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It can be tough getting out of bed in the morning, especially for young students. 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends school-aged children get between nine and 11 hours of sleep each night. For teens, that number is 8 to 10. Now, Shelby-Rising City Public Schools is taking steps to help.

Currently, school begins at 8:10 a.m, but starting in the 2019-2020 school year it will pushed back to 8:30 a.m. The decision was officially approved by the district’s Board of Education at its March 11 meeting.

Superintendent Chip Kay said the goal isn’t just to give students more time sleep in. The school will expand its breakfast program, allow for students to visit the library before school begins and potentially take part in a mentoring program.

“Now if they have more things that they need (to do), they’ll have more time,” Kay said.“It gives (teachers) some additional opportunities to get with students ... Having these supports in the morning, we hope will get students involved in extracurricular activities after school.”

A pubic forum was held before the vote in order to receive feedback from the community. Kay said the district received no negative feedback regarding the idea and that the vote from school teachers was unanimous - 41 in favor and 0 against.

With the new start time, Kay said minor adjustments will be made so students will only get home 10 minutes later than now. Bus routes will be adjusted accordingly with the new changes.

The new morning schedule will also allow school faculty an opportunity for training. Teachers will take part in PLC, or Professional Learning Community, meetings from 8-8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Shelby-Rising City High School English Teacher Lauren Rabourn said the meetings will allow educators a chance to receive support and feedback from one another. These groups will be organized by teaching subject matter and grade level. Rabourn said the idea has been talked about for sometime and is glad to see it implemented this way. 

“It just seemed better to assign that time during our contract time and make it a part of our day so there's no excuse to not have those meetings,” Rabourn said about the PLC time. “We’re there to hold each other accountable and share those ideas … Just supporting one another and having that honest dialogue about which changes need to be made.”

As for pupils, Rabourn said they will certainly appreciate the chance to sleep in a little bit longer.

“I think it’s great, pushing that start time back to 8:30 a.m.,” Rabourn said. “I think they'll be excited.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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