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School start time debate set for Tuesday

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By Wren Propp

Changing the start times for students in Los Alamos Public Schools will be debated Tuesday at a meeting of the school board.

Students, parents, staff and community members have been talking about whether starting later – to help students get more and better sleep – should be put in place next school year.

The board is scheduled to take action on Tuesday at its 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Administrative Board Room, 2075 Trinity Drive.

New Mexico First, a public policy think tank, was hired by the district to study the issue. A white paper, a myriad of community discussions, alternative proposals, and a final position paper have been produced to look at the issue. The final paper is available on the school district’s website.

A few school districts in New Mexico and others throughout the country have adopted later start times to address a lack of sleep on the part of students, according to the study.

Recent research has shown that older teenagers have a different sleep cycle than younger children and older adults. The “deep” part of older teenagers’ sleep cycle, needed for regenerative rest, starts later, according to the studies.

Representatives of New Mexico First told the board at its work session Nov. 30 that the community was equally split on the issue.


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