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New Jersey Solicits Community Input on Later Middle, High School Start Times

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State education officials in New Jersey are holding a series of meetings this month to discuss implementing later start times for middle and high school students.

The state legislature passed a law last year calling on the New Jersey Department of Education to explore the issue in depth.

The second of three meetings is set for Wednesday to allow the department to hear from parents, educators, students, and other members of the community. Department leaders want to know how a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would affect these various groups.

School leaders will gather the public testimony given at these meetings and consider incorporating it into a report the department will submit to the governor and the legislature. That report will include a recommendation on whether to establish a pilot program to test later school start times.

A growing number of  school districts across the country have implemented later school start times following a 2014 recommendation by the National Academy of Pediatrics that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to better align with the natural body rhythms of adolescents.

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