Noblesville superintendent considers changing school start times

Emotions flared at public forum Monday

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - A public forum on a possible change to the start time for classes in Noblesville drew emotions and accusations from parents Monday evening.

Noblesville Schools Superintendent Libbie Conner is considering changing the time of the morning bell for the district’s 9,800 students.

Conner is considering making the start time for middle and high school students more than an hour later and bringing in the elementary students about 40 minutes earlier.

The idea stems from concerns of high school staff who said they’ve noticed students’ lack of energy and alertness, especially during the first class of the day.

"As educators, we're always focused on teaching and learning. Our job is to maximize teaching and learning to the greatest extent possible for the students," Conner said.

A committee of parents and teachers has researched the issue. They found the teens aren’t getting enough sleep which often results in tardiness, difficulty concentrating and depression.

Many parents argued that a change in start times would affect child care before and after school, athletic schedules and jobs.

One parent of a high school student argued the district has undergone too many changes.

"What's affected his education is the iPads. They put in iPads last year. They put in balanced calendars last year. Now, they want to do start time changes. All of these changes are adding up, and Noblesville is falling short," parent Leah Knight said.

Conner said she plans to make a decision on whether to change the start times in two weeks.

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