IPAC School Start Times Committee

Co-Chairs Deanna Bouton (Parent) and Anthony Malizia (NHS Assistant Principal)

During the 2018-19 school year, the Start Times Committee will work with stakeholders, including principals and the Athletic and Music and Transportation Departments to identify potential options for later start times in Niskayuna. The committee will engage parents, teachers and students, and report to the Board of Education by the spring of 2019.

The issue of high school start times and the importance of sleep for the physical and mental well-being of teenagers has been widely researched and discussed in communities across the country. During 2017-18 IPAC’s School Start Times Subcommittee reviewed existing research and Niskayuna High School-specific data as part of its work.

In a presentation to the Board in June 2018, the committee noted that while eight to ten hours of sleep per night are generally recommended for teenagers, 72 percent of Niskayuna High School students surveyed for an AP English research project this year are getting less than seven hours.

The high school currently starts at 7:40 a.m. and buses pick up many students well before 7 a.m. Schools that have made their start time later have seen academic achievement, mental health, behavioral and attendance benefits for students.

The subcommittee identified obstacles or challenges to implementing a later start time, including the district’s bus schedule structure for all three levels, the impact on the high school schedule and the implications for sports and music. (Middle school students currently have band and orchestra at the high school at 7:30 a.m.)