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Dear CR Families–

Since 2017, CR Administration has been closely examining potential changes to our high school schedule to better meet both the academic and overall wellness needs of adolescent learners. In addition, our new Strategic Plan calls for exploration and consideration of a later start time for our high school students. Even though the potential start time change under consideration is primarily for grades 9-12, it is important for all CR families to follow the conversation as a change at the high school level would likely have an impact on middle and elementary start times.

There has been a good deal of work that has occurred around our potential high school schedule change and modified start time that I want to make sure you know about. At the November 2017 Academic Standards Committee meeting, Council Rock Director of Student Services, Dr. Chuck Lambert, Director of Special Services, publicly presented research on adolescent sleep, health, and school start times. In doing so, he shared compelling data on why a later school start time, specifically for teens, is both scientifically and educationally advisable. I invite you to view or review Dr. Lambert’s November 2017 School Start Time presentation, which provides a solid basis for understanding.

In July 2018, a High School Schedule Committee, comprised of Board representation, teachers, students, parents, and principals, began working with Dr. Michael Rettig, a well-known school scheduling expert. Focusing on the high school schedule, the Committee and Dr. Rettig discussed ways to provide our 9-12th grade students with more opportunities to take courses reflective of their interests, passions, and aspirations. They also discussed how to strategically incorporate academic interventions into the high school day. Representatives of the Committee presented their extensive work and recommendation to the Board at the February 2019 Academic Standards Committee Meeting. They also presented a projected timeline for high school schedule changes at the May 2019 Academic Standards Committee. I invite you to view each of the presentations from these meetings, as they provide a wealth of information.

In addition to viewing the above meeting presentations, please mark your calendar for Thursday, October 24, 2019. On this evening at a meeting of the Education Committee, Dr. Jackie Kloss, a leading expert on the topic of adolescent sleep, will present relevant information regarding adolescent sleep, health, and school start times.

Also important to note is that both a change in school start times and a revision to the high school schedule will appear again as a topic of discussion at the November 21, 2019 Education Committee meeting, when Council Rock Director of Business Administration, Mr. Bill Stone, will present long-term financial analysis for both a change in school start times and a change to the high school schedule.   

As indicated in our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, I am committed to keeping issues related to student wellness at the top of our work. With that in mind, I encourage all CR parents to stay closely connected to our school schedule start time topics of discussion. Ms. Susan O’Grady, CR Community Relations Specialist, will continually send out reminders regarding upcoming meetings that include high school schedule changes and school start time discussions. She will also post all related presentations to a designated area on the Council Rock Website.

Thank you-
Dr. Robert Fraser
Superintendent of Schools