Shelly Stone 0

KMS and RMS Merger: A letter of parental concerns

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Please, if you share concerns about the upcoming KMS/RMS merger, sign the petition to have your voice heard. A letter has been created, all we need is to show the administration that other parents share these concerns. I know many of you are frustrated or feel defeated because we are used to being ignored. Time and effort has been put into documenting our concerns and opposition, all we need now are signatures of parents who share our concern. If you agree with the letter that follows, please sign. Thank you!

To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to submit my concerns, again, at this time. It has recently come to my attention that you are under the impression that RMS parents are not concerned about the impending school merger. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I am incredibly concerned about the merger. I have talked to multiple parents and they have expressed many of the same feelings I am having. These feelings include: it is a waste of time to voice concerns because no one cares; our opinions are not taken seriously because the decision has already been decided; and any change that could happen at this point would require an ‘act of Congress’. Hearing these comments and witnessing this hopelessness is very concerning to me and others. My number one concern is the unbalanced scheduling that clearly gives KMS students a huge advantage to current RMS students. Allowing one set of students 10-15 extra hours of sleep over another group that is sharing the same space is extremely unfair. It is recommended for tweens and teens to get 9+ hours of sleep every night for healthy development. The CDC, American Association for Pediatrics, and the Mayo Clinic all agree on this fact.
( Please click on links below for more detailed information.) ● ● mmends-Delaying-Start-Times-of-Middle-and-High-Schools-to-Combat-Teen-Sleep-Depriva tion.aspx ● 046157 ●

It is a well-documented fact that starting with the onset of puberty, a child’s hormonal fluctuations change their natural circadian rhythm and it delays the rise in melatonin much later in the evening, closer to 10 pm. This is a biological unchallenged fact that parents cannot fight. Our current school schedule for the 62% of RMS students that travel from the Courtney/McT area has students getting on the bus between 5:50 AM and 6:20 AM. A conservative estimate is that these kids are put to bed at 9 and fall asleep close to 10. With a wake up time between 5 and 6 to catch the bus, our students are only getting 7-8 hours; again, this is conservatively speaking. I would like to preface my next point with the fact that I do know that a small percentage of KMS students travel as long on busses as the majority of RMS students. The majority of KMS students live very close in proximity to Kadena. Even with a 7:15 start time, they are allowed their 9-10 hours because of the short commute times. By blessing the KMS students with an 8:50 start time you are gifting them 10-15 hours a week extra sleep over the majority of RMS students. This would lead to greater percentages of sleep deprivation for RMS studentscompared to their KMS counterparts. The effects of sleep deprivation are very real and concerning.
They include: ❖ Lower grades due to profoundly impaired learning capabilities ❖ Poor concentration ❖ Mood Swings ❖ Increased agitation ❖ Overeating and obesity ❖ Increased use of caffeine and other stimulants ❖ Increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation ❖ Decreased athletic and motor skills ❖ Elevated blood pressure ❖ Increased likelihood of physical, psychological, or social difficulties
References for effect of sleep deprivation. ● ● ●

As you can see, these are very real and very disconcerting realities of sleep deprivation. It's unfair to put either group of students at such a large disadvantage and expect them to perform equally in the same setting. By putting the majority of students who travel the longest at the earlier time you are making the gap much larger than it needs to be. There has been a big push stateside for later start times for our adolescents. ● The results of later start times have been astoundingly positive. ● nts ● ● Final4-14-14.pdf Sleep deprivation is a real problem, with real consequences.
It is completely unfair to mindfully put one set of students at such a large disadvantage over another set. Both sets of students should be allowed to get the same amount of sleep. This could be accomplished by putting the RMS students at a later start time. Although it is not ideal, it is at least closer to equal than the current proposed plan. My next concern is the cancelling of seminar. Seminar is such a gift and helps so many students. The access to teachers for extra help ensures that learning occurs even when the subject is difficult. With the long commutes and evening sports, seminar is absolutely vital.I am also concerned about the proposal to separate the band programs. According to an email that I received from Mr. Knowles, band performances would be cancelled unless we can unite as one band. From earlier communications from Mr. Knowles, he and the KMS band teacher were excited to combine the bands and thereby increase student attention on a more personal level. This would of course help each band student to become a better musician. However, from the latest communication from the school administration, this does not seem possible. That is a shame. My greatest desire is for the students from KMS to be fully absorbed into Lester and RMS. That would alleviate separate start times, separate bands, separate PTO fundraisers, separate dances, and separate field days. One of the best parts of school is to be a part of a united team that is bigger than yourself. I am concerned that school spirit and competition within the same building would distract from the main purpose of school; their education. This is especially true when one set of students is functioning on severe sleep deprivation and the other set is functioning with more than enough. I have other concerns/questions that are on the peripheral. These are separate from the main concerns stated above but do impact the environment inside the school. They include: RMS has a school store, would HaBooster’s be sharing space with KMS PTO? Will awards ceremonies and other functions coexist or be separate? I know that on days that school functions take place it is disruptive to the students in class. Will we have twice as many disruptive days? Will bells be ringing and students shuffling through hallways during Terra Nova testing? Or will all the students be on the same schedule for those days? Will after school clubs and activity busses be available for both sets of students? As you can imagine, these are smaller concerns that I have that are ultimately influenced by the larger decision of how to merge RMS and KMS within one building. I hope that I have clearly communicated my concerns. I know that this is not an easy undertaking for any of you. I do take into consideration that the KMS students must go somewhere. I also understand that there is not a 100% perfect solution that will appease everyone. An equal footing for all students should be our number one goal. That is why I feel so strongly about their start times. If you have the data and research to show that starting KMS at 8:50 AM and RMS at 7:15 AM is a fair decision and allows for equal health benefits, please share that with me. If the current proposal doesn’t allow for equal sleep, please reconsider. It is one of the most important factors in the health and well being of students. I hope that moving forward you take into consideration that many parents feel completely hopeless to express their concerns. I hope that there is a way for you to communicate with parents, like myself, in a manner that can show us that this isn’t settled yet, and that our concerns will be considered as this merger moves forward.

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