Last year was a disaster for our family with regard to getting four children to three different schools on time and then making it to work on time. We had one child in PreK in Gretna, one child in Kindergarten in Metairie, and two more at a charter school uptown for fifth and sixth grade. I often had to race through traffic, learn back roads, and pray to the red-light Gods that I’d make it everywhere and still find a parking spot in the garage at work. Sometimes I’d even drop my youngest with another family to wait for the bus or gates to open so I’d have a better chance of making it uptown on time; something I never in a million years thought I’d ever do. The timing was impossible.
Time for a Change
Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) states on their website that the reason for the change was based on both parent feedback and scientific research. After a few quick internet searches, it’s evident that, while not all studies agree, the consensus seems to be that particularly during adolescence, children benefit from later school start times. What JPPSS did was adjust the timing so that elementary schools begin first, then middle and finally high school will start (and end) later. The adjustment to school hours aligns more closely with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance on middle and high school start times. JPPSS also indicates that based on parent feedback, the new times will better support working parents of elementary-aged children.
Not a One-Size-Fits-All
I’ve heard a LOT of chatter on this topic, particularly from families that this change will NOT work for. I’m just not one of them. This change allows me to get all four children where they need to go and puts me at my desk with a hot cup of coffee at a reasonable hour. I will have two in elementary school in JPPSS who can take the bus to school and still have plenty of time to drop the two in middle school Uptown with time to spare. My girls are up with the dawn, so the earlier start time for them will likely be welcome. We ADORE our aftercare provider so they will love spending just a little more time with them when necessary. If I’m getting to work early, I can leave earlier and pick them up earlier. The adjusted start times mean I can get dinner on the table and we can eat before 7 pm. The time change means we can finally feed the kids between school and after-school activities. For my family, this works. It not only works, but it’s awesome (so I’m sorry but I can’t sign your petition).
Um…good for you?
My 4 yr old will start Pre-K this year and the time change works for me as well. The earlier start time means that even on days I’m not able to drop her off, I can still get her ready and make it easier for dad to drop her off. I understand the parents that rely on their older kids to take care of the younger ones and I do feel for them. I’ve always thought that elementary children getting home at around 4/4:30 seemed a bit late. I was dreading about how to balance dinner, homework, and an 8 o’clock bedtime. I know thinking about homework was a bit premature, but it was something I saw my niece struggle with. Even with help, she would work on her homework after dinner and finish around 11 most nights. An earlier release time might’ve allowed her the time to work on homework and still get to bed at a reasonable time.