While it seems like a lifetime ago, it was only last year when school often started at daybreak with stars still visible in the sky. Sleepy students drifted into school and tardies were a common issue that we discussed regularly. Each morning when I greeted students, my exuberant "good mornings," were often often met with a head nod or grunt in response.
We announced that we would change our start time to 8:30 a.m. just one year ago. One year later, students are no longer rubbing their eyes or shaking the cobwebs out of their groggy heads. It was quickly apparent that a move from our 7:30 a.m. start time, as it had been since we opened our doors 20 years ago, has had a significant impact on student performance and engagement. Teachers report, and we have noticed, from our morning greetings to our afternoon goodbyes, significant improvement in positive energy, greater interaction with peers and teachers, and more focused attention, curiosity, and creativity with regards to learning. In a survey conducted earlier this year, students enthusiastically expressed support for the new start time. They believe they are more productive throughout the day and teachers report significant improvement in student engagement.
It is therefore no surprise that states from California to Michigan are considering the FJA model! Just one of the significant changes and innovations we have made to improve healthy student growth, development, and engagement. While this change may have required some adjustment to logistics, like carpools and schedules, by parents and faculty, the overall impact is positive on our students and the FJA community.
Thank you to the administrators, students, faculty, and parents who helped us make this change a reality. We look forward to your continued partnership in creating the best educational environment for our students.