Students share with the State Board of Education their ideas to improve high schools in Connecticut.
Students share their ideas for improving high schools in Connecticut with the State Board of Education.

The statewide advisory panel of high schools students told members of the State Board of Education Wednesday what they want — including later school opening times, fewer tests, and a mandatory community service requirement.

Several obstacles are certain to get in the way of those recommendations, however.

If the high school start time were to be pushed back to 8:30 a.m. ,as the students recommend, providing transportation would be a challenge. Buses are already being used to transport elementary students during that time.

But Max Wang, a senior at Sheldon High School, said that it’s worth overcoming these challenges since studies show students are not getting enough sleep.

The state panel — composed of 25 students from urban, suburban and rural districts across the state — also is proposing that students be spared having to take the Common Core-aligned test if they take another standardized test in high school. Those tests would include the Advanced Placement, SAT and ACT tests.

“This will take the focus off of teaching to the test,” since there would be multiple tests, said Peter Russell, a senior at Greenwich High School.

The State Board is expected to hear a more detailed explanation of the recommendations from the student advisory board in June.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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