School community to debate later start times

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By Wren Propp

The time school should start for teens and pre-teens will be under scrutiny in Los Alamos with several discussion-based events planned for the public school community over the next two weeks.

Representatives of New Mexico First, a public policy think-tank, will ask – in a variety of forums – whether Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Middle School students should come to school later.

The comment gathering will culminate in findings released at the school board meeting Oct. 26, according to documents provided by the Los Alamos School District.

Why change start times?

The question has been gathering momentum in public school communities following research showing sleep patterns for young adults and teens are somewhat different than younger children and older adults.

New Mexico First has offered a White Paper, which summarizes the issue, compiles cases of start time changes in other school districts, and focuses on the demographics of Los Alamos and how they might impact changing start times at the high school and middle school.

New Mexico First was paid $29,500 for the project by the school district.

The paper also delves into recent findings about the biology of sleep, as well as findings from a Start Time Working Group organized at Los Alamos High School earlier this spring.

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