Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - June 10, 2011

A later start for Gunn

Our hats are off to Gunn High School Principal Katya Villalobos, who announced last week that morning classes will begin at 8:25, 30 minutes later than the historic 7:55 start time.

In her message to parents, Villalobos noted that "... 30 to 40 minutes of extra sleep has many advantages, particularly around more focus and less fatigue."

We agree, as did numerous parents who commented on the change in the Weekly's Town Square forum following the announcement, particularly those who have been pushing the district to take more actions that can help reduce student stress at the school.

The new start time also could lead to reduced stress for students and parents who will be able to make the drive to school later, after commute traffic has eased on Arastradero Road. The change also will be welcomed by other motorists who use this crowded corridor.

The later start time is already in place at Palo Alto High, which made the switch last fall and also instituted a new block schedule, which is very popular. Some Gunn parents and students had hoped to see a similar block schedule announcement accompany the move to an earlier start time, but Gunn officials decided to stay with their current, modified block schedule for the coming year.

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