The Ken-Ton School District is starting its school day earlier, beginning next year. The move will keep kids in class for 25 minutes longer than before.
Quinton Chiavaroli wakes up early during the week but not by choice. “I like just getting school over with and leaving as early as I can.”
The 18-year-old's school day at Kenmore West High School starts at 8:12am. Next year, the first bell will ring at 7:45am.
Chiavaroli is a senior and doesn't have to worry about the change. But he knows plenty of students who will. “The kids aren't going to like it. I know kids are really tired in the morning. So they're not going to want to get up any earlier.”
According to the Kenmore-Tonawanda School District, the board extended the day so students would have more time and flexibility in their schedules. It also made the change to address some transportation issues. There will be more students to bus since taxpayers voted to lower the transportation eligibility limits.
"With the changes, start and end times in Ken-Ton schools and the length of the school day will be typical when compared to school districts throughout Erie County," said Patrick Fanelli, Community Relations Coordinator for the Ken-Ton School District.
Dr. Marc Frost is a sleep expert with DENT Neurologic Institute. He said even that half hour difference in the high school isn't a good idea.
“It can make a big difference. If you're really tired and you take a 25 minute nap, I'm sure you feel better from that. So it can actually be significant. Sleep's very important and these days none of the children are getting the right amount of sleep.”
Parents are also concerned about the longer school days. The National Sleep Foundation found teenagers need 11 hours of sleep each night. If a student is waking up to get ready at 6:30am and starting class at 7:45am, that would mean the teen would need to be in bed by 7:30pm the night before.
Elementary students will start later. Previously, the seven elementary schools started between 7:40am and 9:00am. Next year, all will start at 9:05am.
Frost said that's a good thing. He wishes the board allowed the high school students to follow suit.
You can find the school board's full reasoning behind the change in start times here.