OJR School Start Times & Student Sleep Health

Overview

  • 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 (OJR) 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, town halls and other meetings. As part of this process, OJR and the community have pursued 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.

    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. 

Background Information & History

  • Starting in September 2022, the committee reviewed research and survey findings, discussed benefits and challenges, as well as looked at costs and other factors with the goal of developing a formal recommendation on school start times to present to the greater community. As part of the ongoing review of all information, OJR hosted a School Community Forum  and presented background information, research and options to the public, and discussed challenges and questions identified by the committee. In addition, we also listened to subject-matter experts, neighboring school districts that adjusted their school start times, and discussed community feedback and questions as part of our evaluation process.

    Ultimately, in November 2022, Superintendent Will Stout made a formal recommendation to the school board that our district would continue using its current school start time schedule and not proceed with any changes to school start times for the 2023-2024 school year. While the superintendent believed that later school start times are in the best interest of OJR secondary school students, he cited the district’s operational logistics and staffing needs as significant reasons why OJR could not pursue schedule changes.

    While Dr. Stout acknowledged OJR faced a severe shortage of bus drivers at the time and that any proposed school start time change would require additional drivers, he also shared with the community his intention to continue pursuing a path toward later school start times for students as the district prioritized addressing our bus driver shortages.

    One year later, at the November 13, 2023 Working Session of the Board of School Directors, the OJR Transportation Department provided an update on school bus driver staffing. During the meeting, it was announced that as a result of recruitment efforts, OJR is now fully-staffed with 90 buses with full-time drivers, 3 full-time office staff, and 1 full-time lot mechanic. In addition, the budget allows for 4 additional buses which will be added on January 2, 2024. The addition of 4 buses to OJR's service fleet will help to reduce ride times for students, help to reduce load counts on our buses, and enable buses to arrive earlier to the Elementary School Line-Up - making for a smoother, quicker dismissal.

    During the November 13 meeting, the superintendent shared the school district will revisit the topic of school start times in early 2024 and will present a formal recommendation to the School Board for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.

Meeting Schedule/Timeline

  • Upcoming Meetings*

    OJR School Board Meeting

    Monday, January 2, 2024, 6:00 p.m.

    OJR High School - LGI Room

    Purpose: The OJR Board of School Directors will consider the administrative recommendation to adjust school start times for the 2024-2025 school year and potentially vote on implementing the recommendation.

     

    Past Meetings

     

    OJR School Board Working Session

    Monday, January 8, 2024, 6:00 p.m.

    OJR High School - LGI Room

    Purpose: An updated recommendation to proceed or not proceed with an adjustment to school start times for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond will be presented to the OJR Board of School Directors.   

     

    School Start Time Planning Committee Meeting

    Tuesday, January 2, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

    Virtual/Online

    Purpose: Review past information (also available on this website), discuss the latest updates, evaluate benefits and challenges, move forward with a recommendation to the OJR Board of School Directors.

     

    School Start Time Planning Committee Meeting

    Thursday, September 22, 2022, 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 Planning Committee Meeting

    Thursday, September 22, 2022, 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, 2022, 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, 2022, 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 Working Session

    Date – Monday, November 14, 2022, 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.

Agendas, Minutes & Presentations

Wake Up and Learn

  • Recognizing the extent to which sleep impacts overall wellbeing, OJR recently partnered with Geisinger Medical Center to provide the innovative Wake Up and Learn program to our students. Click here to learn more.

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Additional Resources

The Impact of School Start Times on OJR Students