School start time forums planned; feedback welcome 

Fayetteville-Manlius parents and guardians will have several upcoming opportunities to learn about, and provide feedback on, the school district’s initiative to investigate changing its schools’ start times.  

In spring 2019, the F-M Board of Education tasked Daniel Lewin of the Children’s National Health System, which specializes in a range of pediatric services and research, including sleep as it relates to school start times, and his colleagues to explore the potential benefits and challenges of changing F-M’s school start times so that high school students start classes later.

Research has shown that biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence, meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11 p.m., according to the National Sleep Foundation. And teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night to function their best, according to the foundation. 

“We know what the research says,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “Our study has been focused on whether a change like this is right for our district and community.”

Lewin and his colleagues shared a report with the district based on 34 interviews and group discussions with a number of district stakeholders—including students, staff, parents and board members. In fall 2019, they conducted an online survey to gather more feedback and shared a report of those findings with the district. 

Forums that had been planned for spring 2020 to review their findings and solicit more input were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The forums will take place next week, and parents and guardians can register for any of the three virtual meetings to be held via Zoom:

  • Oct. 26: 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 28: 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 30: 11 a.m.

    After registering, a confirmation email will be sent containing information about how to join the meeting.

    The meetings will be recorded and uploaded to F-M’s YouTube channel for anyone who doesn’t get the opportunity to participate. In addition, the district is opening its Let’s Talk! online communication platform so parents and guardians can submit feedback on this topic directly to the district.