ESC considers later school start time, Culture of Care expands to teachers, Harmas says


Student body president Tim Metken works on homework in the Carmel Café. Metken said he doesn’t think potential plans for a later school start time would be beneficial to students because of extracurricular activities.

Carson TerBush

The (ESC) is currently considering the logistics of a later start time for CHS in the future, according to Principal Tom Harmas. Harmas also said the Culture of Care, an immersive mental health project administration implemented this year, is expanding to help CHS staff members get to know each other better.

Harmas said plans for a later start time are still in early research stages and ESC will make the final decision. He said the plan they are considering now involves swapping the bus times of high school students with that of elementary students to start school at 8 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m., but he said there is no guarantee this plan—or any plan—will be implemented.

“Last week we surveyed our teachers at Coffee with the Principal pertaining to the pros and cons of a later start for high school and middle school,” Harmas said. “That information was shared with ESC because I want to get opinions on before they make any decision on whether we start later or not. All this is is information-gathering, and all those decisions will be made at ESC.”

Harmas said he thinks a later start time would benefit students.

“I think that most of the research says that if our kids get a bit more sleep, they’re going to do a little bit better at school. I think it would give teachers some more time in the morning to meet if they needed to,” Harmas said. “We have to be able to work out the logistics, but if we keep our eye on what’s best for kids, it’s kind of hard to argue (with a later start time).”

However, student body president Tim Metken said he thinks a later start and end time to the school day could be detrimental to those students who have extracurricular activities after school.

“Personally, I’m not a fan (of the later start time). As someone who has had practice after school, it’s just going to push that later in the evening. Let’s say school was pushed back half an hour; I could see very easily activities happening before school (instead), so the idea of getting more sleep just really wouldn’t happen,” Metken said. “I’m open to figuring out a way where we start later and then eliminate wasted time in the day, still ending at 3:05, but I wouldn’t want the end of the day to be pushed back.”

Harmas said the Culture of Care project, which has so far this year led to events including Mental Health Night, the Teen Lures presentation and “Say My Name” activities in SRT, is now moving on to helping teachers get to know each other better.

“Because we have a big staff, a lot of people don’t know each other, so how can we get them to know one another? A couple of the ideas are clubs—adult clubs, which would be kind of fun. Also the idea of having pitch-ins across department lines and so forth; (Karen McDaniel) has a list of about 20 different things that her committee might want to do,” Harmas said. By Carson TerBush