienced elsewhere. They include middle and high school students getting eight hours or more sleep, improved grades and GPA’s along with graduation and attendance rates improved with tardiness reduced.

The new start times would also benefit elementary students as elementary school studies found improvements from earlier starts.

The Anchorage School District announced multiple venues and dates for the public to learn more about the possible changes and to share thoughts and ideas. A list of the times and places can be found here.

"It is due time that we take a look at this if we are serious about it," Dr. Bishop said. "We want all of our kids healthy and to do well in school."

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