GHS Families Against Late Dismissal Explain Opposition to Later Start time for GHS

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Submitted by GHS Families Against Late Dismissal on June 9, 2016

Late start (i.e., late dismissal) will jeopardize athletics and clubs that develop fitness, leadership skills, teamwork and spirit of one of the town’s most important institutions, Greenwich High School.

Why are we talking about a delayed dismissal– because no one seems to be paying attention to the serious consequences of a late dismissal due to the late start option.

A pushback of 30 to 60 minutes will dramatically alter and potentially destroy the very fabric of the GHS student experience. Direct results of this change will lead to: the lack of faculty/teacher advisors and coaches who will be available for all after- school programs (clubs, athletics & more), and limited sport practice and game times. Ultimately, this will lead to cutting programs that keep our students engaged and involved in their school community. GHS could potentially lose its core strengths—over 140 after-school programs and a very successful athletic program that enrich and round out our student’s educational experience.

GHS takes tremendous pride in the level of student participation in the wide scope of after-school activities. The mix of offerings is due to the sheer size of the community of teachers, staff and students. Currently, participation in clubs and after-school activities is close to 50% of the student body. Furthermore, over 70% of the students participate in sports throughout the year.

We share in the belief that our children lack sleep because of responsibilities due to academics, athletic and extracurricular activities, and possibly some biological reasons.

We believe, however, that negative consequences of a delayed start and thus, delayed dismissal time for GHS far outweigh its possible benefits. Moreover, we suggest:

1. BOE needs to learn before making a decision-Careful review and

2. Think out of the one solution box-Alternative solutions should be

3. Going to bed even later-Considerations should be made to the extent that by delaying any after school activity and sport, the completion of homework and a student’s bedtime is also pushed back into the late night.

Attachment A:

What are the potentially negative consequences to a delayed dismissal? And why?

Reduction in faculty advisors for after-school clubs and activities

● Approximately 1500 students participate in 140 after school activities at GHS.

● Teachers (paid and unpaid) are required to advise and manage major activities for students after school. There are currently 140 positions with some teachers advising more than one activity.

● We foresee a reduction in clubs and activities because of the significant drop in teachers who will be able to advise such extracurriculars with the addition of a delayed dismissal.

● Teachers that currently advise and manage GHS extracurriculars may find it necessary to leave school as soon as possible due to factors such as the longer commute time as traffic drastically increases after 2:30 pm.

● Some GHS teachers have already indicated that their involvement in student activities may not be possible if faced with a delayed dismissal.

Reduction in faculty coaches in the athletic program

● Currently, 36 GHS teachers are staffed as GHS coaches for 49 teams.

● The reduced number of faculty serving as coaches is potentially a major setback for the athletics at GHS.

● In the case of such teachers, they will not be able to leave their classrooms prior to dismissal in order to coach their team when team schedules require early departure.

● Without faculty coaches there will be fewer teams available for students to join.

● Faculty coaches are also an essential factor for a cohesive community of teachers and students.

Dramatic reduction in participation and development in Freshman and JV sport levels

● Staggering practice and game times are critical to the development of players during their four years and is the reason for the success of the high school athletic program.

● With later start times, coupled with limited playing fields, GHS athletics will be forced to reduce the amount of practices and games for Freshmen and JV sports.

● The quality training needed for sufficient development of the school’s athletes will thus be negatively impacted.

● The GHS community will become even more fragmented as many younger athletes decide not to engage or don’t have the opportunity to engage in high school sports.

Reduction in participation of student athletes

● A GHS athlete is an integral part of a team whether they are on a starting squad or a supportive bench.

● More and more students, especially those who play more supportive roles, will see the negative impact of missing school to meet athletic schedules.

● The depth of teams will be reduced as student athletes decide to forgo athletics out of concern for academics, for reasons such as missed classes due to early games.

● Athlete programs could potentially be in danger of cuts as participation dwindles.

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Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.07.22 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.07.30 PMFind GHS Families Against Late Dismissal on Facebook

See also:

Superintendent’s School Start Time Recs: I Will Not Be Here. Someone Else Will Have to Do It… I Have Hope

It’s Official: McKersie Got the Job in Weston. Search for Interim Begins in Greenwich.

GHS Freshman is Strong Voice at First School Start Time Input Session

Sleep Experts to Parents: Teen Sleep Deprivation is a Public Health Issue

Later School Start Times Jumpstart Student Achievement

Tesei to Board of Ed: Be Bold on School Start Time Change

Joe Siciliano: Change in School Start Time Would Impact Use of Fields by Parks & Rec, Travel Teams and Non-School Groups

American Sleep Association Calls for Later School Start Times

Later Start Start Time Advocates Press Board of Ed to Give SST Committee a Mandate 

Delayed GHS Start Time? Sleep Deprived-Students Nap While They Wait.

If Start Time Science is Acknowledged, Does Delay Til 2017 Leave District Legally Vulnerable?

Greenwich Schools Superintendent Start Time E.T.A: 2017-2018

BOE’s Sherr: Start Time Steering Committee Members Need to Be Honest Brokers

School Start Time Forum: Parents Decry Scare Tactics, Warn Against Putting Budget over Teen Health


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  • As a PR consultant, I have three questions in response to this post..

    1) Is this a true organization of parents banded together for the best interests of our children’s health? Or just a few opponents in a smoke and mirrors ploy to dissuade against Starting School Later? Hiding behind a organization name not registered as a 501c3…the oldest PR trick in the book?

    2) Where is the science?

    3) Why should after school sports schedules trump the health and safety of ALL of our teenagers? What official status or professional health and mental health experience does your group offer to counter act recommendations for a later school start time – 8:30 a.m.- by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics…and 31 pediatric health professionals in Greenwich that have endorsed a later start time.

  • Valerie

    What the CIAC says:
    The CIAC believes that high school students should have the opportunity to learn in an optimum learning environment. While some students succeed academically within the existing and traditional school day, research shows that switching to later school start times does create a more optimal learning environment and improves student achievement for high school athletes.

    High school sports and extra-curricular activities have been perceived barriers to later start times. It is the position of the CIAC that sports are an extremely important component of a high school student’s education. However, interscholastic athletic activities can continue to be offered, with appropriate accommodations, within any reasonable school day structure. The greatest impact on sports will be within the late fall sports season when daylight savings time ends. However, early school dismissal for fall sports teams may well be a reasonable accommodation and compromise for the benefit of more sustained learning opportunities over the duration of a full year.

    The CIAC will continue to offer student-athletes the same opportunities for sports participation as it has historically done regardless of individual school district decisions on school starting times. Further, it will strive to schedule its state tournaments in ways which will not interfere with classroom instruction. While it is not always possible to achieve, it is a goal of the CIAC Board of Control to schedule its activities so as to not interfere with “student time on task.”

    The CIAC believes that member schools should continue to promote their activities in a manner which will support sound efforts to enhance optimum learning opportunities. To do less would be to elevate high school athletics to an importance greater than that which is its true purpose. The CIAC believes that decisions that will advance excellence in interscholastic athletics and academics can be achieved without the exclusion of one for the other.

  • William L. Doyle

    This early dismissal is from the “book of bad ideas” . This is a waste of over 1 million dollars in bussing ! My son’s will be getting from sporting events at 11 pm . How about these parents be responsible and take children’s devices away at 9:30 pm and send them to bed. The people who are trying to jam this through are the people who did NOT test the soil before the currant construction disaster . If this late dismissal is a good idea now it will be in a few years.

  • John B.

    Excellent article on why we should not have later start times.
    Lets focus on a long term qualified Superintendent.