Open Houses at Paul VI

Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax will hold an open house for parents and prospective students from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. A separate open house for eighth-graders will be held from 9 to 10:30 Monday.

Members of the school administration, faculty and students will be on hand to answer questions and lead tours of the school.

The school is at 10675 Fairfax Blvd. For more information, call 703-352-0925 or visit www.paulvi.net.

New School Offices Begun

The county School Board has awarded a contract to Donohoe Construction Co. to complete the interior of the school system's new central administration building in the Falls Church area.

Construction has begun on the building, which is expected to be occupied by March. It will house the school system's top administrators, such as the superintendent and the School Board, who currently are in the Burkholder Center in Fairfax City.

Individual offices are scheduled to begin moving in February. The building is at 8115 Gatehouse Rd. For more information, visit www.fcps.edu/news/office.htm.

Surveys Back a Later Start

Surveys at J.E.B. Stuart High School in the Falls Church area show that parents, teachers and students support the idea of later start times.

Students surveyed last school year said they went to school feeling tired. A majority reported falling asleep in class at least once a week, according to a news release issued by Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal, or SLEEP.

Among the 155 parents who responded to the survey, 85 percent favored beginning high school later in the morning; 48 percent preferred high school hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. The next most popular schedule was 9 a.m. to 3:50 p.m., which was favored by 23 percent of parents.

Sixty-eight percent of 101 teachers surveyed agreed that the current 7:20 a.m. start is too early; 62 percent indicated that they believed that students would perform better with a later time.

Of the 679 students surveyed, more than 70 percent said high school starts too early and 39 percent preferred an 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. schedule.

The SLEEP group said the results reinforce the need for school schedules to more closely align with adolescents' body clocks, which could improve teenage health and academic performance. The campaign to ask school officials to look into later start times was begun by concerned parents.

Studies show that teenagers need 91/4 hours of sleep a night for optimal physical, mental and emotional health. Students in the survey group reported getting an average of seven hours of sleep a night.

For more information, call 703-538-2783, 703-207-9277 or 703-993-1881, or visit www.sleepinfairfax.org.

-- Compiled by DIANE MATTINGLY and STEPHEN C. FEHR