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Portsmouth School Board Discusses Later Start Times for High School Students

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Portsmouth School Board held a public hearing last night on whether to push back the start of the school day for middle and high schoolers next year.

Among the roughly 60 parents and teachers who attended last night's meeting, there was broad agreement that a later start time could benefit students. A growing body of research suggests later start times can help teens get more sleep and be more productive during the school day.

Portsmouth superintendent Steve Zadravec outlined two proposals to push middle and high school start times back by an hour.

“We do believe there are ways to mitigate some of the concern that people had around loss of homework time or loss of time for students to meet all of their academic requirements.”

The proposals include adding school busses and could cost the district estimates of either $150,000 or $250,000.

The school board plans to vote on the issue by the end of the month. If approved, Portsmouth would be the second school district in the state to push back start times for middle and high schoolers.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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