The debate over school start times has been an ongoing issue for a while, and difficult issues require creative solutions. On July 13, 2022, the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville got approved to integrate a weekly 2-hour delay into the school schedule.
The district has deemed these as W.E.L.L. Wednesdays. While the students are getting some extra rest, the district is using this time as the perfect opportunity to provide staff with professional development.
According to the Martinsville school board minutes, the staff seemed all in for the delays with a majority vote of 88%, but the overall community was a little less sure with only 57% in favor. A later start time could cause childcare issues for parents with dependent kids. This could also cause transportation issues for kids who are dropped off at school. These are all things that the district took into account when making their decision.
Of course, there are some benefits to W.E.L.L. Wednesdays along with the concerns. Students who find themselves busy with a job, extracurricular activities, or homework have an opportunity to adjust their sleep schedule. Teachers have opportunities for collaboration and training. A student from MHS, Drew Nesbit, explained how she appreciates this new change for the Artesians. “W.E.L.L. Wednesdays give students the opportunity to go out and socialize with their friends before school, which sets a positive mood for the entire day.”
This new schedule could help students academically as well. With the delayed start time, students are more awake and ready to learn. When teens are continuously waking up at an early hour, they progressively get more tired. So giving the students one day of extra sleep helps tremendously.
W.E.L.L. Wednesdays are not only helping students but the staff as well. MHS teachers are having meetings and getting extra time to get their curriculum ready. This also gives them more time to connect with one another.
Some students just can’t find the motivation to get up bright and early every day of the week. Adding this delayed day can help them find some motivation. If they know that they just have to go two days of waking up early and then have a sleep-in day, it may help them power through.
W.E.L.L. Wednesdays are a very positive thing for MHS. With the few disadvantages and many benefits, students and teachers are very pleased with this new change. Now all that is left is to see how this plays out for the remainder of this school year and see if they choose to continue it in the future.