Tecumseh to start school day later in the fall

Tecumseh Local Schools will have a 30 minute later start and end time for the 2020-2021 school year. This is second grade teacher Heidi Kottmyer as she helped her students in her class at the end of last year at Donnelsville Elementary. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Tecumseh Local Schools will have a 30 minute later start and end time for the 2020-2021 school year. This is second grade teacher Heidi Kottmyer as she helped her students in her class at the end of last year at Donnelsville Elementary. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Tecumseh Local Schools will start and end at a later time starting in the 2020-21 academic year, according to the district superintendent.

Schools will start and end 30 minutes later, Superintendent Paula Crew announced. The high school and middle school will shift from 7:15 a.m. to starting at 7:45 a.m. with dismiss at 2:45 p.m. and the elementary schools will shift from 8:40 to beginning at 9:10 a.m. with dismiss at 3:30 p.m.

“We have researched arrival times for our student’s district-wide over the past several years,” she said. “We strive to make decisions based on what is best for our students and we fully believe this in such a decision.”

Crew noted “the 30 minute later start time will not have a major impact on athletes in the district, which was one of the reservations in making the change previously.”

Crew said Tecumseh high and middle schools have the earliest start times of schools in Clark County. She said it’s important to give Tecumseh students the same opportunity.

Compared to other districts, the high schools in Springfield City Schools, Clark-Shawnee Local Schools and Greenon Local Schools all start at 7:30 a.m. However, Springfield’s middle schools start between 8:45 and 9 a.m., but Clark-Shawnee and Greenon’s start at 7:30 a.m.

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“There is an abundance of research that supports students starting later in the day. Specifically, the research tells us a later start time provides students with the opportunity to be more alert and engaged in class, improve attendance and tardiness, and often times increase in their overall grades and learning,” she said.

According to a local pediatrician, both high school and middle school students can benefit from later start times.

“High school students see the most benefit from later school starting times, but middle schools see improvements too,” said Dr. Jene Bramel of Mercy Health - Urbana Hopsital Family Medicine and Pediatrics. “Studies on later school start times show teenagers get more sleep, are more likely to eat breakfast, attend school more often, fall asleep in class less often, are less likely to suffer from depressed moods and do better in school.”

Bramel said most teens have a hard time falling asleep early, which can cause behavioral and health problems.

“Most teenagers struggle to fall asleep before 10 or 11 p.m. There are biological reasons for this, but homework, extracurricular activities and jobs also play a role in pushing back bedtimes. Starting school before 8 a.m. keeps teenagers from regularly getting the recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night,” Bramel said. “Lack of sleep affects mood and focus, which in turn leads to behavioral health problems like depression and anxiety.”

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Although times for Tecumseh students are changing, the Springfield-Clark CTC will have the same times as last year - starting at 7:45 a.m. and ending at 2:16 p.m.

“We will provide transportation from Tecumseh High School to CTC as in the past. In addition, we will have satellite bus stops located throughout the district to bring students attending CTC to the high school,” Crew said.