OJR School Start Time & Student Sleep Health

Update from Dr. Stout for 2023-2024 School Year

  • Dear OJRSD Community, 

    Over the last few months our school district has pursued the opportunity to re-evaluate the needs of our students, explore best practices that support classroom-learning environments and develop strategies that foster greater academic achievement from students. As you may already be aware, one of our most critical topics of discussion in the wake of COVID-19 was school start times. 

    From the onset of these community discussions my preference was, and remains, to make a recommendation to the Board of School Directors prior to the end of the year. After careful consideration, on Monday, November 14, I plan to recommend to our School Board that Owen J. Roberts School District continue using its current school start time schedule and not proceed with any changes to school start times for the 2023-2024 school year.

    Making this recommendation does not come without difficulty. One of my top priorities as superintendent is to address the academic welfare and health of our students. After thoroughly researching a later school start time for adolescent students, talking to sleep science experts and other superintendents, as well as witnessing the benefit of changing start times first-hand, I still firmly believe that later school start times are in the best interest of OJR secondary school students. 

    However, before making any recommendation to change school start times, I must first take the district’s operational logistics and staffing needs into consideration. Like many school districts, OJR faces a severe shortage of bus drivers. Any proposed school start time change will require an additional 5 to 7 bus drivers, on top of current recruitment efforts to address existing driver shortages. I simply cannot in good conscience start our district down a path to later school start times without knowing we have the transportation staff in place to ensure we are able to deliver on the promise of better student outcomes. To invest valuable time and resources into changing school times, without first addressing driver shortages, is irresponsible to the families we serve and to our students.

    I want to be upfront with the community by letting you know that I also plan to share with the School Board my desire to continue pursuing a path toward later school start times for our students. As part of those ongoing efforts, OJR’s leadership team will prioritize addressing our bus driver shortages, and should we address that challenge, we will then re-visit adjusting school start times to better support student achievement, as well as support improved student health outcomes. In addition, I also want to let families know that in the near future we will share information about community resources designed to help families monitor and improve the amount of sleep students receive.

    Thank you once again for your patience, feedback and participation in this important process. I want to especially thank the students, parents, staff, and community members who served on the school start time committee and assisted us in this valuable work. I’ve heard from many constituents, on both sides of this issue, and I appreciate the time you took to communicate with us via email or by attending our recent public meetings. Your insight is incredibly valuable to me in my role as superintendent.

    I look forward to your ongoing partnership and support of our students as we continue to enjoy an amazing school year. 




    Dr. Will Stout


    Owen J. Roberts School District

    Comments (-1)


  • Welcome to Owen J. Roberts School District’s web portal containing valuable resources related to school start times and student sleep health.

    Owen J. Roberts has conducted extensive research focused on school start times and student sleep health, as well as solicited multiple rounds of feedback on the subject from students, families, staff and the community in the form of surveys, presentations and meetings. Now, OJR and the community have an invaluable opportunity to re-evaluate the needs of our students and develop best practices that effectively support classroom learning environments and foster greater academic achievement.

    Beginning September 2022, the OJR School Start Time Planning Committee will review research and survey findings, discuss benefits and challenges, as well as look at costs and other factors with the goal of developing a formal recommendation on school start times to present to the greater community.

    Here you will find an overview of the Start Time Planning Committee, research and expertise that’s driven our community discussions, factors that will be taken into consideration and better understand the timeline for upcoming recommendations and next steps. 

    If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us – community@ojrsd.net.

Committee Scope and Purpose

  • The School Start Time Planning Committee includes members of the OJR Board of School Directors, teachers, administrators, parents, community members and student representatives. The main focus of the Committee is to assist the OJR administration and School Board in determining the best path forward on the subject of school start times for students. Members are expected to provide feedback on the final recommendation for consideration by the School Board. 

Meeting Schedule/Timeline

  • Meeting Schedule/Timeline

    School Start Time Planning Committee Meeting

    Thursday, September 22, 6:00 p.m.

    OJR High School – LGI Room

    Purpose: Review past information (also available on this website), evaluate benefits and challenges, help formulate focus areas and anticipate questions for a community forum.

    School Start Time Community Forum

    Thursday, October 6, 6:00 p.m.

    OJR Middle School – LGI Room

    Purpose: Present background information, research and options to the public, discuss challenges and questions identified by the committee. Listen to subject matter experts, including subject matter experts and neighboring school districts that adjusted their school start times. Listen to community feedback and questions.

    School Start Time Planning Committee Meeting

    Thursday, October 20, 6:00 p.m.

    OJR High School – LGI Room  

    Purpose: Review committee and community questions, including those from the forum, and develop materials to address any questions or clarify areas of uncertainty. Develop a recommendation and proposal regarding school start times – including a final recommendation on whether or not to move forward with any adjustments or modifications. 

    OJR School Board Work Session

    Date – Monday, November 14, 6:00 p.m.

    Location - OJR High School – LGI Room

    Purpose: A final recommendation to proceed or not proceed with an adjustment to school start times will be presented to the OJR Board of School Directors. 

    OJR School Board Meeting

    Date - Monday, November 28, 2022

    Location - OJR High School - LGI Room

    Purpose: The OJR School Board will have the opportunity to vote on the final recommendation.

    Future Meetings – TBD

    Depending on the final recommendations of the School Start Time Committee and the final decision of the OJR School Board, future community meetings may be scheduled in 2023.

Additional Resources

Agendas, Minutes & Presentations

The Impact of School Start Times on OJR Students