August 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
This sample letter letter below (here in docx) includes excerpts from a May 23, 2012 article authored by RAND Corporation scientist Wendy Troxel, Ph.D. Citations to studies and articles supporting Dr. Troxel’s assertions are presented in an outline format. Two alternative sample letters are available; here (comprehensive overview) and here (focuses on academic achievement before addressing health/welfare issues).
As noted elsewhere, well after we prepared these sample letters, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its Adolescent School Start Time Policy Statement (here or here). That document, and/or start time observations from scientists, physicians (including the AAP), and economists (see, Appen. C), will likely be far more persuasive than anything we can offer.
Phone, fax, and/or email
Dear Superintendent Last Name and Members of the School Board,
I am the parent/guardian of a child attending School Name. The School Name bell schedule requires children to begin morning classes time period before the earliest start time proposed by any expert for these students. (See expert recommendations, infra.) To safeguard the welfare and intellectual potential of these children, sleep scientists recommend a delay in morning classes until 8:30 a.m., or later. I am writing to request that the School District implement healthy start times for middle and/or high school students.
In May of 2012, Wendy Troxel, a RAND Corporation behavioral and social scientist, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, joined by more than 50 of her colleagues, cautioned Pittsburgh Public Schools against implementing a plan to advance high school start times by 30 minutes to 7:36 a.m., or by 60 minutes to 7:06 a.m., in order to save $1.2 million in transportation costs.
“Robust evidence has long demonstrated the adverse consequences of early school start times for teenagers’ academic, mental, social and physical well-being. And no, they can’t just go to bed earlier — their hormones won’t let them. [¶] Keeping the ultimate goal of our education system in mind (to prepare students to become contributing members of society), evidence suggests that earlier school start times are associated with significant reductions in academic achievement — with the strongest effects among the most economically disadvantaged students. [¶] We understand there is no easy fix for the Pittsburgh public schools’ budget problems. But making a short-sighted decision that flies in the face of unequivocal scientific evidence would, in the long term, cost the city of Pittsburgh far more in terms of lost wages, higher rates of crime, more motor vehicle accidents and increased rates of obesity and associated health complications. [¶] Before deciding to move up start times — whether by an hour or a half hour — the Pittsburgh school board should weigh against a negligible savings in dollars the considerable costs to our children and to our society. [¶] As scientists, parents and members of the Pittsburgh community, we strongly oppose making school start times earlier, even by a half hour.” (Troxel, The high cost of sleepy teens (May 23, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)
Economists from Columbia University and the University of Michigan “conservatively” estimate that shifting middle and high school start times “from roughly 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.[,]” will increase academic achievement by 0.175 standard deviations on average, with effects for disadvantaged students roughly twice as large as advantaged students, at little or no cost to schools; i.e., a 9 to 1 benefits to costs ratio when utilizing single-tier busing, the most expensive transportation method available. (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7 [considering study by Cortes, et al. (here), distinguishing study by Hinrichs (here)].) “This impact is equivalent to an additional two months of schooling.” (Policy Brief, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Aug. 2011) Brookings Inst., Hamilton Project, p. 4.) “When translated into earnings, the average student who starts school later would make about $17,500 more over the course of her life.” (Ibid.; Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 6, 10 [accord].)
(a) Joining other Harvard educators in endorsing later start times (e.g., here, here, here, here, here, pp. 382-383), Professor of Sleep Medicine Susan Redline advises that 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. classes begin too early for adolescent students to obtain sufficient sleep and serve to interrupt REM sleep. (Powell, Bleary America needs some shut-eye: Forum points to schools, hospitals, factories as ripe for sleep reform (Mar. 8, 2012) Harvard Science.) The biological preference for later sleep/wake patterns commences with puberty. (O’Malley & O’Malley, School Start Time and Its Impact on Learning and Behavior, publish. in, Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents (Ivanenko edit., Informa Healthcare 2008) pp. 79-81, 83-84.) A recent longitudinal study “demonstrated that adolescent changes in sleep (delayed sleep phase and disrupted sleep) are evident prior to the bodily changes associated with puberty.” (Wolfson & Richards, Young Adolescents: Struggles with Insufficient Sleep, publish. in, Sleep and Development (Oxford Univ. Press, El Sheikh edit. 2011) p. 268.) Adolescents require 9 or more hours of sleep per night. (O’Malley & O’Malley, supra, pp. 79-80.) Sleep-deprivation prevails among teenagers attending schools with 7:30 a.m. start times. (See, e.g., Ming, Koransky, Kang, Buchman, Sarris, & Wagner, Sleep Insufficiency, Sleep Health Problems and Performance in High School Students (Oct. 20, 2011) Clinical Medicine Insights: Circulatory, Respiratory & Pulmonary Medicine 5, pp. 71-79.) “[S]tudents who start school at 7:30 a.m. or earlier obtain less total sleep on school nights because of earlier rise times.” (Millman, edit., Excessive Sleepiness in Adolescents and Young Adults: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment Strategies (Jun. 2005) 115 Pediatrics 6, p. 1776.)
(b) “[O]n school days adolescents are obtaining less sleep then they are thought to need, and the factor with the biggest impact is school start times. If sleep loss is associated with impaired learning and health, then these data point to computer use, social activities and especially school start times as the most obvious intervention points.” (Knutson & Lauderdale, Sociodemographic and behavioral predictors of bed time and wake time among U.S. adolescents aged 15–17 years (Mar. 2009) 154 J. Pediatrics 3, p. 426.) “School schedules are forcing them to lose sleep and to perform academically when they are at their worst.” (Hansen, Janssen, Schiff, Zee, & Dubocovich, The Impact of School Daily Schedule on Adolescent Sleep (Jun. 2005) 115 Pediatrics 6, p. 1560, italics added.) Consistent with previous studies, the 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll found only 14% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 reported getting the recommended number of hours of sleep on school nights. (2011 Sleep in America Poll: Communications Technology in the Bedroom (Mar. 2011) Nat. Sleep Foundation, p. 40; see also, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data User’s Guide (Jun. 2012) Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, pp. 74, 86; Teens and Sleep Poll a Wake-Up Call, Pediatric Sleep Experts Say (Mar. 2006) Brown Univ.) “Sleep deprivation among adolescents appears to be, in some respects, the norm rather than the exception in contemporary society.” (Roberts, Roberts, & Duong, Sleepless in adolescence: Prospective data on sleep deprivation, health and functioning (2009) 32 J. Adolescence, p. 1055.)
(c) The District Name schedule will continue to have middle and high school students in class while melatonin pressures them to sleep (Later Start Times for High School Students (Jun. 2002) University Minn.), thus impairing academic performance. (Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents (Aug. 2011) 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, pp. 62-81; Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983.) The study by Carrell, et al., supra, found “that when a student is randomly assigned to a first period course starting prior to 8 a.m., they perform significantly worse in all their courses taken on that day compared to students who are not assigned to a first period course. Importantly, we find that this negative effect diminishes the later the school day begins.” (Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents, supra, 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, p. 63, italics added.) This outcome is supported by Edwards’ seven-year study which found a 1.5 to 3 percentile gain in middle school standardized math and reading scores when start times were delayed by one hour, to 8:30 a.m. Edwards notes the benefit is greatest for the bottom half of the distribution. (Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance, supra, 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983.) A 2009 study of Chicago public high schools found students beginning morning classes at 8 a.m. showed marked deficiencies in performance in first period math courses throughout the term. (Cortes, Bricker, & Rohlfs, The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools (2012) 12 B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 1, Art. 27, p. 30.) Students were also more likely to be absent (by 3.6 to 6.8 days per year depending on the subject) in first period relative to other periods. (Id., p. 23.) By contrast, truancy/tardiness rates fell at St. George’s School (a Rhode Island boarding school) when start times were delayed from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior (Jul. 2010) 164 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, pp. 608-614.) Researchers also noted “significant improvements” in student alertness following the 30-minute delay. (Id., p. 608; see also, Vedaa, Saxvig, Wilhelmsen-Langeland, Bjorvatn, & Pallesen, School start time, sleepiness and functioning in Norwegian adolescents (Feb. 2012) Scandinavian J. Educational Research, pp. 55-67.)
(d) Teens will be driving while their circadian biology dictates sleep, impairing psychomotor performance and increasing the likelihood of driving crashes. (See, Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Wu, Dubik, Zhao, & Ware, Dissimilar Teen Crash Rates in Two Neighboring Southeastern Virginia Cities with Different High School Start Times (Apr. 2011) 7 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 7, pp. 145-151; Danner & Phillips, Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times, and Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes (Dec. 2008) 4 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 6, pp. 533–535.) Automobile accidents represent the leading cause of death among teenagers, accounting for approximately 40% of teen fatalities annually and billions of dollars in attendant costs. (CDC, Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety, Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet.) “[T]his is a strong reason in itself to change school start times.” (Cline, Do Later School Start Times Really Help High School Students? (Feb. 27, 2011) Psychology Today.)
(e) A CDC study published in August 2011 found an association between health-risk behaviors and diminished weeknight sleep in adolescents, corroborating findings from previous studies. (McKnight-Eily, Eaton, Lowry, Croft, Presley-Cantrell, & Perry, Relationships between hours of sleep and health-risk behaviors in US adolescent students (Aug. 5, 2011) Preventive Medicine, 1-3; Pasch, Laska, Lytle, & Moe, Adolescent Sleep, Risk Behaviors, and Depressive Symptoms: Are They Linked? (Mar. 2010) 34 Am. J. Health Behavior 2, pp. 237-248; O’Brien & Mindell, Sleep and Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents (2005) 3 Behavioral Sleep Medicine 3, pp. 113-133.) A July 2011 study by University of Nebraska at Omaha criminologists found “preliminary evidence that sleep-deprived adolescents participate in a greater volume of both violent and property crime…. Further, our results indicate that every little bit of sleep may make a difference. That is, sleeping 1 (hour) less (i.e., 7 hours) than the recommended range increased the likelihood of property delinquency, and this risk increased for each hour of sleep missed.” (Clinkinbeard, Simi, Evans, & Anderson, Sleep and Delinquency: Does the Amount of Sleep Matter? (Jul. 2011) J. Youth & Adolescence, p. 926.)
(f) Following the 30 minute start time delay to 8:30 a.m. at St. George’s School, Dr. Judith Owens found the number of students reporting symptoms of depression declined (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior, supra, 164 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, p. 613), confirming outcomes from the Minnesota longitudinal studies (high school start times delayed to 8:30 a.m., Edina, 8:40 a.m., Minneapolis). (Wahlstrom, Changing Times: Findings From the First Longitudinal Study of Later High School Start Times (Dec. 2002) 86 Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals Bull. 633, pp. 3, 13.) Given the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents, Dr. Owens commented the finding was “particularly noteworthy.” (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior, supra, 164 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, p. 613; Sleep Experts Concerned About St. Paul Start Time Change (Jun. 3, 2011) CBS.) Suicide is the third leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents, in recent years accounting for 10% or more of all teen fatalities. (CDC Nat. Vital Statistics System, Mortality Tables.) Recent data put the suicide rate in the general population at 2.7%. (Miniño, Xu, & Kochanek, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008 (Dec. 9, 2010) 59 Nat. Vital Statistics Rep. 2.)
CDC scientists report, “Delaying school start times is a demonstrated strategy to promote sufficient sleep among adolescents.” (Eaton, McKnight-Eily, Lowry, Croft, Presley-Cantrell, & Perry, Prevalence of Insufficient, Borderline, and Optimal Hours of Sleep Among High School Students – United States, 2007 (2010) 46 J. Adolescent Health, p. 401.) In 2009, scientists writing in the journal Developmental Neuroscience succinctly stated the uniformly held position of sleep experts on school start times:
“For policy makers, teachers and parents, these results provide a clear mandate. The effects of sleep deprivation on grades, car accident risk, and mood are indisputable. A number of school districts have moved middle and high school start times later with the goal of decreasing teenage sleep deprivation. We support this approach, as results indicate that later school start times lead to decreased truancy and drop-out rates.” (Hagenauer, Perryman, Lee, & Carskadon, Adolescent Changes in the Homeostatic and Circadian Regulation of Sleep (2009) 31 Developmental Neuroscience 4, p. 282; see also, Carskadon, For better student health, start school later (Sept. 5, 2012) Brown Univ.; Carskadon, Vieira, & Acebo, Association between puberty and delayed phase preference (1993) 16 Sleep 3, p. 261.)
Please follow the evidence when determining the time of day school begins.
December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
CALIFORNIA — The Sleep Club (Avants, School Start Times Topic of Temecula Parent Survey (Aug. 31, 2012) Temecula Patch; Shultz, TEMECULA: High school students seek later start (Oct. 31, 2011) The Californian; see also, Surowski, Students Push for More Sleep (Dec. 21, 2011) Temecula Patch; Kabany, Sleepy teens need relief (Nov. 6, 2011) North County Times) [Temecula Valley High School].
MISSOURI — “Students Say,” petition [Columbia Public Schools]; see also, Bianchi, The Teen Who Woke Up Her School (Aug. 13, 2014) Huffington Post [citing the efforts of student Jilly Dos Santos]; Hoffman, To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In (Mar. 13, 2014) N.Y. Times [accord].
Alex Pinder (Shapiro, School schedule changes raise ire of Parkway parents (Sept. 26, 2011) stltoday.com) [Parkway Central High School].
PENNSYLVANIA – Klein, One Teen’s Crusade To Make Sure His Classmates Get Enough Rest (Jun. 28, 2016) Huffington Post; Devlin, Chester County Student Forum lobbying for more sleep (May 1, 2016) The Mercury News [Unionville-Chadds Ford School District].
Tyler Porter, School Start Time Video Project (Jun. 5, 2012) YouTube.
Matt’s Story: Rethinking School Start Times (2007) Harvard Univ., Healthy Sleep [includes brief interview with Richard Ferber, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Senior Associate in Neurology, Department of Neurology, Children’s Hospital Boston].
Macintosh, Students Speak Out for Healthier School Start Times (Jul. 16, 2012) Potomac Patch.
Pierce M., School Start Times (Dec. 2011) Persuasive Essays.
Ilene Shturman, Later starting times for school (Apr. 29, 2013) Spartan Chronicles.
Michealla Foules, Teachers talk of starting school later: Many students deprive themselves of sleep (Jan. 30, 2013) Stagg Line [A.A. Stagg High School].
Kimberly Sanchez, Late-Start (Nov. 16, 2011) The Express [San Juan Hills High School].
CONNECTICUT — Elisa Pey, Why Teens Need Another Hour of Sleep Each Night (May 26, 2016) Greenwich-Post [Eastern Middle School]; Zach Speed, The Wrong Side of the Bed (Feb. 19, 2012) Inklings [Staples High School].
FLORIDA — Andrea Valdespino, Why Does High School Start So Early? (Oct. 2, 2012) The Crusader [Miami Sunset Senior High]
ILLINOIS — Julianne Crawford, Late Start Everyday? (Apr. 21, 2012) The Acronym [Ill. Math & Science Academy].
Michelle Martinez, Vince Cole, & Diana Avitia, Students Prefer Late Start Tuesdays (Oct. 17, 2011) Monthly Mortonian [Morton East High School].
INDIANA — James Fox, School Diary: Early start time for secondary schools has students lagging (Apr. 17, 2012) HeraldTimesOnline [subscription only] [Bloomington North High School].
Eleni Souronis, Teens vs. Sleep (Nov. 30, 2011) The Howl Online [Boone Grove High School].
KANSAS — Erin Sellers, Teens need more sleep (Mar. 23, 2012) KansasCity.com [Prairie Village, Kansas].
KENTUCKY — Haley Dallas, The Early Bird Gets … Sleepy? (Feb. 7, 2012) News Flash [McCracken County Public Schools].
MARYLAND — Matthew Stevens, Student asks school board for later high school start times (May 8, 2013) Baltimore Sun [Atholton High School].
Morenike Rossman, Sleep vs. School Time (Nov. 20, 2012) Mainstream [Paint Branch High School].
Matt Swanson, Guest Post: The Necessity of a Later School Start Time (Dec. 7, 2011) The Lounge: Students’ Information Blog [Burlington High School].
Zachary Dietz, Teens’ sleep needs dictate later school start time (Dec. 3, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette [Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School].
Sydney Snow, It’s Still Dark Out, Time for School! (Nov. 29, 2011) The Pentucket Profile [Pentucket Regional High School].
Henry von Thaden, Start Time Change (Nov. 2, 2011) Nauset Horizons [Nauset Regional High School].
MICHIGAN — Nathan DiRado, Benefits of Starting School Later (Apr. 15, 2013) The East Edition [South Lyon East High School].
Kaitlyn Nayback, Later Start Time Would Reduce Tardies (Nov. 27, 2012) The Panther Press [Center Line High School].
Jamie Grunewald, Nighty Night (Dec. 13, 2011) The East Edition [South Lyon East High School].
NEW JERSEY — Elizabeth Reilly, Student principals (May 13, 2012) Asbury Park Press [Lake Riviera Middle School].
Patrick Crowley, Help students focus by starting school later (Jul. 22, 2103) Long Island Newsday.
Mike Taylor, Sleep: The Best Medicine? (May 17, 2012) The West Wind [Corning West High School].
Stephanie Philpott, Sleep is a necessity that is often overlooked by teenagers (Dec. 29, 2011) Niagara Falls Rev. [A.N. Myer Secondary School].
John Mantikas, Reasons behind students drowsiness (Oct. 27, 2011) The Charles Street Times [Lindenhurst High School].
Joshu Creel, Get up! Sleepy teens roam school halls while debate goes on about changing start times (Aug. 21, 2010) Buffalo News.com [Park School].
NORTH CAROLINA — Olivia, Later Start Times for School? (Oct. 11, 2016) Letter to the Next President.
OHIO — Quinton Couch, Sleep deprivation in today’s youth (Jan. 12, 2012) Ro-Hi-Ti [Ross High School].
Victoria Bracher, Start time unrealistic (Dec. 5, 2011) The Colonel [Roosevelt High School].
OREGON — Eric Wakeling, School Start Times and Sleep (Jan. 19, 2012) Newspacer [Lakeridge High School].
PENNSYLVANIA — Preeth Vijay, Straight outta sleep: a case for teens’ most coveted commodity (Sept. 4, 2015) Bucks County Courier Times [Holy Ghost Preparatory School].
Zac Einhorn, Let Us Sleep (Apr. 9, 2012) Raider Express [Middletown Area High School].
Sienna Lee, Why high school students need a later arrival time (Dec. 12, 2011) Lion’s Tale [New Hope-Solebury High School].
TEXAS — Justin Graham, We’ve Got Two Options (Jan. 5, 2012) Essay Forum [McKinney Independent School Dist.].
Katie Carlson, Later start time would improve student performance (Jul. 17, 2011) Warrior Ledger [Taylorsville High School].
VERMONT — Jadie Dow, So, What Time Should School Start? (May 2, 2013) The Windsor Gazette [Windsor High School].
Jesse Boudro, Why School Should Start Later (May 23, 2012) The Windsor Gazette [Windsor High School].
Meleana Moore, Debate Over Later School Start Times (May 11, 2012) The Chronicle @ Kettle Run [Kettle Run High School].
WASHINGTON — Amy Lenker, School start times should change (Jan. 4, 2017) The Olympian [Olympia School District]; Marissa Secreto, The Beat—Drowsy driving is like drunken driving (May 27, 2015) The Issaquah Press [Eastside Catholic High School]; Matthew Brown, School Start Time (2012) Spartan Spectrum [Stanwood High School].
Liz Hall, Should High Schools Start School Late(r)? (Dec. 22, 2011) The Arrowhead [Arrowhead High School].
October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
In many instances, the initiative to adjust start times may be undertaken by legislators, or by community constituents such as physicians, parents, PTA’s, voters’ groups, by the students themselves, or by you, rather than by school leaders (discussed in § IV, supra). While advocacy may take many forms, should writing be required, the sample letter below (here in docx) may serve as a basic template and may be modified as needed. Alternate sample letters are available here (outline format) and here (academic achievement, health/welfare). The difficulty, of course, is that each of these 6-7 page letters is about 6-7 pages longer than any school administrator is likely to ever read.
Well after we prepared these sample letters, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its Adolescent School Start Time Policy Statement (here or here). That document, and/or start time observations from scientists, physicians (including the AAP), and economists (see, Appen. C), including recent evidence of attendance/graduation benefits, will likely be far more persuasive than anything we can offer.
Phone, fax, and/or email
Dear Superintendent Last Name and Members of the School Board,
I am the parent/guardian of a student presently attending School Name. I am writing to request that the School District implement healthy start times for middle and/or high school students. To safeguard the welfare and intellectual potential of these children, sleep experts recommend a delay in morning classes until 8:30 a.m., or later. (Start time recommendations available infra; see also, Vedaa, Saxvig, Wilhelmsen-Langeland, Bjorvatn, & Pallesen, School start time, sleepiness and functioning in Norwegian adolescents (Feb. 2012) Scandinavian J. Educational Research, pp. 55-67 [10th graders get 66 minutes more sleep and performance on attention/vigilance tasks improves with one hour start time delay to 9:30 a.m.].) First period at High School commences time period before the earliest start time recommended by any expert. (See, e.g., O’Malley & O’Malley, School Start Time and Its Impact on Learning and Behavior, publish. in, Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents (Ivanenko edit., Informa Healthcare 2008) pp. 83, 84, 89.) Middle School begins time period too early. (See, e.g., Lufi, Tzischinsky, & Hadar, Delaying School Starting Time by One Hour: Some Effects on Attention Levels in Adolescents (Apr. 2011) 7 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 2, pp. 137-143.)
“[O]n school days adolescents are obtaining less sleep then they are thought to need, and the factor with the biggest impact is school start times. If sleep loss is associated with impaired learning and health, then these data point to computer use, social activities and especially school start times as the most obvious intervention points.” (Knutson & Lauderdale, Sociodemographic and behavioral predictors of bed time and wake time among U.S. adolescents aged 15–17 years (Mar. 2009) 154 J. Pediatrics 3, p. 426.) “School schedules are forcing them to lose sleep and to perform academically when they are at their worst.” (Hansen, Janssen, Schiff, Zee, & Dubocovich, The Impact of School Daily Schedule on Adolescent Sleep (Jun. 2005) 115 Pediatrics 6, p. 1560, italics added.) “The earliest school start times are associated with annual reductions in student performance of roughly 0.1 standard deviations for disadvantaged students, equivalent to replacing an average teacher with a teacher at the sixteenth percentile in terms of effectiveness.” (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst. p. 7.)
Although the evidence in support of delaying start times as benefiting the health, welfare, and academic performance of adolescents is overwhelming and uncontroverted (Troxel, The high cost of sleepy teens (May 23, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Hagenauer, Perryman, Lee, & Carskadon, Adolescent Changes in the Homeostatic and Circadian Regulation of Sleep (2009) 31 Developmental Neuroscience 4, p. 282), school schedules are often determined by politics, budgets, and athletics, rather than the best interests of students. (See Wolfson & Carskadon, A Survey of Factors Influencing High School Start Times (Mar. 2005) 89 Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals Bull. 642, pp. 47-66; Wahlstrom, The Prickly Politics of School Starting Times (Jan. 1999) 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, pp. 344-347.) There is no sound reason, however, why any of these concerns should prevail over the well-being of children.
First, any adverse political fallout stemming from a shift to later start times should be diminished by the burgeoning evidence supporting the change. (See Wahlstrom, School Start Times and Sleepy Teens (Jul. 2010) 164 Archives Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, pp. 676-677.) Second, a study published in March of 2011 establishes that careful planning permits later start times to co-exist with athletics and extracurricular activities. (Kirby, Maggi, & D’Angiulli, School Start Times and the Sleep-Wake Cycle of Adolescents: A Review and Critical Evaluation of Available Evidence (Mar. 2011) 40 Educational Researcher 2, pp. 56-61.) Third, recent studies anticipate financial gains for schools (and students) when morning classes are delayed, a significant fact in times of economic hardship. (Edwards, Do Schools Begin Too Early? (Summer 2012) 12 Education Next 3; Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, pp. 5-11; Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents (Aug. 2011) 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, pp. 62-81.) Fourth, finding ways to adjust start times is the “job of talented, smart school administrators.” (Taboh, American Teenagers Dangerously Sleep Deprived: Tired teens physically, mentally, emotionally compromised (Sept. 9, 2010) Voice Am. News; see also, Riddile, Time Shift: Is your school jet-lagged? (Mar. 14, 2011) Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals, The Principal Difference.)
Consistent with previous studies, the 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll found only 14% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 report getting the recommended number of hours of sleep (9 or more) on school nights. (2011 Sleep in America Poll: Communications Technology in the Bedroom (Mar. 2011) Nat. Sleep Foundation, p. 40; see also, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data User’s Guide (Jun. 2012) Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, pp. 74, 86; Teens and Sleep Poll a Wake-Up Call, Pediatric Sleep Experts Say (Mar. 2006) Brown Univ.) “Sleep deprivation among adolescents appears to be, in some respects, the norm rather than the exception in contemporary society.” (Roberts, Roberts, & Duong, Sleepless in adolescence: Prospective data on sleep deprivation, health and functioning (2009) 32 J. Adolescence, p. 1055.) “The consequences of this sleep deprivation are severe, impacting adolescents’ physical and mental health, as well as daytime functioning.” (Lund, Reider, Whiting, & Prichard, Sleep Patterns and Predictors of Disturbed Sleep in a Large Population of College Students (Feb. 2010) 46 J. Adolescent Health 2, p. 125.)
In 2010, CDC scientists reported, “Delaying school start times is a demonstrated strategy to promote sufficient sleep among adolescents.” (Eaton, McKnight-Eily, Lowry, Croft, Presley-Cantrell, & Perry, Prevalence of Insufficient, Borderline, and Optimal Hours of Sleep Among High School Students – United States, 2007 (2010) 46 J. Adolescent Health, p. 401.) Dr. Philip Fuller, Medical Director of the Mary Washington Hospital Sleep and Wake Disorders Center, explains: “Inherently, the majority of kids with a later start will get more sleep, which is beneficial to grades as well as being safer.” (Sklarew, Getting A’s with More Z’s: The fight for later school starts has backing from doctors and statistics (Nov. 2011) N. Va. Magazine.) “Students at later starting middle and high schools obtain more sleep due to later wake times and, in turn, function more effectively in school.” (Wolfson, Spaulding, Dandrow, & Baroni, Middle School Start Times: The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for Young Adolescents (Aug. 15, 2007) 5 Behavioral Sleep Medicine 3, p. 205.) “By recognizing the shift in biological rhythms during adolescence and delaying school start times accordingly, classroom experience can be matched to the times when adolescents are most alert and attentive.” (Coch, Fischer, & Dawson, Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain: Typical Development (Informa Healthcare 2010) pp. 382-383.)
Economists from the University of California and the United States Air Force Academy note that since later start times have a “causal effect” upon improved academic performance in adolescents, delaying morning classes may save schools money. “A later start time of 50 minutes in our sample has the equivalent benefit as raising teacher quality by roughly one standard deviation. Hence, later start times may be a cost-effective way to improve student outcomes for adolescents.” (Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents, supra, 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, p. 80.) The benefit is greatest for the bottom half of the distribution, suggesting that delaying start times may be particularly important for schools attempting to reach minimum competency requirements. (Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, p. 978.) Brookings Institute economists “conservatively” estimate that shifting middle and high school start times “from roughly 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.” would increase student achievement by 0.175 standard deviations on average, with effects for disadvantaged students roughly twice as large as advantaged students. (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, Brookings Inst., pp. 10, 21, n. 7.) The economists estimate a corresponding increase in individual student future earnings of approximately $17,500, at little or no cost to schools; i.e., a 9 to 1 benefits to costs ratio when utilizing single-tier busing, the most expensive transportation method available. (Id., pp. 5-11.)
In addition, studies have shown young people between 16 and 29 years of age are “the most likely to be involved in crashes caused by the driver falling asleep.” (Millman, edit., Excessive Sleepiness in Adolescents and Young Adults: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment Strategies (Jun. 2005) 115 Pediatrics 6, p. 1779.) Consistent with a previous study finding 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. to be the most treacherous travel time for young drivers (Pack, Pack, Rodgman, Cucchiara, Dinges, & Schwab, Characteristics of Crashes Attributed to the Driver Having Fallen Asleep (Dec. 1995) 27 Accident Analysis & Prevention 6, pp. 769-775), a five year study by the Ohio Department of Transportation released in August of 2011 showed that 7 a.m. is “the most dangerous time for teens driving to school.” (Crashes Involving Teens Triple During Back-to-School (Aug. 23, 2011) Ohio Department of Transportation.) Given that the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, pressures adolescents to sleep until approximately 8 a.m., these outcomes should not be surprising. (Later Start Times for High School Students (Jun. 2002) Univ. Minn.)
A study published in April 2011 associates early start times in Virginia Beach (7:25 a.m., except one school at 7:20 a.m.) with 41% higher crash rates among teen drivers than in adjacent Chesapeake where classes started at 8:40 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. (Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Wu, Dubik, Zhao, & Ware, Dissimilar Teen Crash Rates in Two Neighboring Southeastern Virginia Cities with Different High School Start Times (Apr. 2011) 7 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 2, pp. 145-151.) In 1999, school districts in Lexington, Kentucky delayed start times for high school students county-wide by one hour to 8:30 a.m. Average crash rates for teen drivers in the county in the 2 years after the change in school start time dropped 16.5%, compared with the 2 years prior to the change, whereas teen crash rates for the rest of the state increased 7.8% over the same time period. (Danner & Phillips, Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times, and Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes (Dec. 2008) 4 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 6, pp. 533–535; see also, Storr, Sleepy teen pedestrians more likely to get hit, UAB study says (May 7, 2012) Univ. Al. Birmingham News.) In reviewing the study, John Cline, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, commented, “Given the danger posed to young people from car accidents this is a strong reason in itself to change school start times.” (Cline, Do Later School Start Times Really Help High School Students? (Feb. 27, 2011) Psychology Today.) Automobile accidents represent the leading cause of death among teenagers, accounting for approximately 40% of teen fatalities annually and billions of dollars in attendant costs. (CDC, Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety, Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet.)
A CDC study published in August 2011 found an association between health-risk behaviors and diminished weeknight sleep in adolescents, corroborating findings from previous studies. (McKnight-Eily, Eaton, Lowry, Croft, Presley-Cantrell, & Perry, Relationships between hours of sleep and health-risk behaviors in US adolescent students (Aug. 5, 2011) Preventive Medicine, 1-3; Pasch, Laska, Lytle, & Moe, Adolescent Sleep, Risk Behaviors, and Depressive Symptoms: Are They Linked? (Mar. 2010) 34 Am. J. Health Behavior 2, pp. 237-248; O’Brien & Mindell, Sleep and Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents (2005) 3 Behavioral Sleep Medicine 3, pp. 113-133.) A July 2011 study by University of Nebraska at Omaha criminologists found “preliminary evidence that sleep-deprived adolescents participate in a greater volume of both violent and property crime…. Further, our results indicate that every little bit of sleep may make a difference. That is, sleeping 1 (hour) less (i.e., 7 hours) than the recommended range increased the likelihood of property delinquency, and this risk increased for each hour of sleep missed.” (Clinkinbeard, Simi, Evans, & Anderson, Sleep and Delinquency: Does the Amount of Sleep Matter? (Jul. 2011) J. Youth & Adolescence, p. 926.)
In 2009, following a Rhode Island boarding school’s change in start times from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Dr. Judith Owens found the number of students reporting symptoms of depression declined, confirming outcomes from the Minnesota longitudinal studies (high school start times delayed to 8:30 a.m., Edina, 8:40 a.m., Minneapolis). (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior (Jul. 2010) 164 Archives Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, p. 613; Wahlstrom, Changing Times: Findings From the First Longitudinal Study of Later High School Start Times (Dec. 2002) 86 Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals Bull. 633, pp. 3, 13.) Given the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents, Dr. Owens commented the finding was “particularly noteworthy.” (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior, supra, 164 Archives Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 7, p. 613; see also, Dahl, The Consequences of Insufficient Sleep for Adolescents: Links Between Sleep and Emotional Regulation (Jan. 1999) 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, pp. 354-359.) Serious consideration of suicide is among the many health-risk behaviors associated with restricted school night sleep in the 2011 CDC study. (McKnight-Eily, Eaton, Lowry, Croft, Presley-Cantrell, & Perry, Relationships between hours of sleep and health-risk behaviors in US adolescent students, supra, Preventive Medicine, pp. 1-3.) Suicide is the third leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents, in recent years accounting for 10% or more of all teen fatalities. (CDC Nat. Vital Statistics System, Mortality Tables.) Recent data put the suicide rate in the general population at 2.7%. (Miniño, Xu, & Kochanek, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008 (Dec. 9, 2010) 59 Nat. Vital Statistics Rep. 2.)
The adolescent sleep pattern runs from about 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. and is “rather fixed.” (Later Start Times for High School Students, supra, Univ. Minn.) As the National Sleep Foundation points out, only by carefully controlling light exposure, including wearing eyeshades to exclude evening light, have scientists been successful in modifying adolescent circadian rhythms. (Backgrounder: Later School Start Times (2011) Nat. Sleep Foundation.) Waking an adolescent at 7 a.m. is the “equivalent” of waking an adult at 4 a.m. (Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents, supra, 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, p. 64.) Joining other Harvard educators in endorsing later start times (e.g., here, here, here, here, here, pp. 382-383), Professor of Sleep Medicine Susan Redline advises that 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. classes begin too early for adolescent students to obtain sufficient sleep and serve to interrupt REM sleep. (Powell, Bleary America needs some shut-eye: Forum points to schools, hospitals, factories as ripe for sleep reform (Mar. 8, 2012) Harvard Science.) Brown University’s Mary Carskadon refers to early school start times as “just abusive.” (Carpenter, Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health (Oct. 2001) 32 Am. Psychological Assn. Monitor 9.)
In 2009, scientists writing in the journal Developmental Neuroscience succinctly stated the uniformly held position of sleep experts on school start times: “For policy makers, teachers and parents, these results provide a clear mandate. The effects of sleep deprivation on grades, car accident risk, and mood are indisputable. A number of school districts have moved middle and high school start times later with the goal of decreasing teenage sleep deprivation. We support this approach, as results indicate that later school start times lead to decreased truancy and drop-out rates.” (Hagenauer, Perryman, Lee, & Carskadon, Adolescent Changes in the Homeostatic and Circadian Regulation of Sleep, supra, 31 Developmental Neuroscience 4, p. 282.)
School leaders have a unique capacity to shape the lives of students. (See, Park, Falling Asleep in Class? Blame Biology (Dec. 15, 2008) CNN.) The time of day when school begins is different than other issues in education — it has the potential to implicate adolescent morbidity and mortality. (Sleep Experts Concerned About St. Paul Start Time Change (Jun. 3, 2011) CBS; Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Wu, Dubik, Zhao, & Ware, Dissimilar Teen Crash Rates in Two Neighboring Southeastern Virginia Cities with Different High School Start Times, supra, 7 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 7, pp. 145-151.) Physicians have been urging school administrators to eliminate early starting hours for teenagers since at least 1994. (Minn. Med. Assn. Letter to Superintendent Dragseth (Apr. 4, 1994) Edina Pub. Schools.) It’s long past time to start listening.
June 12, 2011 § 2 Comments
“Among the possible public health interventions for increasing sufficient sleep among adolescents, delaying school start times has the potential for the greatest population impact by changing the environmental context for students in entire school districts.”—Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D., Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gabrielle A. Ferro, Ph.D., Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, Janet B. Croft, Ph.D., Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC. (Wheaton, Ferro, & Croft, School Start Times for Middle School and High School Students — United States, 2011–12 School Year (Aug. 7, 2015) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64 Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Rep. 30, pp. 812-813; see, Press Release, Most US middle and high schools start the school day too early (Aug. 6, 2015) CDC; Infograph; see also, Start School Later Chapters By State.)
ALABAMA — On July 10, 2017, Huntsville City Schools administrators disclosed their approval of a new fall schedule for high school students. The district’s 24,000 plus students presently begin morning classes at 8 a.m. When classes begin in August, high schools will open 30 minutes later; i.e., at 8:30 a.m. District spokesman Keith Ward contends an 8:30 a.m. start time will make the commute safer for students driving to school by keeping them off the roads during peak morning traffic. Ward reports that studies show even a half hour start time delay helps students gain extra sleep and perform better in the classroom and on standardized tests. School board president Elisa Ferrell believes the new schedule will result in fewer transportation delays, particularly in west Huntsville because of the distance between schools and the amount of ground buses cover on longer routes. Superintendent Matt Akin stated, “Some of the issues we’re dealing with are just the fact that schools are far apart and then others are traffic and things[.]” (Conner, Huntsville City Schools to push back high school start times (Jul. 11, 2017) WHNT; Staff, Huntsville City Schools approves later high school start time (Jul. 11, 2017) WAFF; Berent, Huntsville City Schools looking at pushing back high school start times (Jul. 11, 2017) WAFF.)
In the Piedmont City School District, where the elementary and secondary schools all begin morning classes at 7:50 a.m., high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors maintaining a “B” average may enroll in a virtual first period class. These students may complete first period assignments on their own time, allowing them to sleep in during the week. Educators report that the virtual first period has helped students become more independent learners by taking greater responsibility for their academic careers. The district has seen results outside of first period, with a “culture change” in how many students approach their studies throughout the school day. According to teacher Jennie Baer, “Students have a higher level of accountability when it comes to their progress[.] They also have the flexibility to work at their own pace and can focus on what is important on a particular day.” (Swift, A Virtual Start Can Mean Real Sleep For Students (Jul. 25, 2016) EdSurge; Gorman, Is a ‘Virtual First Period’ a Solution to Giving Teens More Sleep? (Jul. 25, 2016) Ed. World.)
For the 2014-2015 school year, Phenix City Public Schools will delay start times by 1 hour and 15 minutes to 9 a.m. for students in grades 8-12. Students in grades 6-7 will see their start time advance by 45 minutes to 7:45 a.m. The bell schedule shows that elementary schools will begin at 8 a.m., except for Lakewood Primary School (K-2), which will begin at 7:45 a.m. Superintendent Randy Wilkes reports that the later start time for older students is an effort to increase student success. “I’ve heard pros and cons[.] I’ve heard what the research is about students that age and how much better they perform middle morning to mid afternoon.” Child psychiatrist Dr. Kaizad Shroff confirms the later start times are beneficial. He adds the older the student is, the later their body releases the chemical that helps them sleep. “It’s called melatonin. So, in adolescents it’s released around 11 o’clock. In children, it’s released around 8 or 9 o’clock. So, an adolescent is not going to sleep before then as much as you try[.]” Superintendent Wilkes says facts like what Dr. Shroff points out and the inconvenience of parents who rely on older children’s help with the younger kids has helped the school board make this decision. “Everything in education’s on a trial basis[.] If it doesn’t work, we need to go back and do something else.” (McCoy, New school year, new start times for Phenix City schools (Jul. 25, 2014) WTVN.com.)
Decatur City Schools will push back start times for middle and high school students for 2014-2015, beginning morning classes 30 minutes later; i.e., at 8:30 a.m. Elementary school start times will advance by 5 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Superintendent Ed Nichols said the time changes stemmed from the district’s efforts to save money on transportation. The district eliminated 10 bus driver positions, requiring some of the remaining 60 drivers to run two bus routes. (Keith, Time changes on the way for Decatur City Schools (Jul. 9, 2014) waaytv.)
In an effort to address overcrowded buses and lengthy bus rides (45 minutes on average), Madison County Schools has implemented staggered start times for 2014-2015. Middle schools will now begin homeroom at 8:20 a.m. or 8:25 a.m. and high schools will begin morning classes at 8:30 a.m. All elementary and intermediate schools will begin at 7:45 a.m., an advance of approximately 45 minutes and apparently including Central School (K-8) and New Hope Elementary (Pre-K—8th grade). (Riopka, Huntsville, Madison and Madison County students begin new school year (Aug. 4, 2014) WHNT News; Huggins, Madison County schools may open/close 45 minutes later to solve bus overcrowding (Jan. 17, 2014) AL.com.; Madison Co. Schools considers schedule changes (2014) WAFF.)
ALASKA — Until the state senate passed Bill 182 providing additional transportation funding, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District considered transitioning from one- to two-tiered busing for 2012-2013 in order to address a $750,000 budget shortfall. The proposed schedule would have delayed start times for Chapman (K-8), from 8:40 a.m. to 9 a.m., while advancing, into the 7 o’clock hour, secondary school schedules and all other middle school schedules. Elementary schools other than Ninilchik (K-12) were scheduled to delay start times. (Paul Banks (PS-2), from 8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; West Homer (3-6), from 8:25 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.; McNeil Canyon (K-6), from 7:50 a.m. to 9 a.m.) (Editorial, Savings by changing school bus system shouldn’t be ignored (May 2, 2012) HomerNews.com [ironically, this editorial ignores economists’ start time research, discussed by the Brookings Inst. here]; Jackinsky, Area school times may change to reduce transportation costs (Feb. 22, 2012) HomerNews.com.)
Note: According to National Center for Education Statistics data for 2011-2012, on average, secondary schools in Alaska begin morning classes at 8:33 a.m., the latest average secondary school start time in the United States.
ARIZONA — Beginning in the fall of 2011, in order to reduce missed class time for student-athletes and to accommodate afternoon career education classes, Sahuarita High School start times advanced from 8:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.; zero period classes to 7:19 a.m. from an unknown later time. The later start times were subsequently restored, however. As of 2016-2017, the schedule shows an 8:30 a.m. first period start time and 7:30 a.m. zero period start. In the same Sahuarita Unified Schools District, Walden Grove High School, which opened in 2011 with 8:20 a.m. morning classes, has also implemented an 8:30 a.m. start time. The first period bell at Sahuarita Middle School (grades 6-8) sounds at 8:25 a.m., 7:20 a.m. for zero period. Morning classes at the elementary schools (pre-K to grade 6) begin at 8:10 a.m. (Sopori), and 7:45 a.m. (Copper View). Anza Trail School (K-8), Sahuarita Intermediate School (grades 3-5), and Sahuarita Primary School (pre-K to grade 2), all begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m. (Franchine, Classes start, end earlier for high schools (Jul. 19, 2011) Sahuarita Sun.)
ARKANSAS — The Pulaski County Special School District has implemented a plan which advances some elementary school start times while delaying middle and high school start times. The plan is expected to save the district money in transportation expenses and recognize research which shows that “perhaps allowing high school students more sleep in the morning helps them perform better in the classroom.” According to the 2011-2012 bell schedule, middle and high school classes began as early as 7:30 a.m. As of summer 2013, the bell schedule showed that all high schools begin between 8:25 a.m. and 8:35 a.m., middle schools between 8:20 a.m. and 8:35 a.m., and elementary schools between 7:45 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Adkins Pre-K retained its 7:20 a.m. start time. The board of education was dismissed after the district went into “fiscal distress.” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell, Ed.D., acts in place of the board. (Johnson, PCCSD proposes changes to start times for next year (Jan. 11, 2012) Today’s THV.)
AUSTRALIA — Templestowe College, an Australian secondary school, will permit students to select one of three school schedules for 2014-2015: the existing 8:50 a.m – 3:30 p.m. schedule, or 10:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m., or 7:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Principal Peter Hutton said most students were expected to stick with the existing times, but the later start would help those who needed more sleep. Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals president Frank Sal said the traditional 9 a.m.-3 p.m. school day was eroding as schools become more autonomous. (New timetable allows secondary school students to sleep in (Aug. 20, 2014) Education HQ; Hosking, Schools wake up to sleepy students and consider later teaching hours (Aug. 19, 2014) Herald Sun.)
In August 2014, students at selective-entry Melbourne High School have requested the school delay its present 8:50 a.m. start time to 9:30 a.m. Principal Jeremy Ludowyke said delaying the school’s starting time could deliver real benefits. “There is a good research base to say we probably ask students to start their working day a little earlier than they should[.] We want to just assess the educational value of that proposition. It’s one we have to be prepared to look at quite reasonably and objectively.” (Sweet Farm Tours, New timetable allows secondary school students to sleep in (Aug. 20, 2014) Education HQ; Later school start times on the cards (Aug. 19, 2014) Australian Women’s Weekly; Hosking, Schools wake up to sleepy students and consider later teaching hours (Aug. 19, 2014) Herald Sun.)
Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S., Head of Nuffield Laboratory, and Chair of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University, says teenagers are biologically wired to stay up late and wake late, making a 9 a.m. start too early. Two Victorian schools have put their starting times back and are “happy with the results.” Berengarra School in Glen Waverley operates from 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. with shortened breaks and the Victorian P-12 College of Koorie Education in Mildura operates from 10 a.m.-3:40 p.m. Both school principals say sleep was a factor, and the change has helped alertness. A local psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg, notes “performance and enjoyment would improve if school better fit teenagers’ body rhythm. ‘Eighty per cent of year 10 students are not getting enough sleep. The single most important study tool going around is a good night’s sleep.’ ” (Critchley, Sleepy teens want later start (May 4, 2007) Herald Sun.) Professor Timothy Olds of the University of South Australia estimates that about 5 per cent of schools in Australia have now changed to a later start time of 10 a.m. (Clayton, Why a lie-in could improve teens’ results (Jul. 16, 2013) tes connect.)
CALIFORNIA — On October 10, 2017, the San Diego Unified School District School Board voted unanimously to furnish each “school cluster” — a high school and the schools that feed into it — with information to help decide whether to move back the start of the school day. According to trustee John Evans, “We’re not going to mandate it across the district[.] We want each cluster to look at this, and then if there’s a consensus that this would be beneficial to students, then that group can petition to the district to change the start times.” Middle and high school classes begin as early as 7:15 a.m.; e.g., San Diego School of Creative and Performing Art. Some zero periods begin as early as 6:21 a.m.; e.g., Abraham Lincoln High. Elementary school start times vary, but some schools begin morning classes during the 7 o’clock hour; e.g., Fulton K-8 begins at 7:35 a.m. for elementary school students, 7:25 a.m. for 6-8 graders. Students, parents and physicians were among more than a dozen people in the boardroom audience who spoke in favor of pushing back the start time. Dr. David Peters, a psychotherapist and family counselor, said it would be wrong to ignore the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain, just as it would be wrong to ignore the effects of drug abuse and head injuries. Dr. Anoop Karippot, president of the California Sleep Society, told the board there is enough scientific evidence to say sleep deprivation is a health issue. He also said changing the start time by just one hour would make a huge difference in the qualify of life for students. Board members agreed that there was evidence about the benefits of a later start time. “We need to stop and think about the children and what’s best for them,” said Trustee Sharon Whitehurst-Payne. Trustee Kevin Beiser said as a secondary school math teacher he has seen firsthand that students who started later than 7:30 a.m. performed better academically and had better behavior in class. (Warth, SD Unified takes first steps to later start times (Oct. 11, 2017) San Diego Union-Tribune.)
In October 2016, the Novato Unified School District announced the formation of a late start committee to assess prospects for delaying the middle and high school start times. According to the most recently posted bell schedule, the high schools start at 7:26 a.m. (Novato, San Marin) and 8:22 a.m. (Marin Oaks), the middle schools start at 8 a.m. (Hamilton Meadow, San Jose) and 8:05 a.m. (Sinaloa), and the elementary schools start at 8:30 a.m., except for Olive Elementary, which starts at 8:40 a.m. Novato High Principal Matt Baldwin told the press, “There’s a lot of kids that are getting up 4:30, 5 o’clock to be here on time, and there’s kids that are taking care of their family, like helping their family out, helping their parents out, getting siblings up in the morning, getting them ready. … They’re getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep and it is having a huge effect on kids.” Baldwin said studies show teens can suffer when they don’t get 8-to-9 hours of sleep. “Adolescents or teenagers were suffering from depression and anxiety, and what was the result of that. Why? What was happening? And the common denominator was lack of sleep, sleep deprivation,” Baldwin said. (Cestone, et al., Novato school district considers later start time (Oct. 20, 2016) KRON.)
On May 10, 2016, the Moraga School District School Board announced that in the fall, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (grades 6-8), the lone secondary school in the district, will delay its 7:50 a.m. start time by 40 minutes to 8:30 a.m. After the “Local Control Accountability Plan” called for consideration of a later start time, a School Site Council was formed to compile pertinent evidence and present it to parents and interested community members at a series of public meetings. During the months-long process, parents, students, and teachers expressed misgivings about how a later start time would affect homework, afternoon classes, work schedules, traffic, and extracurricular activities. Nonetheless, a survey of middle school parents found 86 percent approved a later start time. Ninety percent of the student body supported the change. Reorganizing bus routes proved to be the largest hurdle to implementing the new schedule. However, with the assistance of math teacher Karlene Steelman and creative thinking on the part of the Lamorinda Bus Transportation Agency, the district developed a new transportation plan. The new bus schedule will require longer rides and longer wait times for some students, and middle and elementary school students will share the same buses. There will apparently be no change to the 8:25 a.m. or 9:25 a.m. (late schedule) start times for the district’s three elementary schools. (Fancher, Moraga middle school to start later next year (May 31, 2016) East Bay Times.)
On December 8, 2015, the Lodi Unified School District school board discussed the possibility of delaying the current 7:20 a.m. high school start time. Parent and local dentist Scott Keithley “inspired” the discussion, having “come before the board several times with information from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics” recommending 8:30 a.m. or later middle and high school start times. To the extent discernible from the district website, it appears district middle schools may begin between 7:50 a.m. to 8:58 a.m., and elementary schools at 8 a.m. or later. Trustee George Neely was insistent that the district could make it work and that it would benefit the students. “No matter what, you’re going to make someone mad. If you don’t change it, you’ll make someone mad. You have to fall back on what’s best for the kids[.]” Trustee Ralph Womack, however, stated that he did not “agree with the change. I agree that kids need more sleep (but) I don’t agree that this will accomplish it. The feedback I see is not overwhelming … I think we should stop wasting any more time on this[.]” A survey found that 44% of staff oppose the change, and 27% support it so long as elementary school schedules remain unaffected. Principal Erik Sandstrom stated: “There’s pros and cons. A later time is great. Some students would take advantage and sleep in.” Apparently unaware of the pertinent research (see, § IV.D., supra, Will Students Squander the Opportunity for Extra Sleep?), Sandstrom continued, “But I don’t see statistics saying students get more sleep just because they start later[.]” As of December 2015, the district website reports 49 schools within its jurisdiction. (Cornejo, Lodi Unified still on the fence on changing high school start times (Dec. 10, 2015) Lodi News-Sentinel.)
In February 2015, the Davis Joint Unified School District School Board tasked a Later Start Committee with developing a plan to delay junior high and high school start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for the 2015-2016 school year. The district’s two high schools begin morning classes at 7:45 a.m. The district’s four junior high schools begin at 8:05 a.m. (Emerson and Da Vinci Junior High Schools) and 8:20 a.m. (Harper Junior High). Holmes Junior High begins at 8:08 a.m. The district’s nine elementary schools begin at 8:25 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. According to Madhavi Sunder, vice president of the Davis school board, “We are really experiencing a big cultural shift in thinking about the importance of sleep[.] [T]he science is showing us is this is a crucial health issue. Now we’re understanding that to be healthy and thrive, we need to sleep more.” The district’s junior and senior high schools serve about 4,200 students. Davis school board President Alan Fernandes called the American Academy of Pediatric’s policy statement a “call to action” that became a campaign topic during last year’s school board race. In November, the Davis board gained four new members, all of whom wanted to explore later start times. Fernandes said he has talked to the district’s athletic director, part of the dialogue that must occur if the district is to move forward with changes. “I’ve been told that a lot of districts have been trying to do this for years and have no traction[.]” Alex Chen, a senior at Davis Senior High School, said his parents make sure he gets enough sleep. But he said later start times could benefit students. He said sleep became most difficult last year when his class load included calculus, AP physics, AP biology, AP history and honors American literature. “Sleeping more allows time to focus[.] Often you’ll have a lot of homework every night, and just being able to focus and get it done efficiently is very important.” Yesenia Garcia, 17, said she finds it difficult to fall asleep early. She said she often does homework at night and hits the pillow late. That leaves her reluctant to climb out of bed to make the 7:45 a.m. opening bell at Davis Senior High. “First period I have English[.] I listen to the teacher talk. I don’t really want to talk, because I’m really tired. In the morning, nobody wants to do anything or be there. They want to be sleeping.” Dr. Steven Brass, former co-director of the Sleep Medicine Laboratory at the UC Davis Medical Center, said adolescents in general have what is known as a delayed sleep phase. “As they get older, their body rhythm changes to the point where they go to bed later and get up later[.]” As a result, “it would make more sense not to start (school) at 7 a.m. when they still need sleep. It would be wiser for the school to start a little later, especially for adolescents to be aligned with their biorhythms.” Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for teens. In the short term, it can cause behavioral and physiological changes and affect memory and mood. Sunder said she has seen changes in the sleep patterns of her own 12-year-old daughter, who starts junior high school next year. “This past year she grew more than a head[.] There has been a tremendous change in her sleep patterns, and she doesn’t get up in the mornings.” On the other hand, she said, her son, 9, still gets up at 6 a.m. and says, “Hey Mom, we don’t need to change start times.” By April 2015, the Later Start Committee was unable to reach a consensus as to how to proceed. The Committee proposed further study and planning, and educating the community about (a) the problem of student sleep deprivation and (b) the benefits of a later school start time. Dr. Ulfat Shaikh, Director of Healthcare Quality Integration at the University of California Davis Schools of Health told the school board that the research on this topic clearly favors a later school start time for teens, and urged the trustees to make the change “as soon as possible.” The board voted to defer the issue until January 2016. On November 9, 2015, Harvard’s renowned sleep expert Charles Czeisler was invited by the Committee to speak to the community about the sleep deprivation “crisis” facing America’s youth. Czeisler covered a lot of ground, including the costs to students’ physical, emotional, and mental health, as well as public health issues related to adolescent sleep deprivation. Czeisler recommended, inter alia, limited homework, classes starting no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and at least 11 hours between the end of the last scheduled school-sponsored activity and the start of next school day. Czeisler also noted the need for shared responsibility; i.e., parents setting 10 p.m. bedtimes and “militant[ly]” limiting the use of electronic devices. Czeisler discussed the skyrocketing diagnoses in teens, especially boys, of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “One in five high school boys in the United States is diagnosed with ADHD[.] Undoubtedly, some of them have ADHD, but the symptoms of sleep deficiency are indistinguishable from the symptoms of ADHD.” ADHD, Czeisler noted, is treated with amphetamines, which serve only to further interfere with sleep in teens improperly diagnosed with the disorder, creating a vicious cycle. The bottom line, Czeisler said, is students “are going to school to learn.” And sleep deprivation “is a key thing interfering with that.” The district has created a “Later Start Discussion” webpage. (Ternus-Bellamy, Sleep expert urges later school start times, less homework (Nov. 10, 2015) Davis Enterprise; Hudson, Late starts? Board will sleep on it (Apr. 3, 2015) Davis Enterprise; Editorial Board, Later school bells in high schools deserve an A+ (Mar. 17, 2015) Sacramento Bee; Kalb, Sacramento-area school districts consider later start times to accommodate sleep needs (Feb. 16, 2015) Sacramento Bee; Hudson, School district seeks input on later starts (Feb. 15, 2015) Davis Enterprise.)
As of February 2015, it was reported that the Folsom Cordova Unified School District may consider delaying start time for some of its high schools. Folsom, Cordova, and Vista del Lago High Schools all begin morning classes at 8 a.m., with zero periods beginning at 7 a.m. or 7:05 a.m. Folsom Lake High School and Kinney High School begin much later; i.e., at 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. The middle schools begin between 8:15 a.m. (W.E. Mitchell Middle School) and 8:50 a.m. (Folsom Middle and Sutter Middle School; 7:53 a.m. zero periods). Mills Middle School begins at 8:25 a.m. Elementary schools begin at 8:22 a.m., 8:25 a.m., and 9:10 a.m., with the latest start times reserved for first and second graders. School board president Teresa Stanley reports that she has been urging later school scheduling for 18 years. “The thing that always gets in the way of making that change is after-school sports[.] There is not as much travel time, not as much daylight, and a lot of schools already have to let kids out of school early on game days so they can get ready for their games.” Still, she said, it’s a “travesty that we have students going to school so early in the morning when we know from research that their brains are not awake, so they are not as ready to learn as they should be.” This year, Stanley gained an ally in Folsom High senior Robert Bender, the school board’s student trustee. Bender said discussions with other student leaders about later start times prompted him to pitch the idea at a recent board meeting. The proposal should come before the board later this year, he said. Stanley said later start times would be a boon for many parents.“Parents would say hallelujah[.] Trying to get those kids out of bed so early in the morning and get them going is not that easy. Their circadian rhythms are not prepared.” (Editorial Board, Later school bells in high schools deserve an A+ (Mar. 17, 2015) Sacramento Bee; Kalb, Sacramento-area school districts consider later start times to accommodate sleep needs (Feb. 16, 2015) Sacramento Bee.)
In September 2014, Sonora High School began an online survey, which by its terms appears directed to parents, inquiring whether the start of morning classes school be delayed by 20 minutes to 8 a.m. As of September 29, 2014, more than half of the more than 200 votes favored the later start time. If the change is approved, it would go into effect next school year. (Casiano, Would a later start help students? (Oct. 1, 2014) The Register.)
On September 16, 2014, parent Belinda Dong presented arguments and evidence in favor of delaying the 7:45 a.m. La Cañada High School (grades 7-12) start time. La Cañada Unified School District School Board President Ellen Multari stated, “It would be a difficult decision for us to just implement[.] We’d have to be very thoughtful about all the potential conflicts.” According to Superintendent Wendy Sinnette, “There is a necessity to try and keep in sync with your local schools and your Rio Hondo League[.] You’d be doing your students a disservice to have separate times.” Board members decided to seek feedback from parents at upcoming PTA meetings to see if the school community wished to pursue the matter further. Ms. Dong expressed confidence an educated community would support a change. The district’s elementary schools begin morning classes at 8:10 a.m. (Cardine, Mom: Teens need more sleep (Sept. 18, 2014) La Cañada Valley Sun.)
San Dieguito Union High School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt reports that the district may implement a flexible start time program wherein students may choose to begin as early as 7:30 a.m. and possibly as late as 9:30 a.m. According to Jason Viloria, the district’s executive director of educational services, the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ “Policy Statement” concerning secondary school start times has been shared with all the district’s principals, who have been asked to begin a conversation about the issue with their communities–faculty, parents and students. Viloria states that neither the district nor the school board is adopting any “over-arching policy or position[,]” rather the decision is being left up to individual schools. “Right now we want the schools to work with their community stakeholders to figure out what works best for them[.] It’s important that we don’t just say this is what it has to be.” The district’s six high school begin morning classes between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. (North Coast Alternative High School, 7 a.m.; Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon, 7:40 a.m.; San Dieguito Academy, 7:50 a.m.; Canyon Crest Academy, 8 a.m.; Sunset High, 8:30 a.m.) Middle schools begin at 7:40 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. (Carmel Valley and Diegueno, 8:30 a.m.; Earl Warren and Oak Crest, 7:40 a.m.) Viloria would not guarantee an implementation date, but stated flexible start times may be in place by next fall. The Del Mar Times reports, “Flexible start times may be a noble goal, but it doesn’t go far enough. The district’s board – which has historically been silent on the issue, if not downright hostile – needs to take the lead on this.” San Diego County Superintendent Randy Ward did not respond to the Del Mar Times’ request for a statement on later start times for county schools. (Sutton, Yet another study on the benefits of later school start times (Sept. 12, 2014) Del Mar Times.)
In the fall of 2014, Bakersfield Christian High School delayed the morning bell by 30 minutes to 8:30 a.m. in order to improve academic performance. (Seaman, Delay the morning bell, suggests paediatricians (Sept. 1, 2014) The Star Online [last video on webpage].)
Ted Barone, Ed.D., principal of Albany High School in the Albany Unified School District, has proposed delaying the 7:40 a.m. high school start time to 8:30 a.m. for 2013-2014. Barone posted a brief summary with links to pertinent literature from economists and sleep scientists. According the most recently posted bell schedule, morning classes at MacGregor High School begin at 8:57 a.m. on Mondays, 9:40 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. First period at Albany Middle School begins at 8 a.m., zero period at 7 a.m. However, Principal Peter Parenti has issued a memorandum (apparently based upon Dr. Barone’s research) recommending that Superintendent Marla Stephenson cancel the middle school zero period. Parenti concludes, “The positive implications of a later school start time are well-supported in the research.” Elementary school classes begin at 8:30 a.m. The school board apparently approved an 8 a.m. start time for the 2013-2014 school year at Albany High School and an 8:10 a.m. start time for 2014-2015. An undated apparently student-authored article notes that (apparently) following the initial start time change (apparently erroneously referred to as taking place in 2012-2013), tardiness was significantly reduced, teachers reported fewer sleeping students and a “noticeable improvement” in students’ energy during morning classes. Two teachers noted no academic improvement, not inconsistent with research showing the benefits of modest (20 min.) delays may be difficult to ascertain. (See, Perkinson-Gloor, Lemola, & Grob, in press, Sleep duration, positive attitude toward life, and academic achievement: The role of daytime tiredness, behavioral persistence, and school start times (Jan. 2013) J. Adolescence, pp. 1-8; Kaludi, Reviewing the Late Start, albanyhighca.org; Burress, New Albany High Start Time — 8 A.M. (Aug. 25, 2013) Albany Patch; Patch Staff, AMS Principal Recommends Canceling ‘Zero’ Period (Mar. 22, 2013) Albany Patch; Burress, Later Daily Start Time for Albany High Proposed (Jan. 18, 2013) Albany Patch.)
On July 30, 2013, the Lake Elsinore School District issued a press release reporting the bell schedule will change to meet state Common Core Standards. The district’s three high schools will delay the start of the school day by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Canyon Lake Middle School will delay its start time by 6 minutes to 7:46 a.m. Terra Cotta Middle School’s start time will remain unchanged at 7:40 a.m. David A. Brown Middle School and Elsinore Middle School will advance start times. District elementary schools begin at 8 a.m.
In a November 2012 workshop, Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Chris Steinhauser discussed the possibility of pushing back the current 7:50 a.m. high school start time. The superintendent recognized the change may not be popular with parents and teachers, but that it would serve students’ best interests. Steinhauser explained, “There are tons of research studies that say that high school students should start school around 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. or even later. I am not proposing that we start schools at 10 a.m., but what I am proposing is that we place schools on an 8:45 or 9 a.m. start time, which would mean that students get out an hour later.” Zero period classes would be delayed by an hour to 7:15 a.m. An online survey found an even split among parent-respondents favoring and opposing a schedule change. At a January 29, 2013 board meeting, two possible plans were presented. Plan A would save the district more than $1.2 million in adjusting and consolidating transportation schedules, and aims to start and end all high schools an hour later — from 8:50 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Plan A also would make some schedule changes for elementary, K-8 and middle schools in the district — moving middle school start times to 7:50 a.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m., and starting elementary schools at either 8 or 9 a.m. Under Plan B, the district would save slightly more than $1 million and all high schools would remain at their current start time of 7:50 a.m. Middle schools would start at 9 a.m. and recess at 3:40 p.m. and elementary schools would begin at 8 or 9 a.m. Virginia Torres, president of the Teachers Association of Long Beach, said “the district should do more research on how the changes would affect the community and individual schools. ‘This is a very big change and it seems to us that the district hasn’t really stepped out and asked the parents and teachers. We have concerns about student safety, conflicts with after-school sports and extracurricular activities, all those things need to be taken into consideration. We need more input from parents and the community as a whole.’ “ On March 24, 2013, the board voted to delay 2013-2014 middle school start times by one hour to 9 a.m. The change at Hamilton Middle School will be only 20 minutes since the school currently begins at 8:40 a.m. The board otherwise left the bell schedule intact, but approved an 8:50 a.m. start time for a new school, McBride High School. The district reports “educat[ing] nearly 81,000 students in 84 public schools in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, and Avalon on Catalina Island.” (Addison, LBUSD Middle Schools to Begin an Hour Later Starting Fall 2013 (Apr. 2, 2013) Long Beach Post; Ceasar, Long Beach middle schools to start day an hour later (Mar. 25, 2013) Los Angeles Times; Puente, LBUSD’s proposed later school start times may boost achievement, research shows (Feb. 3, 2013) Press-Telegram; Puente, Long Beach school board delays vote on start time changes (Feb. 1, 2013) Press-Telegram; Minasian, LBUSD Officials Hear Community Opposition On Later School Start Times (Jan. 30, 2013) Gazettes; Puente, Long Beach Unified school start time changes proposals meet stiff opposition (Jan. 29, 2013) Press-Telegram; ZOE’S WORLD: Bad Idea To Push School Start Time (Jan. 29, 2013) Gazettes [student editorial opposing later high school start time]; Puente, Later Long Beach high school start time to be discussed at Tuesday meeting (Jan. 27, 2013) Press-Telegram; Editorial, Later school start times in Long Beach Unified deserve a closer look (Dec. 12, 2012) Press-Telegram; Puente, Long Beach schools consider later start time (Dec. 5, 2012) Press-Telegram.)
On March 12, 2013, the Ukiah Unified School District school board voted to delay the Eagle Peak Middle School start time by 35 minutes to 8:05 a.m. Board member Anne Molgaard expressed disappointment the 7:30 a.m. high school start time would not also be shifted. “We can’t change kids’ biology, and as adults, it’s our job to adjust to kids, not their job to adjust to us, because they can’t.” Molgaard added that later classes would increase students’ grades, and tardiness, absences, and health problems would decrease. “I don’t think the status quo is working, and if you talk to students and teachers, they’re not satisfied.” A later high school start time was rejected due to increased transportation expenses; i.e., additional bus driver salaries. Board member Megan Van Sant stated, “I feel like the decisions we’re making tonight are going to be about bus schedules rather than what’s best for students.” Remarkably, elementary school students who used to attend school in Hopland are now picked up by the 7:05 a.m. bus for 8:40 a.m. classes at Oak Manor Elementary. Retiring Oak Manor Principal Jennifer De Vinny stated “[t]hat is a failure on our part to serve that community. I am outraged.” (Frederiksen, School board OKs new start time for Eagle Peak (Mar. 14, 2013) The Ukiah Daily J.)
After sleep-deprived high school students “flooded” the office of adolescent medicine specialist Linda Schack complaining of headaches, abdominal pain and fatigue, Dr. Schack and fellow physician Mini Mehra advised the Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s Medical Advisory Board to research adolescent circadian rhythms. For 2012-2013, morning classes at Mira Costa High School start at 8 a.m., but for nearly one-third of the student body (i.e., 756 students), zero period classes begin at 7 a.m. In October 2012, the school board directed staff to meet with administrators, teachers and students to develop a student-driven schedule. First period for middle school students begins at 8:10 a.m.; zero period at 7:30 a.m. Elementary school start times range between 8 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. (Dryden, Mira Costa will look into zero-period, start time to address teen sleep issues (Nov. 14, 2012) Beach Reporter.)
A June 2012 announcement (now expired) at the New Haven Unified School District website notes that in order to alleviate traffic congestion, start times at James Logan High will be delayed by 5 minutes to 8:20 a.m., middle schools delayed 10 minutes to 8:40 a.m., and elementary schools will remain at 8 a.m. (New Haven to Make Slight Adjustments to School Start Times (Jun. 11, 2012) Union City Patch.)
San Ysidro High School in the Sweetwater Union High School District has posted a (now deleted) memorandum to its website announcing its intention to delay the 2012-2013 school start time to 9:25 a.m. from 8:55 a.m. in order to address the “state budget crisis[.]”
Students attending Early College High School in Costa Mesa have the opportunity to earn an A.A. degree from Coastline Community College along with their high school diploma. Most students earn the degree in the optional fifth year, the remainder go on to four-year colleges. Classes begin at 9:15 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. on Fridays. The schedule is “based on research that suggests too many teens come to school sleepy.” Students must apply for admission and there are no sports teams. The Orange County Register ranks Early College High School number five academically in Orange County. Similarly structured Middle College High School in Santa Ana is ranked number two. (Martindale, Early College High keeps kids college-focused (Dec. 15, 2011) OC Register.)
In order to improve academic performance and promote additional sleep among students, Polytechnic School will push back start times for morning classes from 7:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. (School for Sleepyheads, ArkLaTex.com; Starting School Later for Better Academic Performance (Aug. 29, 2011) Fox 47 News.)
Relying upon literature evidencing the scientific basis for delayed sleep patterns among adolescents, Campbell Hall secondary school administrators “unanimously” agreed to push back morning classes to 8:50 a.m. four days per week, and 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. The schedule change was part of an overall academic redevelopment plan devised over an 18-month period by a 21-member Trimester Task Force comprised of representatives from each department, college counseling, and secondary administration. Committee members worked closely with the larger faculty to “brainstorm ideas” during the process. (Campbell Hall (Jul. 15, 2011) Upper School Academic Calendar.)
Gunn High School will delay start times from 7:55 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. in order to improve student health. (Van der Kleut, School Will Start 30 Minutes Later Next Year at Gunn (Jun. 7, 2011) Palo Alto Patch.)
In 2009, the Menlo-Atherton High School Teen Sleep Project received a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for its work in teaching freshman the biology and importance of good sleep hygiene. Former clinical nurse Eileen Van Rheenen helped organize the project, bringing in fatigue expert Mark Rosekind and Stanford Professor William Dement to design the program. Students from Professor Dement’s Sleep and Dreams course teach basic sleep principles to Menlo-Atherton students. Menlo-Atherton students are recruited to serve as “ ‘sleep ambassadors’ to preach the gospel of adequate sleep to their classmates.” The experts presented the latest sleep research and successful school-based reforms to the Sequoia Union High School District school board and other members of the education community. In January 2010, the school board directed the district’s four high schools to delay morning classes until 8:30 a.m., or later, for at least 60% of each school’s population (i.e., students carrying six rather than seven classes), by the Fall of 2010. Classes at Menlo-Atherton previously began at 7:50 a.m. The 2011-2012 Menlo-Atherton bell schedule reflects an 8:45 a.m. first period on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday; Wednesday, 9:25 a.m.; Thursday, 9:40 a.m. After later start times were implemented at Woodside High School, Principal David Reilly reported, “When the students’ first class is at 9:05, they’re on time, they’re coming ready to work. They’re not sitting there with a cup of coffee, with their heads down, half asleep.” The Woodside 2011-2012 bell schedule reflects zero period begins at 7 a.m., first period at 8 a.m., and second period (when 60% of students begin) at 9 a.m. Carlmont and Sequoia high schools each requested and received a one-year extension, implementing later schedules in the Fall of 2011. According to the Carlmont 2011-2012 bell schedule, first period begins at 8 a.m. four days a week, and at 8:53 a.m. on Wednesdays (for students carrying seven classes). Second period begins at 8:57 a.m. four days a week, and at 9:43 a.m. on Wednesdays (for students carrying six classes). The 2011-2012 Sequoia High School bell schedule reflects an 8:30 a.m. start time for all students. Stanford’s Rafael Pelayo advises that getting enough sleep is as beneficial as proper nutrition and exercise. “It’s good for your health. Teens need more sleep; we already knew this. But we try and treat them like mini-adults. We cannot treat them the same way as an adult, though; they need more sleep and we adults need to acknowledge that.” (Petersen, The perils of sleep deprivation (Mar. 11, 2012) CBS Sunday Morning; Diener, Sand, & Ortega, Students’ dreams of sleeping in come true next fall (Feb. 2, 2011) IV Raven Report 5, pp. 1-2; Getting Smart about Sleep (Feb. 2011) 58 Tri Vocis 5, p. 17; Brydolf, Class acts: Sleep Project helps high-schoolers shore up on shut-eye (Sept. 30, 2010) Cal. School Boards Assoc., Cal. School Mag.; James, Districts pushing back bells for the sake of teens’ sleep (Aug. 12, 2010) SCOPE; Staff Rep., Back to school, and sleeping in (Aug. 12, 2010) The Examiner; Yeh, Carlmont start time to be pushed back (Feb. 2010) The Highlander, pp. 1, 10; Bishop, Students in Sequoia Union High School District may get more time to snooze (Jan. 5, 2010) Mercury News.)
CANADA — On January 7, 2015, Halton District School Board Chair and Oakville Trustee Kelly Amos moved the board to authorize a study addressing the feasibility of rearranging busing schedules to accommodate later school starting times. The motion — intended to give teenagers more time to sleep and, presumably, a better chance at learning — was unanimously endorsed by the other 10 trustees. Currently, Robert Bateman High School has the earliest starting time of all Halton public high schools at 8:05 a.m.; Georgetown District High School has the latest at 8:58 a.m. The most common start times in Halton public high schools are between 8:10-8:15 a.m. with the next most common range being 8:25-8:45 a.m.The board directed the district’s transportation consortium, Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS), to study the possibility of delaying bus schedules to accommodate classes starting between 8:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. “This realignment of start times would allow for a later start in the day for many of the Halton District School Board’s high schools, and would allow students the benefit of more sleep and would help to improve academic grades, mental health and physical health,” Amos said in her rationale for requesting the start times/busing schedules study. In her report Amos stated bluntly that a lack of sleep increases a student’s risk of failure in school. The HSTS serves Halton’s public and Catholic boards, and transports more than 28,000 students on 453 buses, mini buses, vans and wheelchair accessible vehicles daily at a cost of more than $18 million per year. An interim report from the HSTS, with its findings, is to be brought back to the public board in early March. (Whitnell, Halton public board looking into later start to high school day (Jan. 14, 2015) insidehalton.com.)
The Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry has received interim certification from the Ministry of Education to begin instruction in 2013-2014. The private high school will begin morning classes at 9:45 a.m. so that teens get sufficient sleep. The school is accepting applications from around the world for as many as 75 students. Tuition is $7,000 annually. (Dedyna, New high school will cater to teens’ interests, lifestyles (May 11, 2013) Times Colonist.)
Joan Powell, Director of Education for the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, reports that the board will have a bigger focus on student mental health and that changing to a 9:30 a.m. high school start time (from an unstated earlier time) would be one of the suggestions. Powell indicated that the schedule change could be implemented at Thunder Bay high schools as early as September 2013. Lakehead Public Schools switched to a 9:30 a.m. high school start time about nine years ago. Catherine Siemieniuk, Director of Education for Lakehead Public Schools, stated the district adjusted the high school start time because it made school life better for students and turned out to be a more efficient use of transportation. Siemieniuk noted that the later start did not interfere with student jobs or extra-curricular activities because lunch was shortened to allow for a 3:30 p.m. dismissal. Siemieniuk added that if new research showed 10 a.m. was a better time for students to start school they would revisit the idea of changing the start time. Reut Gruber, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, advised that students going through puberty produce the hormone melatonin later. That hormone tells someone when to go to sleep but the signal to wake up is also set later. This, Gruber concludes, means high school students could benefit from starting the school day later. (Labine, Sleeping in (Sept. 4, 2012) tbnewswatch.)
The Regina Catholic Schools Division will delay high school start times to 9 a.m. from an unstated earlier time beginning in September 2012. The division cited its “continued focus on the priority of improved student learning” as the reason behind the change. In addition, the division notes the new start time will more closely align with elementary schools in the Catholic system, and educational research “supports a later-morning start time as being beneficial to adolescents[.]” Lunch breaks will be shorter “to ensure students remain focused throughout the day.” “[E]arly bird” classes for band and choral students will be delayed from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. The affected schools include Archbishop M.C. O’Neill, Michael A. Riffel, Dr. Martin LeBoldus, and Miller Comprehensive. (Schools let sleepy teens lie in (Sept. 3, 2012) CNC News Canada; Granley, Regina Catholic high schools to start later (Feb. 7, 2012) Leader-Post.)
The Thames Valley District School Board has received a feasibility study proposing that start times be delayed until 10 a.m. for secondary school students. Twenty-eight Thames Valley high schools presently begin morning classes between 8:10 a.m. and 9 a.m. The circadian rhythms of adolescents, ensuring adequate sleep among students, and the success of later start times at the Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute were cited among the reasons for making the change. (Clarkson, School board looks at late start times for high schools (Dec. 8, 2011) London Community News.)
In 2009, Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute high school in Toronto pushed back its start time from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Since the start time change, data shows lower absenteeism, improved grades on most (but not all) fronts. By 2013, it was reported students were sleeping more and missing fewer classes, though some still sometimes arrive late to class. Teachers report that students are alert, relaxed and ready to learn in first period. Behaviour in class and in the hallways has also improved. Students “overwhelmingly and unanimously” supported the change. Principal Jennifer Chan reports the later first period has led to improved health and well-being for her students. Chan also reported her students were 2.5 times more likely than the students in the control school (which apparently begins at 9 a.m.) to get nine hours sleep. The district’s second research report, concerning the 2011-2012 academic yeart, noted, “Results for the late start at ECCI show both the promise of the program and the difficulty in making definitive statements[.] … Although there are modest positive improvements within student achievement indicators,”standardized test results in Grade 10 math are down, as was Grade 9 credit accumulation. (Notably, the effects of middle school start times persist into tenth grade. (Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, p. 981; Edwards, Do Schools Begin Too Early? (Summer 2012) 12 Education Next 3.) However, on average, math grades increased by 4 per cent; English marks went up and then down, but remain above the baseline average. As for attendance, the most dramatic change was for 17-year-olds, who with an early start were absent 22.7 per cent of the time on average, which went down to 15.9 per cent after the change. The rate however, is still much higher than the board’s average of 9.6 per cent. Guidance and student services head Heather Gillett said it gives student a “humane” start to the day. “They are in better frame of mind” when they arrive, she adds, which “sets the stage for learning.” For the board, it’s a win-win, Gillett added, because it’s a positive change that costs nothing. (Rushowy, Toronto’s late-start high school says absenteeism down, alertness up (May 15, 2013) thestar.com; Harris, Grades improve if classes start later, study finds (Aug. 16, 2011) The Gazette; Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute’s Late Start: Year One Interim Rep. (Apr. 2011) Toronto School District Research Rep.; Crawford, Toronto school starts an hour later and grades improve (Jan. 18, 2011) thestar.com; Macleans.ca, Why you should let your teenager sleep in (Feb. 11, 2011) On Campus.)
COLORADO — On December 14, 2017, the Littleton Public Schools School Board voted 5-0 to adopt new start times beginning in the fall of 2018. At its website, the district reports: “Research tells us that a later school start time positively impacts alertness, mental health, wellness and behavior in high school and middle school students, which means students are better prepared to learn. The new school start times better align with the latest research that shows teens’ sleep patterns are different than those of younger children and adults.” The district’s 3 high schools will delay morning classes by 70 minutes to 8:30 a.m., the middle school will delay by 59 minutes to 8:54 a.m. The district’s 13 elementary schools now starting at 8:36 a.m.and 9:06 a.m. (except Centennial (8:16 a.m.) and Field (8:40 a.m.)) will advance start times to 7:50 a.m. and 8 a.m. Parent Tamiko Abo initiated a petition, supported by relevant research, opposing earlier elementary school start times. Abo and those signing her petition apparently represented a minority viewpoint as Superintendent Brian Ewert noted that 65% of parents and staff supported “flipping” the elementary and secondary school schedules. Ewert contends, “The research around elementary sleep isn’t as significant[.] There are some studies out there. It’s just not as compelling and I wouldn’t say it’s been replicated over and over.” (Ziverts, LPS Board Approves Changes to School Start Times for 2018-2019 school year (Jan. 11, 2018) Denver Post; Foa & Gilbert, LPS Start Times (Dec. 14, 2017) ArapahoeXtra; Garcia, Littleton considers changing school start times (Mar. 9, 2017) 9 News)
In January 2017, Cherry Creek Schools reported that a survey of approximately 25,000 parents, teachers, and staff found “overwhelming” support for later secondary school scheduling. District leaders are considering a plan to delay the starting time for its 7 high schools from 7:10 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. The district’s 10 middle schools would shift from 7:50—8:10 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. and 40 elementary schools would advance by 65 minutes to 7:55 a.m. Assistant Superintendent Scott Siegfried reports receiving “weekly e-mails from families who say that getting up at 5:30 a.m. to make sure they can get to the start of classes on time, is just too early[.] Their kids are exhausted.” Siegfried also asserts, contrary to the literature (e.g., Keller, Smith, Gilbert, Bi, Haak, & Buckhalt, Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (2015) 107 J. Educational Psychology 1, pp. 236-245), that elementary students have a greater willingness to learn at earlier times. Citing research to support their position, many parents of elementary school children oppose advancing start times for their children. The proposed schedule changes would have no impact on the budget. On March 13, 2017, the board voted unanimously to adopt new start times beginning in the fall of 2017. The schedule as modified would start high students at 8:20 a.m., middle school students at 8:50 a.m., and elementary school students at 8 a.m. (Schimke, Two Colorado districts shift to later high school start times — for very different reasons (Jul. 21, 2017) Chalkbeat; Roberts, Why Cherry Creek School Board Voted to Change Start Times (Mar. 14, 2017) Westword; Denver 7, Cherry Creek School District approves new start times for students (Mar. 13, 2017) Denver Post; Allen, Cherry Creek School District unanimously votes to change start times (Mar. 13, 2017) Fox 31; Schimke, One Colorado district moving toward later high school start times — maybe — while another shelves the idea (Jan. 19, 2017) Chalkbeat; Whaley, Cherry Creek looks to join wave of later school starts for older students (Jan. 19, 2017) Denver Post.)
During the 2014-2015 school year, School District 51 began considering ways to delay middle and high school start times. District high schools begin at 7:25 a.m. (Central, Fruita Monument, Grand Junction, Palisade), 7:55 a.m. (Gateway), and 8 a.m. (R-5, Valley). Middle schools begin at 7:20 a.m. (Fruita, Grand Mesa, Mt. Garfield), 7:25 a.m. (Bookcliff, Orchard Mesa, West), 7:30 a.m. (East, Redlands), and 7:55 a.m. (Gateway). In May of 2016, Student Transportation of America presented six options for reconfiguring student bus transportation to accommodate new start times. The challenges to modifying school scheduling include reconfiguring bus schedules and minimizing disruption of extra curricular activities. The district’s 24 elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m., 8:45 a.m., or 8:50 a.m., except for Chipeta, Gateway, New Emerson, and Dual Immersion Academy, which start at 8 a.m. No changes are anticipated before the fall of 2017. (Moore, Students weigh in on D-51 school start time debate (Jul. 26, 2016) KKCO News 11; Gonzales, District 51 Explores Idea of Later School Start Times for Teens (May 14, 2016) Nexstar.)
In February of 2011, Fairview High School in the Boulder Valley School District considered pushing back start times 40-45 minutes from 7:35 a.m. to provide students with additional sleep time, but implemented a 8:05 a.m. start time instead, according to the school’s bell schedule. Boulder High School delayed its start time by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. for 2011-2012, starting one day weekly (Wednesdays) at 9 a.m. (The effect of the delays at Fairview High and Boulder High were examined by CAREI in a study published here.) The district-wide bell schedule shows other district high schools beginning at 7:30 a.m. (Broomfield, Centaurus, Monarch), 7:35 a.m. (New Vista High), 7:55 a.m. (Arapahoe Ridge, Peak to Peak), 8 a.m. (Nederland), and 8:30 a.m. (Boulder Prep, Justice High). Middle school start times range from 7:55 a.m. to 8:40 a.m., and elementary schools start between 7:50 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. In January 2015, a task force comprised of teachers, administrators, and parents began “researching and developing a plan that maximizes success for all students, using time as a variable and asset.” (Bounds, BVSD students, parents raise concerns about later high school start (Jan. 18, 2016) Daily Camera; Padorr, Boulder high school considers later school start time (Feb. 28, 2011) Fox 31 Denver.)
Beginning in 2012-2013, Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 will delay high school start times by 90 minutes to 9 a.m. Chief Academic Officer Lori Haukeness stated that the change was predicated on research showing high school students learn more efficiently and better later in the day. A district representative advises that the middle school start time will also be delayed, from 7:20 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Elementary school start times will advance from 8:30 to 8 a.m. (Maresh, School day will change (Jun. 18, 2012) CortezJournal.com.)
Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, Academy School District 20 will delay high school classes, now beginning as early as 7:05 a.m., to 7:45 a.m. According to the 2012-2013 district bell schedule, the Aspen Valley High School start time will remain at 8:55 a.m. The same bell schedule reflects that middle schools, now starting as early as 7:25 a.m., will be delayed to times between 7:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. District leaders (apparently unaware that 8:30 a.m. is the earliest start time proposed by any expert for middle or high school students), expect the new start time will improve attendance and student focus. (Collacott, Academy school district goes for later start times (Mar. 13, 2012) Arvada Press; Godfrey, School start time to change in District 20 (Mar. 7, 2012) KOAA; District 20 Start Times To Change Next Year(Mar. 7, 2012) KKTV; Iodice, For D-20 high schoolers, more sleep coming in the fall (Mar. 7, 2012) The Gazette.)
As part of a plan to improve transportation efficiency, Pueblo City middle school students will begin morning classes at 8:30 a.m., one hour later in 2010. High school start times will remain at 7:30 a.m. (Perez, Some to pay more for school lunches: Both Pueblo districts also alter class times for efficiency (Aug. 2, 2011) The Pueblo Chieftain.)
CONNECTICUT — In October 2014 it was reported that Greenwich Public Schools school board member Peter von Braun, Ph.D., was spearheading an effort to delay the present 7:30 a.m. high school start time to 8:30 a.m. or later. The district’s three middle schools begin morning classes at 7:45 a.m., the eleven elementary schools begin at 8:15 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. On May 26, 2015, two physicians and a former member of the Wilton school board gave presentations at a public educational forum. Superintendent William McKersie stated that his first priority was ensuring the protection of “the whole student. [¶] I care about the intellectual rigor, but I also care about civic dedication and the well-being of our students.” McKersie is also reported to have stated, “the research is very, very, very sparse on any academic boost from this change,” an observation which is patently false. (See, § III.A., supra, Academic Performance.) Some parents expressed their disappointment that the AAP Adolescent Start Time Policy Statement was omitted from the district’s start time survey. In November 2015, McKersie reported no changes would be implemented before 2017. At a December 17, 2015 board meeting, “[p]assionate parents, many of them health care professionals,” urged that the school start time committee be given a “policy directive or mandate” to direct their work. Amy Badini, the parent of two Greenwich High graduates and a current sophomore, said she’d been working on the start time issue for over a decade. Badini stated that as former co-chair of the district Wellness Committee she met with four prior superintendents on this issue. “This is not new. It is not going away. And it’s time to make it happen. I’d like you to tell me of another initiative that has the potential to positively effect approximately 4,500 students. This goes across socio-economic status. This will be a small step to closing the achievement gap.” Badini reported that the presence of later start time opponents on the start time committee was “counter-productive” and “disingenuous.” Superintendent McKersie defended the district’s timeline, noting, “Education is littered with good ideas that failed at implementation[.]” McKersie reported that other districts had taken a similar length of time to study and plan the change. Heidi Scharfman, the parent of a 2015 graduate, described her daughter as much healthier now that she is in college. “She has no need for energy drinks and caffeine now. None of her classes start earlier than 8:30 a.m.” On June 10, 2016, thirty-three health professionals authored an op-ed piece urging the school board to adopt later school scheduling. “We view moving to a later school start time to be a practical and necessary public health measure.” On September 22, 2016, the board voted 5-3 to delay the middle and high school start times by 15 and 60 minutes, respectively. The elementary school start times remain unchanged. (Borsuk, Later start times for Greenwich Public Schools approved (Sept. 23, 2016) Greenwich Time; Editors, Time has come for new school schedules (Jun. 12, 2016) Greenwich Time; Op-ed: Health experts endorse changing start times (Jun. 10, 2016) Greenwich Time; Later Start Start Time Advocates Press Board of Ed to Give SST Committee a Mandate (Dec. 20, 2015 GreenwichFreePress.com; Schott, Parents upset about school start time survey (May 30, 2015) greenwhichtime.com; Ramesh, Expert Panel Explores Delayed School Start Times for Greenwich (May 27, 2015) Greenwich Free Press; von Braun, von Braun urges later start times for Greenwich Public Schools (Jan. 16, 2015) Greenwich-Post; Editorial, The benefits of later high school start times (Oct. 7, 2014) greenwich time.com; Schott, Would later start help Greenwich High students? (Oct. 6, 2014) greenwichtime.com.)
On January 7, 2015, the Guilford County Schools School Board heard “strong opinions” from parents both opposing and favoring a delay in the 7:25 a.m. Guilford High School start time. Middle schools begin morning classes at 7:50 a.m. (Abraham Baldwin) or 8 a.m. (Elisabeth C. Adams); four elementary schools begin at 9 a.m. Craig Mullett and Dr. Craig Canapari offered an overview of the benefits of additional sleep for high school students. Dr. Canapari stated that he treats teens whose biggest problem is a lack of sleep, which can lead to anxiety, depression, poor impulse control, emotional problems and decreased motivation. Surveys show that less than 10 percent of high school students get the 9-10 recommended hours of sleep, and sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of car accidents, the biggest cause of death for teens. Mullett reporting becoming interested in the subject after noticing high school students waiting for the school bus at 6:30 a.m. “Not a single study I found said it is better for high school to start earlier[.] All said it is better to start later. [¶] The research is clear[.] The challenge is how do we get this to happen.” Superintendent Paul Freeman advised that there are many moving parts involved in the equation, including the timing of after school activities, child care issues and students specific schedules, some of which take them outside the high school to other programs in other towns. “This sort of move is difficult[.] There is no way to do it without moving other aspects — it will have a ripple effect.” Freeman stated the district has three options: (1) do nothing; (2) push the entire schedule back for all of the town’s schools; or, (3) start the elementary schools first, then the middle and high schools. If the district were to open the high school and middle school at the same time, it would cost a half- million dollars to add the necessary buses to accomplish that, he said. “I don’t feel prepared to add that to next year’s budget[.]” Dr. Pamela Petersen-Crair responded, “The evidence is clear[.] For a school district that cares so much about learning, it’s time to make a change.” Pediatrician Karen Goldberg added, “I don’t think shifting the start time a half an hour or 45 minutes makes it impossible for students to take part in extracurricular activities[.] People do not realize the impact of a lack of sleep. I see kids who are depressed, anxious, being treated for ADHD who say they get five or six hours of sleep a night. These 15- and 16-year-old aren’t going to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. [¶] This is putting a lot of stress on these kids[.] I don’t think anyone should be out at a bus stop before 7 a.m.” Parent Kim Giles stated, “I don’t want to see a five-year-old out at the bus stop at 7 a.m[.]” Giles reported that the younger kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, and to be up at 6 a.m., they would have to be in bed around 6 p.m. the night before. Guilford High School Guidance Department Chairman Tammy Lizotte opposed any change in the high school start time. “My concern is we have a good high school graduation rate and we have enriched students, and if we shift the high school schedule, we will take away from the uniqueness[.] We offer the opportunity to create an individualized experience, and by shifting schedules these individualized plans will be impacted.” Lizotte reported that there are opportunities for those who need it to start later in the morning. The investigation of the benefits of later starting times for the older students is among the school board’s “list of priorities” for 2015-2016. According to board chairman William Bloss, “It’s been on the table for years[.] It’s really driven by medical science — it seems like every year or two there is a study that describes the advantages to later start times for teens and how medically and educationally it is in the students’ best interest.” (Ramunni, Guilford parents sound off on later start times for high school (Jan. 13, 2015) Shoreline Times; Ramunni, Guilford weighs later start times for high school students (Nov. 29, 2014) New Haven Register.)
To save $905,000 in transportation expenses, Bridgeport Public Schools will delay most district elementary and middle school start times by 10 minutes to 8:50 a.m. in 2013-2014, with some middle schools adopting different start times according to the proposed bell schedule. Blackham, John Winthrop, and Read middle schools will change from 8 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. Retaining current start times will be Discovery, 8:40 a.m., Six to Six, 8:40 a.m., Learning Center, 8:15 a.m., Curiale, 8 a.m., and Park City Academy, 7:50 a.m. High school start times, now ranging from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., will not be be affected: VOAG, 7:25 a.m.; Aquaculture & Park City Academy, 7:50 a.m.; Bassick, Central, & Harding, 7:53 a.m.; Fairfield Wheeler & the Bridgeport Military Academy, 7:55 a.m.; Learning Center, 8:15 a.m. Three Technical High Schools will retain current start times: Bullard Havens, 7:30 a.m., Emmett O’Brien, 7:30 a.m., and Platt, 7:40 a.m. Charter school start times will be delayed or remain unchanged: Achieve First (elementary and middle schools) will retain a 7:15 a.m. start time and New Beginnings Family Academy (K-8) will retain its 7:45 a.m. start time. Park City Prep (grades 6-8) will delay its start time from 7:40 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. and Bridge Academy (grades 7-12) will delay morning classes from 8 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. Two private schools will have their start times delayed, Fairfield County Seventh-day Aventist School (K-8), 8 a.m. to 8:35 a.m., and Bridgeport Hope School (elementary), 8:15 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. Three middle schools and five parochial schools will advance start times. (Lambeck, Bell will ring 10 minutes later for some city schools (May 29, 2013) ctpost.com; Lambeck, District flirts with changing school bus times (Apr. 29, 2013) ctpost.com.)
The Hotchkiss School shifted the start of its school day from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. in part due to Dr. Owen’s 2009 study (see, infra, R.I.; supra, § IV.C.) at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island. (Saha, Examining Student Sleep Patterns and Homework Loads (Oct. 19, 2012) The News [official student newspaper of Choate Rosemary Hall].)
Following Academic Dean Jon Willson’s research into the benefits of later start times for adolescents, Headmaster Willy MacMullen pushed back Taft School start times from 7:50 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., a move “strongly endorsed” by faculty. (Sleep Time: A later start to the academic day (Jul. 6, 2011) Taft News.)
In June 2011, parent and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Carol Steiner, addressed the Amity Regional School District # 5 School Board, explaining that the current 7:25 a.m. high school start time conflicts with adolescent sleep/wake patterns and studies have shown teens benefit from later class schedules. (Thiel, Mom appeals to board: ‘School starts too early’ (Jun. 15, 2011) AmityObserver.com; see also, Schaefer, Is Your Teen Sleep Deprived? (Jan. 28, 2012) Buffalo Grove Patch [Connecticut and Illinois certified teacher and academic coach Sue Schaefer urges a delay in start times].) Minutes from the August 2011 Board of Education meeting reflect the adoption of a later high school schedule was rejected in part due to a study reviewed by the superintendent that found “such a change for motivated and committed students has not shown improvements in attendance or grades.” While this description appears rather hyperbolic (since no start time study has ever attempted to discern intrinsic levels of student motivation or commitment), it likely alludes to the recent study by economist Peter Hinrichs (see, §§ III.A., IV.C.). Bell schedules for the district’s two middle schools reflect a 7:47 a.m. start time.
DELAWARE — On May 14, 2015, a divided and apparently incomplete Cape Henlopen School District school board remained in a 3-3 deadlock over how to modify school start times. Without mentioning specific times, the board split over whether to assign middle and high school students to an early school schedule, or whether to start elementary school students first. Cape High presently begins morning classes at 7:55 a.m., Beacon Middle starts at 8 a.m., and Mariner Middle at 8:10 a.m. The elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (Shields and Rehoboth) and 7:25 a.m. (H.O. Brittingham and Milton). Board members favoring later scheduling for secondary school students pointed to the sleep-wake pattern of adolescents. Two students voiced their support for earlier middle and high school start times, with Hayley Talbot pointing to potential problems for student-athletes with later school scheduling. Student Mackenzie Schmidt argued, “You think that we will get more sleep if we start later, but you are wrong.” (In fact, Ms. Schmidt is wrong. See, § IV.D., supra.) Apparently no board members cited studies concerning elementary school start times. (See, § IV, supra.) (Staff, What time will Cape’s schools start? (May 29, 2015) Cape Gazette.)
The Milford School District will delay 2012-2013 start times at Milford Central Academy and Milford High School by 50 minutes to 8:25 a.m. four days per week, and to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, while advancing the start time at Milford Middle School by 5 minutes to 7:30 a.m. Many of the school teachers and staff believe that the hours would benefit the students by allowing them to be more awake. Asserting that students would do better in their education, School Board official Gary Wolfe said, “Little kids are up early, older kids not so much.” Elementary schools will start at 7:30 a.m. or 7:45 a.m. (Goss, Milford school board sets new hours at all 7 schools (Jul. 10, 2012) MilfordBeacon.com; Gloss, School Board Reviews New Start Times (Jun. 29, 2012) Milfordlive.com.)
DENMARK — The Vorbasse School introduced flexible hours for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students. For certain classes, students could choose between an 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. time slot and a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. time slot. Ostensibly, the choice was to be based upon each student’s chronotype (i.e., biological preference for morning or evening activities). After one year, on a 12 point scale, grades rose from an average of 6.1 to 6.7. (Schiller, How Listening To Our Body Clocks Can Improve Productivity And Raise Wellbeing (Nov. 13, 2014) Co.Exist.)
On an unstated date, the Egå Ungdoms-Højskole secondary school pushed its start time from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. “Teachers had to develop extra lesson materials because the students were so much more alert and willing to learn.” (Schiller, How Listening To Our Body Clocks Can Improve Productivity And Raise Wellbeing (Nov. 13, 2014) Co.Exist.)
DUBAI — In May of 2013, Lieutenant General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, Chief of Dubai Roads Transport, asked the public via Twitter for opinions about delaying the start of school to 9 a.m. to help ease traffic congestion. Approximately 221,000 K-12 students attend Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) Schools, with start times ranging between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. WhichSchoolAdvisor.com asked parents whether school times should change. Fifty-one percent of parents opposed a change in start times, 49 percent favored a change. KHDA has stated it would consider whether the police proposal represented a “viable option.” School leaders interviewed by the media generally expressed support for the current schedules. Srinivas Karuturi, a parent of two school children, stated he would welcome a later start time for his children, who find it very difficult to wake up at 5:45 a.m. on weekdays for their school bus pickup at 6:50 a.m. “Some days, they don’t even have time to eat a proper breakfast. The delayed time would be a welcome relief, yes. However, I disagree that the move would ease traffic conditions.” Other parents, however, expressed that the heat made extending the school day impractical, that earlier school scheduling would prepare students for employment, and that had been “proven that schools that begin early in the day show excellent academic records.” Parent Suzette Layoun suggested a slot in between, saying, “Maybe 8:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. Though our school back in Lebanon started at 7:30 a.m. and that was too early in my opinion.” Mini Menon, a former teacher at Our Own English High School stated, “I too feel that starting the classes a little later in the day will considerably reduce the stress and pressure students undergo on a regular basis[.] [¶] It’s inevitable, particularly in urban settings that adolescents go to bed way past the recommended time. This, followed by getting up in time to catch a school bus that leaves at 6:15 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. certainly leads to sleep deprivation, which is harmful in the long run.” Devanshi Arora, a GEMS Modern Academy student, admitted to sleeping in class. “When we have extra sessions for sports, we have to get to school earlier than the normal 6 a.m. So, after the training, it’s natural to feel tired and sleepy during class[.] [¶] We often spend nearly 12 hours a day at school, what with extracurricular activities and such. So we end up getting home late and our bedtime is delayed. So waking up early the next morning leaves us sleep deprived. [¶] It would be great idea to stall the start timings, as it will help our bodies to relax and enable us to concentrate more on our books.” In April 2013, Abu Dhabi Indian School delayed start times for grades 2-5 from an unstated earlier time to 11:15 a.m. “to accommodate more students,” according to an official school circular. (Francis, Why Dubai teachers, students want schools to start later (Sept. 25, 2015) Emirates 24/7; Staff, Should Dubai school timings be same or changed? Debate ends in dead heat (Jun.14, 2013) Gulf Today; Hare, UAE’s parents divided over school start times (Jun. 12, 2013) 7 Days in Dubai; Al Subaihi, Dubai Police proposes school day starts later to tackle rush-hour congestion (May 16, 2013) The National; Rai, Could revised school timings be on next year’s curriculum for Dubai students? (May 14, 2013) Emirates 24/7.)
ENGLAND — “The Teensleep project is the largest study ever to look at the effect of both delayed school start times and sleep education on pupil performance. [¶] Researchers will assess whether starting school at 10:00am rather than 09:00am improves academic performance, by allowing teenagers to engage in learning when their biological systems are optimised to do so. This builds on promising pilot work in the UK showing that a delay in the school start time does indeed lead to an improvement in GCSE grades. [¶] Adolescents have a natural biological predisposition to stay up late. In addition, TV screens, tablets and phones emit light at a level which may interfere with sleep onset. Pupils are dealing with the stress of exams and the pressure to perform well. So the team will also look at the effect of sleep education on sleep quality and academic outcomes. They will teach pupils about good bed-time routines, the science behind good sleep-related behaviours, as well as stress-management techniques and how to maintain good sleep during periods of stress. [¶] The study will recruit 100 schools across the UK. Schools will be randomised to trial either delayed start-times, sleep education, both, or none. This means the team will be able to assess the effects of delaying the start times and education separately, but also see if both interventions have an even greater effect on academic outcome and well-being. [¶] Researchers will also be monitoring sleep patterns in a sub-sample of pupils in each school. This will be done via telemetric devices worn on this wrist. These ‘watches’ give a pseudo-objective measure of sleep, allowing the team to investigate if sleep length improves as a result of the intervention. [¶] The team will then assess how the interventions affect achievement: via circadian timings or via a decrease in sleep deprivation or both. [¶] Researchers will survey the schools involved to assess physical and psychological well-being. This will reveal any secondary benefits of the interventions as it is well established that sleep has a crucial role to play in mood regulation, physical health and perceived quality of life.” (Teensleep (2015) Univ. of Oxford, Nuffield Dept. Clin. Neurosciences [three videos posted: The Teensleep Study – Why It Matters; The Teensleep Study – What It Involves; What Makes You Tick: Circadian Rhythms]; Teensleep: How do delayed school start times and sleep education affect pupil performance? (2015) Univ. of Oxford; Ormiston, School signs up to trial testing teenage lie-ins (Oct. 1, 2015) Oxfordshire Guardian; Teensleep Project (Sept. 10, 2015) Dept. of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences Div., Univ. of Oxford; see also, Harvey, Teensleep: The Neuroscience of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Adolescent Learning (Nov. 20, 2014) ThInk; Knapton, Teenagers to start school at 10am in Oxford University sleep experiment (Oct. 9, 2014) Telegraph.)
In September of 2014, a private school in Surrey, Hampton Court House, will adopt a new schedule for all sixth form students (i.e., ages 16-18), from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The school was inspired to make the change by research from the University of Oxford’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. Headmaster Guy Holloway explaining the school’s decision: “As I drove to school this morning, I saw a whole line of teenagers with bleary eyes, staggering like zombies along the pavement to another school. [¶] We’ve all seen it and, for some reason, we’ve all put up with it. Then we wonder why teenagers are prone to being grouchy and uncommunicative. There is now more and more scientific evidence to support what many parents and teachers have known for years. [¶] The fact is that many teenagers do not sleep sufficiently during the week and this can, and often does, have a significant impact on teenage cognition and mental and physical health generally.” Holloway added, “Teenagers are not lazy. It’s rare that I meet a teenager who is not full of hope and excitement about the future, so why do we berate them when they struggle to get up in the morning, in an attempt to override their circadian rhythms? [¶] No wonder too many older adolescents and those in their early 20s are reliant on coffee, and prone to sleep disorders and depression.” Students in all lower grades will continue to arrive at 9 a.m. for morning classes. Hampton Court House charges up to $25,000 per year. (Kelley, Making Time for Sleep: Afternoon School Starts (2015) Huffington Post UK; Should teenagers start school at 1.30pm? Cambridgeshire headteachers have their say (Nov. 10, 2015) Cambridge News; Sandle, This UK school starts in the afternoon for its tired teenagers (Nov. 10, 2015) Digital Journal; Press Assn., Forcing teenagers to get up early ‘may cause mental and public health issues’ (Nov. 9, 2015) Daily Mail; A school is trialling late starts for students, claiming early rises can cause health issues (Nov. 9, 2015) Irish Examiner; Stainburn, U.K. School to End Morning Classes for Some Older Students (May 23, 2014) Ed. Week; Paton, School introduces ‘no mornings’ policy for tired teenagers (May 9, 2014) The Telegraph.)
The Hugh Christie Technology College in Tonbridge, Kent, introduced an 11:30 a.m. start three days a week start for all pupils aged over 14. (Paton, School introduces ‘no mornings’ policy for tired teenagers (May 9, 2014) The Telegraph.)
The UCL Academy, open since September 2013, has adopted a 10 a.m. start time based upon research showing teens do not fully awaken until mid-morning. According to Headmistress Geraldine Davies, “Youngsters are turning up alert and ready to learn and are focused and engaged in lessons. We have no hard data on exam results yet, since we have only been open six months, but the aim is to rigorously review the effects. Pupil and teacher surveys have so far been positive.” The school is sponsored by the University College London, Oxford, and Harvard. Former Monkseaton High School Headmaster Paul Kelley, and Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S., Chair of Circadian Neuroscience, Oxford University, will be presenting a paper on “the research[.]” (Parsons, Could a one-hour lie-in improve pupils’ exam results? UK schools ‘could move class start times back to 10am’ (Mar. 18, 2013) Yahoo! News; School becomes first in Britain to change its start time to 10am to allow pupils to ‘fully wake up’ (Mar. 17, 2013) Daily Mail; see also, Foster, Why teenagers really do need an extra hour in bed (Apr. 22, 2013) New Scientist.)
Monkseaton High School pushed back start times to 10 a.m. in October of 2009, raising exam scores by 20 to 30% and reducing persistent absenteeism by 27%. The proportion of students achieving the national targets by age 16 rose from 34% to 53%; among disadvantaged students, the percentage rose from 19% to 43%. Headmaster Kelley also reports that the atmosphere in school improved, as students were nicer to teachers and each other. In addition, because “research said the natural alertness of the human being is better in natural light above a specific intensity, Kelley installed a huge skylight made of nano-gel in the roof of the school — this diffuses natural light and allows it into the work environment.” (Morrison, The ‘Myth’ About Teens That May Well Be True (May 31, 2015) Forbes ; Quinlan, Body clock is to blame for tired teens (Oct. 31, 2011) Independent; Savill, Extra hour in bed ‘boosts pupils’ exam results’ (Mar. 21, 2015) The Telegraph; Ryan, Lie in for teenagers has positive results (Mar. 22, 2010) BBC News; see also, Head urges lie-ins for teenagers (Mar. 9, 2009) BBC News [includes hyperlink to brief audio interview with Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S., Chair of Circadian Neuroscience, Oxford University].)
FINLAND — An expert working group under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture has submitted a report to the Ministry of Education, Krista Kiuru, recommending pushing the start of the school day back to 9 a.m. At the official handing over of the report, Auli Pitkälä, Director General of the Finnish National Board of Education, stated, “We more or less unanimously came to the conclusion that the school day should begin no earlier than nine in the morning[.]” The report also proposes increasing the amount of extra-curricular school activities taking place in the mornings and afternoons and transferring more activities to school grounds. Officials hope that modifying the current academic system may help Finns reclaim their top position in international aptitude tests. (Staff, School start times may be pushed back to nine a.m. (Mar. 12, 2015) Yle Uutiset; see, Gross-Loh, Finnish Education Chief: ‘We Created a School System Based on Equality’ (Mar. 17, 2015) The Atlantic; see also, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Program for Internat. Student Assessment (PISA); Nat. Center for Ed. Statistics, PISA: Overview; Chappell, U.S. Students Slide In Global Ranking On Math, Reading, Science (Dec. 3, 2013) NPR [U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 30th among world’s most developed nations in math; 23rd in science; 20th in reading].)
FLORIDA — In November 2015, it was reported Manatee County Public Schools plans to survey parents and community stakeholders about potentially changing school start times. The district’s six high schools begin at 7:30 a.m. or 7:45 a.m., middle schools at 9:20 a.m., and elementary schools at 8:30 a.m. The three scheduling options being considered include: (a) flipping elementary and high school start times; (b) pushing back all school start times by 30 minutes; and, (c) making no change. Starting all three school levels at the same time has been excluded as cost prohibitive at $35 million in additional busing expenses. School board chair Bob Gause stated the district surveyed the community a little more than 5 years ago about potentially flipping high school and elementary start times and the results were “ambivalent.” (Delaney, Manatee County School Board wants community input on school start times (Nov. 10, 2015) Bradenton Herald.)
In 2008, Orange County Public Schools flipped middle and high school schedules to save transportation costs. The change was rescinded within the first semester of implementation. Parents complained middle schoolers waited for buses in darkness to attend 7:30 a.m. classes and high school students, whose morning classes were delayed until 9:30 a.m., got out of school too late in the day (4:30 p.m.). In May 2015, school board chairman Bill Sublette proposed delaying high school classes to 8 a.m. The 2015-2016 bell schedule shows high schools beginning morning classes between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., middle schools at 9:30 a.m., and elementary schools from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. According to the Orlando Sentinel, one board member responded that “simply talking about new start times might freak out parents enough to impact her upcoming campaign. [¶] ‘Do it during your election time!’ member Kat Gordon fumed to Sublette. … Other members protested, too. Christine Moore said merely talking about a 45-minute time change could ‘tear this community apart.’ Joie Cadle spent a lot of time shaking her head. And Daryl Flynn said the whole conversation made her eye ‘twitch.’” In requesting the district survey parents about the proposed start time change, Sublette stated, “I’ve yet to meet a parent who wouldn’t like us to see what we could do[.]” The board rejected the survey request. Superintendent Barbara Jenkins’ staff estimated a 45-minute delay would require adding 600 buses ($74,000 each) to the current 900 bus fleet, increasing annual operating costs by $4.5 million. Sublette called the estimate “outlandish, … inflated and ‘illogical.’” The board chairman stated he knew the shift would require more money and staffing, but he wanted “realistic” numbers. Jenkins’ staff “immediately retreated, saying maybe they had misunderstood or calculated things wrong.” Although the Orlando Sentinel reports that “Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, her staff and most of the school board seem uninterested in change[,]” the board agreed to hold a school start times public work session on September 22, 2015. (Maxwell, Care about early school start times? This week is time to speak up (Sept. 20, 2015) Orlando Sentinel; Martin, Orange school board to tackle rezoning, high school start times, next week (Sept. 18, 2015) Orlando Sentinel; Editorial, Orange board mustn’t sleep on start-time delay (Jun. 7, 2015) Orlando Sentinel; Maxwell, Orange school leaders know early start times stink but fear changing them (May 28, 2015) Orlando Sentinel; Washington, School Board Votes To Reverse Start Times (Dec. 9, 2008) WESH.COM; Cichanowski, School Start Times Flip and Flop (Jul. 30, 2009) Insight Mag.; Parents: Change Back School Start Times (2009) wpbf.com; Orange Co. Schools OK Start Time Change (Jul. 30, 2008) WESH.COM.)
In responding to a bill introduced in the Florida Legislature on September 23, 2013 by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz proposing that no high school begin morning classes before 8 a.m., School District of Osceola County School Board Chairman Jay Wheeler stated he is all for it, as long as Osceola County doesn’t have to pay for it — a cost he believes would be in the dozens of millions. “Teens are wired to stay up late and start later, no doubt. But it all comes down to dollars and cents[.]” The 2015-2016 bell schedule shows district high schools beginning at 7 a.m. (Celebration, Liberty, Paths, Poinciana), 7:10 a.m. (Gateway, Harmony, St. Cloud), and 8:20 a.m. (Osceola). Two district middle schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Neptune, St. Cloud), one at 7:50 a.m. (Denn John), and the remainder between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. Four multi-level schools (three K-8 schools, one 6-12) begin between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. Four Corner charter school (grades 6-9)) begins at 7 a.m. Six other charter schools begin at 8:15 a.m., 9 a.m., and 9:15 a.m. The two alternative schools begin at 7:25 a.m. (Zenith) and 7:45 a.m. (New Beginnings). The district’s 24 elementary schools begin between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. At a September 1, 2015 school board meeting, Mark Munas, assistant superintendent for Support Services, offered four possible options to implement later school scheduling. With a total enrollment of 61,000 students, transportation is seen as the biggest hurdle. Option 1: Flip high school and middle school start times. Board Member Ricky Booth questioned whether under that plan, “the conversation would come up about sending middle school students to bus stops in the dark.” Option 2: Shift all school schedules 30-60 minutes later. Option 3: Eliminate three-tiered busing and have the district’s 8 high schools on their own later start time. Changing routes and adding buses just for Liberty High School is estimated to cost $5.6 million. District Superintendent Melba Luciano reported a planned meeting with with Representative Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) was intended to determine if he can help earmark funding. Option 4: Take an hour out of the school day, start later and extend the school year 30 days into the summer. However, this option would affect hours, contracts, and salaries for teachers and support staff. Wheeler concluded, “The science is sound, we can give these teenagers a shot at better health and education and improved grades.” No changes are expected before the 2016-2017 school year. (Osceola school leaders consider changing high school start times (Sept. 10, 2015) WFTV; Jackson, Osceola District looks for solutions to early school start times (Sept. 9, 2015) Osceola News-Gazette; Later Osceola school start times could cost millions (Setp. 25, 2013) wftv.com.) Although Gaetz’s bill does not include fiscal expenditures, as noted in the main text (§ IV, supra), in reviewing the start time/academic achievement studies undertaken by fellow economists, Columbia University Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics Jonah Rockoff and the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, Brian Jacob, concluded that delaying middle and high school start times “from roughly 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.[,]” will increase academic achievement by 0.175 standard deviations on average, with effects for disadvantaged students roughly twice as large as advantaged students, at little or no cost to schools; i.e., a 9 to 1 benefits to costs ratio when utilizing single-tier busing, the most expensive transportation method available. (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7.)
Recognizing the adolescent sleep pattern does not comport with its current 7:20 a.m. high school start time, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is considering delaying morning classes at some high schools to an unstated later hour. Luis Diaz, a former high school principal, spearheaded an effort to research potential effects, polling about 100 students as well as staff members from each of the seven district high schools that could be candidates for the change. Based upon the results, Diaz and others will decide whether to proceed with the pilot program. District middle schools begin at 9:10 a.m., elementary schools start at 8:20 a.m. or 8:35 a.m. (Court, Schools slowly waking up to teens’ sleep needs (Aug. 3, 2014) Miami Herald.)
For the 2013-2014 academic year, Bay District Schools delayed the previous 7:30 a.m. start time for the districts’ five high schools to times ranging from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (2013-2014 bell schedule here.) In December of 2012, Superintendent Bill Husfelt stated, “High school really starts too early. The best thing that research says is that the later you can start the better because they need more sleep. They need more time to wake up and get adjusted, and so we’ve been talking about this for a while.” For 2014-2015, in an effort to ensure adequate rest for high school students, the district decided to start all high schools at 8:30 a.m. Adjusting bus schedules, however, required a change in the middle school start time, so board members implemented a 9 a.m. morning bell for those schools, except for C.C. Washington, which retains its 8:25 a.m. start time, Breakfast Point (K-8), which will advance by 5 minutes to 7:45 a.m., and New Horizons (6-12), which will delay by 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Elementary schools will begin at 7:45 a.m., except for Tyndall, which will start at 7:20 a.m. According to the 2014-2015 bell schedule, North Bay Haven High retains its 7:40 a.m. start time, North Bay Haven Middle School will advance by 30 minutes to 7:40 a.m., Newpoint Bay (6-12) will delay by 15 minutes to 8:15 a.m., and Rising Leaders (K-12) will retain its 7:45 a.m. start time. (News Herald Staff, Back to School: New start times set for schools (Jul. 31, 2014) News Herald; Editorial, Moving to teen time (Dec. 11, 2012) News Herald; Anderson, Bay County School District Considering Change to High School Start Time (Dec. 5, 2012) wjhg.com; Hyman, Could High School Start Later in the AM Next Year? (Nov. 14, 2012) WMBB.com.)
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti may be open to reviewing the 7:15 a.m. high school start time “at some point. ‘This is a topic that Dr. Vitti certainly understands and has committed to exploring in the near future[.]’” District high schools could begin at 9:00 a.m. in the 2014-15 school year, possibly later for some students. Florida State College Professor of Psychology Erin Richman, a specialist in adolescent developmental psychology, says that for most adolescents, starting school at 7 a.m. is “like asking adults to start work every morning at 3:00 a.m.” (Feagans, Vitti Considering Later High School Start Times (Jul. 24, 2013) wjct News; Ross, Does High School Start Too Early? More Researchers Say Yes, Call For Change (Jul. 23, 2013) wjct News.)
In July 2011, Pasco County Schools considered delaying high school start times to better serve students. At that time, most district high schools began at 7:30 a.m., with J.W. Mitchell High (8:40 a.m.) and Ridgewood High (8:30 a.m.), starting later. Data from one later starting school, J.W. Mitchell High, showed 3.6 tardies daily, whereas Land O’Lakes High, which begins at 7:30 a.m., averaged 5.18 tardies daily. The 2013-2014 school hours webpage shows Fivay High now begins at 8:30 a.m. Several middle schools have advanced start times.The 2013-2014 school hour schedule changes are expected to save the district $800,000 to $1 million in busing costs. (Fields, Start times changing at 8 Pasco County schools (Jul. 23, 2013) 10 News WTSP; Solochek, Nine Pasco County schools may face new starting times (Jul. 2, 2013) Tampa Bay Times; Blair, Pasco taking another look at high school start times (Jul. 10, 2011) Tampa Bay Online.)
Polk County Public Schools may delay high school start times, now ranging from 7 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., to between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. The district may make the change in order to provide teachers a pay increase by reducing the middle school day from eight periods to seven, and cutting the high school day from seven periods to six. The length of the school day, however, would remain unchanged. As of September 2013, the posted school hours had not been changed. Middle schools begin between 8 a.m. and 8:53 a.m., except Fort Meade Middle-Senior (7:15 a.m.) and Frostproof Middle-Senior (7 a.m.) Elementary schools begin between 7:45 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. (Green, Schedule Change Impact: School Start Times Could Be Altered (Mar. 19, 2013) The Ledger.)
In order to save approximately $888,000 in transportation expenses, Hernando County School Board Superintendent Bryan Blavatt proposed the board synchronize bell schedules. On July 31, 2012, the board voted unanimously to approve a new schedule which would start all K-8 schools at 9:15 a.m., delaying start times at Explorer K-8 by 35 minutes, and by 40 minutes at Winding Waters. Other K-8 schools will be advanced from 9:25 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., high schools will advance to 7:30 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., the alternative school will advance to 7:35 a.m., one middle school will advance to 7:30 a.m. Most elementary school schedules will be delayed so that all begin at 9:15 a.m. The new schedule is expected to keep young children from traveling in darkness while freeing older children for work or athletics after school. (Valentine, To save money, Hernando makes last-minute changes in school times (Aug. 2, 2012) Tampa Bay Times; Major changes coming to school start times in Hernando (Aug. 1, 2012) Bay News 9; Schmucker, Superintendent urges synchronizing school bells (Jul. 26, 2012) Hernando Today.)
The Hillsborough County Public Schools School Board was reported to be reconsidering its present 7:20 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. high school start times over concerns they may be too early for teens. Sleep medicine and pulmonary specialist Dr. Robert Geck proposes high schools begin between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. In the end, however, the board implemented a 7:27 a.m. start time. Deputy Superintendent Ken Otero noted budget and transportation issues forced the outcome, together with concerns that elementary or middle school students would have to wait for buses in the dark, after-school activities would be interrupted, and the magnet schools lacked the ability to change start times. The district bell schedule appears to reflect that high school start times remain between 7:20 a.m. and 7:40 a.m.; most middle schools begin at 9 a.m., though several begin as early as 7:35 a.m. (Arja, Classes too early for teens? (Jul. 18, 2011) My Fox Tampa Bay; Ackerman, Adult ed no longer free; Hillsborough seeks donations (Jul. 18, 2011) Tampa Bay Online; Ackerman, Later school day helping some teens succeed (Jul. 16, 2011) Tampa Bay Online.)
In 2006, St. Johns County School District delayed high school start times from an unstated earlier time to 9:15 a.m. In July 2014, Superintendent Joe Joyner stated he does not want to return to the previous schedule. The district start time page shows that middle schools begin at 7:50 a.m. and elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (O’Connor, The Science Supporting Starting High School Classes Later In The Morning (Jul. 15, 2014) State Impact.)
In 2006, the Santa Rosa County School District delayed the high school start time to 9:15 a.m. from 8 a.m., and pushed back the middle school start time by 10 minutes to 8:30 a.m. The district retained its 7:30 a.m. elementary school start time. In 2014, Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick reported, “We had a lot of success with it[.] We made the change even if it’s very painful.” According to Wyrosdick, the community had to undergo an adjustment, and it does have some negative effects on students who work and athletes who need to attend games that begin before school has concluded. But on a day to day basis, the high schools seem to have fewer tardies and absences in first period since they began the schedule, Wyrosdick said. A 2014 study reports that later school scheduling resulted in increased graduation rates, decreased delinquency and lowered busing costs. (Owens, Drobnich, Baylor, & Lewin, School Start Time Change: An In-Depth Examination of School Districts in the United States (Dec. 2014) 28 Internat. Mind, Brain, and Ed. Society 4, p. 189.) According to the 2015-2016 bell schedule, however, while many district secondary schools have retained later school scheduling, others may have have advanced their schedules. For example, Jay High begins at 8 a.m., Central High begins at 8:20 a.m. Sims Middle begins at 7:25 a.m., Holly Navarre Intermediate, Gulf Breeze Middle, and Woodlawn Middle all begin at 7:30 a.m. Some elementary schools (Bagdad Elementary, East Milton Elementary) begin as early as 7:20 a.m. Jackson Pre-K begins at 7:15 a.m. (Tammen, Okaloosa school start times among earliest in nation (Aug. 25, 2014) nwfdailynews.com; Donovan, Starting School Later does not have to cost more (Feb. 22, 2013) Ellicott City Patch.)
GEORGIA — Following its designation as a “low achieving school,” Robert W. Groves High School in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System lengthened the school year by two weeks and lengthened the school day by 20 minutes, adding 5 minutes to the end of the day and starting school at 7:30 a.m.; i.e., 15 minutes earlier than in 2010-2011. (Tyus-Shaw, Earlier School Start for Groves High (Jun. 30, 2011) WSAV.com.) For 2012-2013, all other district high schools will also advance to 7:30 a.m.; middle schools to 7:45 a.m.; K-8 schools will start at 8:30 a.m.; elementary start times will range from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. “Although the school board approved the bell times the majority of parents prefer, members said they plan to push for a change for the next school year. ‘If we’re trying to boost academic achievement, we’re starting schools at the wrong time,’ said school board member Shawn Kachmar. ‘… I really think this decision should be made on what’s best for academic outcomes, not convenience.’ Superintendent Thomas Lockamy [, Ed.D.], whose proposal for starting younger students early and older student later has been shot down by parents time and time again, agreed with Kachmar. ‘Despite research that an early start improves outcomes for children of poverty, it isn’t popular because so many people want their children to go to specialty schools,’ Lockamy said. [¶] But School Board President Joe Buck reminded the board that a late morning start and late afternoon release time for high school students may not only create child care costs for local families who can’t afford them, it might also make it difficult for high school students to manage jobs and homework after school. [¶] And he pointed out that local colleges don’t have any trouble filling their early morning classes with recent high school graduates, so they shouldn’t have any trouble getting high schoolers into theirs. [¶] ‘It may just be that when you tell them what they have to do, they will do what they are supposed to do,’ Buck said.” On January 9, 2013, the board voted 5-4 to adhere to early morning scheduling for middle and high school students for 2013-2014. The Savannah Morning News published an editorial challenging the wisdom of the board’s decision in light of “overwhelming research that concludes older students would do better academically if they began their school days later.” In May 2014, the district announced new start times for the fall (here). High school start times will be delayed by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m., except for three schools (Beach, New Hampstead, Islands), which will be delayed by 60 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Middle schools will be delayed by 10 minutes to 7:55 a.m., except for three schools (Coastal, DeRenne, West Chatham), which will be delayed by 30 minutes to 8:15 a.m. K-8 schools will advance from 8:30 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. Most elementary school start times will be delayed by 15 minutes to 9 a.m. Five elementary schools will have their start times advanced by one hour (Hodge, Howard, West Chatham), or 45 minutes (Haven, Marshpoint). (Natario, SCCPSS makes big changes to next school year’s start times (May 23, 2014) WJCL News; Editorial, School start times: Board botches it (Jan. 11, 2013) Savannah Morning News; Editorial, School starting times: Snoozing and losing (Dec. 30, 2012) Savannah Morning News; Few, Savannah-Chatham school bells ringing earlier (Jul. 16, 2012) Savannah Morning News; Ley, New Bell Schedule Approved for the Savannah Chatham School District (Jul. 11, 2012) WSAV3.)
In order to implement a three-tiered busing system, Henry County Schools delayed 2012-2013 middle school start times by 20 minutes to 8:55 a.m. while advancing the high school start time by 20 minutes to 8:10 a.m. In 2013, the high school start time will be delayed 5 minutes to 8:15 a.m. The elementary school start time will advance by 10 minutes to 7:45 a.m. (Staff, Henry County Schools amends 2013-14 bell schedules (Jul.2, 2013) Daily Henry Herald; Jackson, ‘Pros outweigh cons’ in new bus routes (Jun. 27, 2012) Daily Henry Herald.)
Glenn Hills High School Principal Wayne Frazier is asking the Richmond County School System to start his students at 9:15 a.m., two hours later than the current start time. Frazier anticipates that aligning the high school schedule with the middle school schedule will improve student achievement. Acting Superintendent James Whitson will review the logistics before the school board takes the matter up during the summer of 2012. Frazier reported that his parent night presentation received a favorable reception from faculty and parents, whereas students appeared split, with jobs and sports as points of concerns. (McManus, Glenn Hills principal wants to start school at later time (Apr. 26, 2012) Augusta Chronicle.) McManus offers these observations from CAREI Director Kyla Wahlstrom on later start times: ”The benefits are clearly that they’re more alert and awake throughout the day[.] The benefit also is that they regulate their emotions better.”
In order to accommodate transportation requirements for the opening of a new school, the City Schools of Decatur school board adopted a schedule advancing start times for Decatur High School from 8:35 a.m. to 8 a.m. for 2011-2012. Decatur High School Principal Lauri McCain had requested a 7:45 a.m. start time and one board member proposed an 8:45 a.m. start. Parents cited the board to studies showing teens perform better academically with later start times and do not test well if they awaken too early. On February 7, 2012, a start time committee made three recommendations to the school board: start the schools between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.; start the high school and middle school within 15 minutes of each other; explore the sharing of buses for the two schools. The middle school start time was delayed to 8:45 a.m. from 8:30 a.m. According to the 2014-2015 bell schedule, the middle school has been advanced 5 minutes to 8:40 a.m. The high school begins at 8:30 a.m. and the elementary schools begin at 8 a.m., except for the 4/5 Academy which begins at 7:45 a.m. (Ellis, Committee Recommends Changes In Decatur School Start Times (Feb. 7, 2012) Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch; Loupe, Decatur High School Principal Defends Earlier Start Time (Apr. 12, 2011) Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch; Valdes, Decatur Schools Bell Schedule to be Discussed at Board Meeting Tuesday (May 11, 2011) Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch; John Ahmann’s Plan For Tonight’s School Board Meeting (Jun. 14, 2011) Decatur Metro.)
ILLINOIS — In January 2016, Barrington School District 220 issued the following press release: “Interested community members are invited to attend an Input 220 program at Station Middle School Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. featuring Dr. Stephanie Crowley, Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Services at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Crowley will speak about adolescent sleep issues and the impact of school start times on student health and wellness. Following Dr. Crowley’s presentation, the Input 220 committee will share the results of the community survey on preferred start times and discuss options being considered. There will be an opportunity for community members to provide feedback following the presentation.” Barrington high school begins morning classes at 7:20 a.m., the two middle schools begin at 7:55 a.m., and eight elementary schools begin at 9 a.m. The Chicago Tribune reports that a district survey sent out in November found parents, students and employees want classes to start later in the morning, allowing middle and high students more sleep. Input 220, an advisory council of 35 community and staff members appointed by the school board, has organized nearly three dozen meetings since May 2015 and has studied 70 benchmark school districts that adjusted start times, according to a December report given to the board. The committee reported 14,147 surveys were sent, with 6,374 returned, a 45% response rate. Eighty-eight percent of middle school students reported they would spend two additional hours sleeping in the morning, 91% of high schoolers made the same claim. Sixty percent of middle school students reported they would do homework in the morning, 64% of high schoolers made the same report. On June 7, 2016, district officials announced that later school scheduling may force a redrawing of district boundaries to allow for more efficient busing. In particular, students living north of the Metra tracks would attend Station Middle School, and students living south of the tracks would attend Prairie Middle School. According to Superintendent Brian Harris, “Not only did [Metra tracks] provide an equitable balance with the north and south in the district, it’s also a huge time issue with buses having to stop at the tracks[.] There’s always a lot of delays with commuter trains, as well as freights.” Three options for later school scheduling were proposed: (1) start elementary school classes at 8 a.m. (except at Countryside Elementary School, which would start at 8:15 a.m.), middle schools at 8:40 a.m., and high school at 8:40 a.m.; (2) start elementary school classes at 9:20 a.m., middle school classes at 8:40 a.m., and high school at 8 a.m.; (3) start elementary classes at 9:20 a.m., middle schools at 8 a.m., and high school at at 8:40 a.m. The district reports that the proposed new scheduling options would cost the district $450,000 to $600,000 in additional annual transportation expenses. (Shields, Barrington School District 220 could redraw school boundaries to start classes later (Jun. 9, 2016) Chicago Tribune; Shields, Advisory group to make recommendations to School Board on earlier start times (Jan. 19, 2016) Chicago Tribune.)
During a December 14, 2015 public forum, Mundelein High School District 120 administrators reported reevaluating the district’s block schedule and 7:45 a.m. high school start time. Mundelein is a one-school district with its only school serving grades 9-12. Director of Guidance Tom Buenik, a member of the committee created to research the productivity of the school’s daily schedule, stated, “More and more research is becoming available about adolescents and their sleep patterns, their cognitive abilities and when they become most cognitively awake[.] A lot of experts are now recommending a later start time.” Parent Chad Fergen asked if the school has done a lifestyle study for the Mundelein area since students might still awaken at the same time to coincide with their parents’ departure for work, meaning students may not get any more sleep than they do now. Business teacher Rahul Sethna, also on the daily schedule committee, responded that even if students don’t sleep more, a few hours of “down time” before school could make them more relaxed, awake and productive, a point not supported by any research. (Kambic, Mundelein High reevaluates block scheduling, considers later start times (Dec. 21, 2015) Chicago Tribune.)
On May 10, 2012, Community Unit School District 308 posted a notice at its website indicating the school board approved a schedule advancing the start time for the district’s two high schools by 10 minutes to 7:20 a.m. for 2012-2013. Start times will remain at 8 a.m. for the district’s five junior high schools and 8:45 a.m. for the district’s fourteen elementary schools. The notice states the change was made due to “recent school boundary changes and proposed reductions to school transportation funding by the state[.]” On September 4, 2015, Kendall County Now posted Superintendent Matthew Wendt’s response to an inquiry concerning whether the district intended to “comply” with CDC recommendations for later school scheduling. Wendt responded that adolescent sleep has been “a point of interest” for the district for the past two years and that start times are among the district’s “internal priorities.” Wendt reported that an employee committee would study the research and prepare reports and presentations for the school board during the 2016-2017 school year. Wendt suggested a start time change needed to be addressed as a means of improving adolescent health and academic achievement. (Wendt, Ask Dr. Wendt: Teenagers’ need for sleep too important to ignore (Sept. 4, 2015) Kendall County NOW.)
On September 9, 2014, Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th Ward) submitted a resolution asking Chicago’s Committee on Health and Environmental Protection to “conduct hearings providing information on sleep deprivation in teenagers and explore [the] possibility of later school start time across Chicago Public Schools” (CPS). An April 27, 2012, district memo advises that all CPS high schools will be assigned a start time between 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.; elementary schools will start between 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Responding to the alderman’s resolution, CPS Spokesman Bill McCaffrey stated, “While we have noted that studies on start times are often contradictory and changes in school start times can impact other aspects of the school day, Chicago Public Schools is happy to participate in a City Council hearing on this matter[.]” McCaffrey was echoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is charged with appointing the CPS school board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). On August 26, 2014, the mayor challenged the wisdom of the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement concerning secondary school start times, stating the research was “preliminary” and “not conclusive[.]” CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett echoed the mayor’s sentiments: “There’s a lot of research and it’s all pretty contradictory about children needing to start their high school day at a later start time. And I don’t think the research is conclusive on that.” With more than 400,000 students, Chicago Public Schools is the third largest school district in the U.S. (Cox, Should Sleep-Deprived Teens Get Later CPS Start Time? Hearings Sought (Sept. 10, 2014) DNAinfo Chicago; Spielman, Pediatricians’ warning won’t force CPS to push back start times (Aug. 26, 2014) Chicago Sun Times.) As noted elsewhere, Harvard Medical School, University of Oxford, and University of Nevada scientists recently observed: “Studies of later start times have consistently reported benefits to adolescent sleep, health and learning using a wide variety of methodological approaches. In contrast there are no studies showing that early starts have any positive impact on sleep, health or learning.” (Kelley, Lockley, Foster, & Kelley, Synchronizing education to adolescent biology: ‘let teens sleep, start school later’ (Aug. 1, 2014) Learning, Media and Technology, p. 11.) The Brookings Institute 9 a.m. start time recommendation was influenced by the poor attendance and performance of Chicago Public Schools high school students beginning morning classes at 8 a.m. (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, pp. 8, 21, n. 7, citing Cortes, Bricker, & Rohlfs, The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools (2012) 12 B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 1, Art. 27, pp. 1-34.)
Gillespie School District is considering a plan to delay middle and high school start times by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. in order to save transportation expenses. The elementary school would retain its 8 a.m. start time. (Ben Gil Staff, District looks to save money by changing bus routes, school start times (Apr. 24, 2013) Ben Gil Post.)
INDIANA — In August 2011, it was reported that Manual High in the Indianapolis Public Schools District would push back its start time to 8:50 a.m. in an effort to improve academic outcomes. The district recognized that the “adolescent brain” does not fully perform until “almost 10 a.m.” At the time, Manual High was on academic probation and was slated for state intervention. According the 2016-2017 bell schedule, however, with two exceptions (Gambold Preparatory High School, Shortridge High School), district high schools begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m. Gambold begins classes at 8:50 a.m., and, according to the Shortridge High School website, classes there begin at 9 a.m. In the summer of 2016, the district began discussing delaying the 7:30 a.m. high school start time. Several board members suggested flipping the schedules of elementary school and high school students. Board member Diane Arnold stated (erroneously) that research suggests it is better for young children to start school earlier in the day. District elementary schools begin morning classes at 9:05 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Superintendent Lewis Ferebee advised that he remains “skeptical” about whether the district should push the start of the high school day later in part because of concerns over elementary school students waiting for buses in darkness. The district’s middle schools, most of which begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m., were not part of the discussion. Sidener Academy (grades 2-8) starts morning classes at 9 a.m. There are a total of 64 schools in the district. (McCoy, Indianapolis Public Schools considers letting high schoolers sleep in (Aug. 4, 2016) Chalkbeat; Struggling School Pushes Back Start Time (Aug. 8, 2011) TheIndyChannel.com.)
In June 2015, the South Bend Community School Corporation school board determined that it would not implement later school scheduling for 2015-2016. According to superintendent Carole Schmidt, “It just seemed that every scenario we came up with there was some additional challenge[.]” The board had considered delaying the middle and high school start time from 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m., while retaining an 8:20 a.m. start time for pre-K to grade 4 students. The district website states the proposed changes were intended to “increase the instructional day for primary centers, and to support the research regarding adolescent sleep.” Transportation is considered the primary impediment to making the change. With a 12% daily absentism rate, many drivers have to pick up additional routes, leading to tardiness for students. Board member John Anella stated the board would have to consider offering more competitive salaries to bus drivers. The district intends to conduct additional research and solicit additional feedback. A recommendation is expected by December 2015 concerning the prospect of changing start times for 2016-2017. The district reports that 19,308 students were enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year. The superintendent’s start time presentation is available here. (Kilbride, South Bend schools start-time proposal axed for now (Jun. 2, 2015) South Bend Tribune; Hickey, SB school start and dismissal times won’t change in 2015 (Jun. 2, 2015) WNDU.) It might be noted that on April 8, 2013, the district passed a resolution urging the state of Indiana to begin observing Central Standard Time rather than Eastern Standard Time. Some parents urged that switching to Central time would mean brighter, safer mornings, and more productive school days. According to parent Holly Easterbrook, “When we wake our kids up when it’s dark, their bodies are telling them they still need to be in bed. And when the sun doesn’t come up until after they’re in school, how can we expect them to learn?” Abstaining board members said they need to see more research on the topic and hear from more parents. Board member Jay Caponigro, stated, “I can’t make a choice based on what I’ve heard, it’s not common sense.” Some board members pointed out that moving to a later school start time would offer a more practical solution, “but that is another whole debate.” The Central Time Coalition reports that more than two dozen other school districts have passed resolutions urging legislators to bring the state within the Central time zone. (Land, South Bend School Board supports joining Central Time Zone (Apr. 8, 2013) WSBT.)
On March 11, 2015, in an effort to address adolescent sleep deprivation, the Northwestern Consolidated Schools of Shelby County school board began discussing the prospects for changing 2015-2016 school start times. For the 2014-2015 school year, Triton Central High School begins at 7:55 a.m., Triton Central Middle School begins at 7:50 a.m., and Triton Central Elementary begins at 9 a.m. Superintendent Shane Robbins reported, “What we learned when we did our eLearning days was that our elementary students were up early and doing their work, while most of our middle school and high school students were up later and it was quite some time before they made the first contact with their teacher[.]” Robbins suggested a scenario of a later start time at both the middle and high schools and an earlier start time at the elementary school. The superintendent told the board that there are about 1,400 students in the district and 17 bus routes. Robbins said he is also examining the concept of single bus routes, where elementary students would ride the same bus as middle and high school students. Robbins stated, “We’ve had some tough discussions with principals. The elementary school still would not be starting until 8 a.m. This will not impact extracurricular activities at the middle school or high school[.]” Board president Ken Polston asked Robbins if this was something that the district could survey parents on. Robbins responded, “You have to remember that people don’t like change. We are doing what is best for the entire district. We have three options available — we can leave it like it is, we can have a single start time and single routes or we can have later start times for our middle and high kids and an early time for our elementary students[.]” The board is expected to address the matter again during its April meeting. (Gable, Northwestern Consolidated School Board talks possibility of changing school start times (Mar. 12, 2015) Shelbyville News.)
Beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, Noblesville Schools will delay middle and high school start times by 1 hour and 10 minutes to 8:45 a.m. Elementary school students will see their start times advance by 40 minutes to 8 a.m. Superintendent Libbie Conner stated the change is being implemented to address the energy level and alertness of many students during their morning classes. “Changing school start times, while a challenging adjustment for some families in the short term, will help forward our objective of doing what’s best academically for our students in the long run[.]” The change in start times was originally being considered for implementation in the 2014-2015 school year, but was delayed to provide families and school administration more time to plan for and process the changes. Jane Barr, school board member and educator, said the committee came up with the best possible times. “I firmly believe it will benefit the elementary students to start earlier. Most are in daycare by 6:30 in the morning. By 9 a.m. they are tired. This gets them energized to focus much better … For high school students it’s a great thing for them to start later[.] Having elementary start at 7:30 a.m. would be tough on some families. Making it 8 a.m. mean[s] parents can get students on the bus and then they can go to work. It is longer after school care but there are other low-cost options like the Boys & Girls Club or AYS.” (Herrington, Back to school: Time ticking for hours changes (Jul. 28, 2014) Current in Noblesville.)
In order to save transportation expenses and implement a schedule “that works best educationally for the kids,” Crawfordsville Community School Corporation will delay 2012-2013 middle and high school start times by 40 minutes to 8:45 a.m. Elementary school schedules will advance by 20 minutes to 8:05 a.m. (Barrand, Crawfordsville adjusts school day district-wide (Jul. 13, 2012) J. Rev. Online.)
Recognizing that delaying start times improves student achievement, Cathedral High School will delay the morning bell from 7:34 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. beginning in 2012-2013. Lawrence Township and Marion Community Schools have already made “similar changes” to their schedules. (Broaddus, School shifting start time, aiming for better student performance (Feb. 9, 2012) WISHTV.com; Schools changing start, end times (Feb. 9, 2012) YouTube.) The websites for Lawrence Central High School, Lawrence North High School, and Marion High School each reflect an 8:50 a.m. start time for 2011-2012.
Recognizing the “adolescent brain” does not fully perform until “almost 10 a.m.,” Indianapolis Public School Manual High will push back start times to 8:50 a.m. in an effort to improve academic outcomes. The school is presently on academic probation and is slated for state intervention. (Struggling School Pushes Back Start Time (Aug. 8, 2011) TheIndyChannel.com.)
Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, Avon High School delayed its start time by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. Principal Rick Adcock observed, “I think the research is very plain. The older the student, the later you should start school. They’ll want to come to school at eight o’clock more than they’ll want to come at 7:30, so I think that’s important – the attitude.” School administrators say it doesn’t cost anything to start classes later in the morning and the “payoff is in better grades and attitudes.” Principals who’ve made the switch say “it makes sense.” They argue that “well-rested students now come to class ready to learn.” (Swan, Schools seeing positive results from later start time for teens (Mar. 7, 2011) wthr.com.)
IOWA — In April 2017, in order to align school schedules with adolescent circadian rhythms, Des Moines Public Schools considered a plan to delay middle and high school start times by 50 minutes to 8:35 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively. However, concerns raised by parents and staff at schools serving disabled students (Smouse and Van Meter) caused board members to delay implementation to 2018-2019. The plan under review would have delayed starts at Smouse and Van Meter by 45 minutes to 9 a.m., potentially interfering with therapy and tutoring. The proposed plan would have advanced elementary school start times (now set at 8:15 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 8:45 a.m.) to 7:50 a.m. The district has posted several web pages devoted to its school start time issues. (Ryan, Des Moines delays vote on school hours change to next fall (Apr. 18, 2017) The Des Moines Register; Ryan, Des Moines to vote on school start times (Apr. 17, 2017) The Des Moines Register.)
In May 2015, in order to increase instructional time for elementary school students, the Iowa City Community School District School Board voted to advance the middle and high school start times by 10 and 5 minutes respectively, to 8 a.m., while delaying the elementary school start time by 15 minutes to 8:45 a.m. The board originally planned to advance the secondary school start times to 7:45 a.m., but several parents, four students and two physicians told board members that advancing start times for the junior and senior high schools would be harmful to students’ academic performance and mental health. The board then went into closed session before deciding to begin the secondary schools at 8 a.m. rather than 7:45 a.m. On February 9, 2016, after several meetings with community members and pursuant to the recommendations of a bell schedule task force, the board voted 7-0 to again modify start times beginning in the fall of 2016, advancing the elementary school start time to 7:55 a.m. while delaying the junior and senior high school start time to 8:50 a.m. Board President Chris Lynch, who proposed starting elementary school at 7:45 a.m., said he had concerns about high school ending too late for kids supporting their families by working after school to make it to their jobs. Lynch also supported starting secondary schools later than 8 a.m. because research suggests later start times lead to academic and health benefits for adolescents. According to Lynch, “Starting elementary first is research-based[.]” (Not so, actually.) The board expects to save around $100,000 by changing the bus schedules around the new start times. (Roetlin, How the Iowa City School schedule changes were made (Feb. 14, 2016) The Gazette; Morris, Iowa City public schools will start almost an hour earlier next year (Feb. 11, 2016) Little Village Mag.; Hines, School board: Elementary to start earlier next year (Feb. 10, 2016) Press-Citizen; KCRG-TV9 Staff, Iowa City Schools Approve New Start Times (Feb. 10, 2016) KCRG-TV9; Hines, Earlier K-6 start time on the table for ICCSD (Jan. 26, 2016) Press-Citizen; McCarthy, Parents protest new bell times for Iowa City schools (May 27, 2016) The Gazette; Phillips, Bell times will shift this fall for Iowa City students (May 13, 2015) The Gazette; Hines, Board approves new school start, end times (May 12, 2015) Press-Citizen.)
On April 28, 2014, the Davenport Community Schools School Board voted 4-2 in favor of changing the current school schedule beginning in 2014-2015. Changing starting times was a contentious issue among parents, teachers, and students in the months preceding the vote. The April vote would have delayed high school start times by 45 minutes to 8:30 a.m., advanced middle school start times by 55 or 60 minutes to 7:55 a.m., and scheduled all elementary schools to begin at 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., representing no change for two elementary schools (Buchanan, Garfield), and a 5 minute advance for another (McKinley), but otherwise delaying start times by 5 to 65 minutes for all other elementary schools. On May 12, 2014, however, the board voted 6-1 to rescind the April vote. The recission followed objections from parents to the proposed schedule. Trisha Stepanek, whose children attend Adams Elementary School, started an online petition asking the board to reconsider its decision. “By my children starting at 9:05, I was going to have to find childcare in the morning for them,” Sterbenz said. The petition garnered 955 signatures. The rejected schedule was intended to increase instructional hours and decrease sleep deprivation among teens. On June 9, 2014, the school board voted 4-3 to approve new starting times for all students. High schools will begin at 8:10 a.m., intermediate schools at 8:45 a.m., and elementary school start times will advance to 7:35 a.m., except that JB Young, Blue Grass, and Walcott elementary schools will begin at 8:45 a.m. (Becker, Davenport School Board approves time changes (Jun. 10, 2014) Quad-City Times; Davenport School Board Rescinds Start Time Vote (May 12, 2014) KWQC; Becker, Davenport School Board could reconsider school time vote (May 9, 2014) Quad-City Times.)
KANSAS — For 2014-2015, Newton High School in the Newton Public Schools District will delay its 7:55 a.m. start time by 35 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Principal Roger Erickson reported that several reasons prompted the change, including giving students more time for rest, but that increasing time for teacher collaboration was the primary purpose. There will be two zero periods: the first, from 7 a.m. to 7:40 a.m., is for optional weights classes; the second, from 7:40 a.m. to 8:25 a.m., is for music students. Erickson stated that the school’s previous 7:55 a.m. start time was earlier than most in the state, some schools start as late as 9 a.m. Chisolm Middle School and all district elementary school begin morning classes at 8 a.m. (Bergner, NHS changes start time (Aug. 16, 2014) The Kansan.)
As part of a plan to lengthen the school day and shorten the calendar, Emporia Public Schools has delayed start times for Emporia Middle School from 7:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. High school start times have been advanced. (Springer, School board votes on calendar for 2012-13 (Apr. 14, 2011) The Emporia Gazette; Giffin, Changes in bus routes, scheduling planned for 2012-13 school year (Aug. 25, 2011) The Emporia Gazette.)
KENTUCKY — On November 8, 2012, Jane Wells, parent of an elementary school student, urged the Barren County School District school board to consider a later start time for adolescent students. Freshman begin morning classes at 8:10 a.m., grades 9-12 begin at 8 a.m. Dr. Philip Bale was recently asked by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators to present information regarding the biological clock. (Kinslow, Parent questions Barren County board on concerns (Nov. 8, 2012) Glasgow Daily Times.) As of late 2015, the only bell schedule posted for either of the district’s two high schools showed a 7:55 a.m. start time; 7:45 a.m. for the middle school. Of the district’s seven elementary schools, only Tracy Austin posts its start time; i.e., 7:30 a.m. The 1999 one hour start time delay (7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.) in nearby Fayette County was the subject of a 2008 crash rate study. (Danner & Phillips, Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times, and Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes (Dec. 2008) 4 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 6, pp. 533–535; see also, Keller, Smith, Gilbert, Bi, Haak, & Buckhalt, Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, supra, 107 J. Educational Psychology 1, pp. 236-245.)
LOUISIANA — At a February 2012 public meeting, Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper posed the hypothetical question, “What if the school system decided to change the start of school from 7:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. for high school students?” Although audience members applauded, Cooper noted, “Again, this isn’t something that has been decided or even talked about, [b]ut the bottom line is that we must put academics first. Things like athletics and transportation are important, but we can’t let them be the tail wagging the dog.” A task force recommended an 8:30 a.m. high school start time, concluding students would be “more alert in class and be better prepared to learn if they are able to attend school later.” Superintendent Cooper then proposed beginning middle school, high school, and pre-K at 8:30, elementary school at 8 a.m. At the time of the April 2012 board meeting, however, the superintendent instead requested a 15 minute delay in the start times of all district schools. The 2011-2012 bell schedule starts high schools at 7:15 a.m., middle schools at 8:35 a.m., and elementary schools at 7:55 a.m. Cooper stated he spoke with 40 high school students who suggested “starting school 15 minutes later would solve the problem.” The board approved the new plan which also proposes consideration of swapping middle and high start times in 2013. (Narcisse, Changes coming to schools this fall (Apr. 18, 2012) theadvertiser; Hummel, Lafayette School Board Approves Turnaround Plan (Apr. 18, 2012) KATC.COM; All Lafayette schools proposed to start 15 minutes later (Apr. 18, 2012) KATC.COM; Superintendent Cooper’s plan (Apr. 7, 2012) theadvertiser.com; Fernandez, New School Times Possible for Lafayette Parish Schools (Apr. 5, 2012) KATC.COM; Narcisse, More zzz for high-schoolers? (Feb. 29, 2012) theadvertiser.com.)
MAINE — Since 2015, the City of Portsmouth School Department has been assessing the possibility of scheduling secondary school classes later in the morning to comport with the sleep patterns of adolescents. The 2015-2016 bell schedule shows middle school (grades 6-8) and high school classes beginning at 7:30 a.m. The alternative high school, Robert J. Lister Academy, begins at 8:20 a.m. The elementary schools (K-5) begin at 8:20 a.m. (New Franklin), 8:30 a.m. (Little Harbour), and 8:55 a.m. (Dondero). The district is seeking bids relative to the cost of busing all students at the same time. No decision is expected before November 29, 2016. (Early, Portsmouth to vote on later school start times in Nov. (Oct. 25, 2016) Seacoastonline.com.)
On July 11, 2016, the South Portland School Department voted 7-0 to create a committee that will make recommendations for moving back the start of school for adolescent students. In the fall of 2015, the board charged a study group with examining the science and data supporting later school scheduling. South Portland High School starts at 7:30 a.m., the district’s two middle schools begin at 7:55 a.m., and to the extent it can be discerned from the district website, the elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. The district preschool begins at 8:30 a.m. Parent John Heffernan’s citizen advocacy group has been pushing for later start times “for the health of our students.” A survey conducted by the district found that 84 percent of students at South Portland High School reported getting fewer than eight hours of sleep a night. Fifty-two percent of “school staff agree or strongly agree that we should make our middle school and high school start times later.” About 63 percent of the parents surveyed also agreed or strongly agreed with the concept of later start times for adolescents. Combining middle and high school bus routes could increase transportation expenses by $100,000. (Collins, South Portland eyes later start to school day (Jul. 14, 2016) The Forecaster.)
In February 2016, Dr. Peter Amann, a family doctor, gave a presentation concerning adolescents and school start times to parents at Scarborough High School. Dr. Amann stated “there is a lot of evidence” suggesting children who are getting the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to do better in school, less likely to be injured and be overall healthier in life. “A good night’s sleep is good for your academic performance, but your overall health as well[.]” Scarborough Public Schools starts its high school at 7:35 a.m., its middle school (grades 6-8) at 7:45 a.m., its intermediate school (grades 3-5) at 8:20 a.m., and its three primary schools (kindergarden to grade 2) begin at 8:50 a.m. Chronic lack of sleep, Amann said, can lead to diabetes, depression, high-risk behavior, poor academic performance and suicidal thoughts. Amann, who noted he is not a sleep expert, said sleep studies show teenagers are wired to stay up later and sleep later. School start times, however, interrupt that cycle. Teenagers release melatonin, a hormone secreted during sleep, from about 10:30 p.m. to 9 a.m., well into the school day. “What we are doing is shrinking the kids’ natural sleep time. Forcing them to go to bed early and get up early is counterproductive,” said Amann, who has four children in Scarborough schools. There are other factors beside school start time that impact teen sleeping patterns, including academic and sports demands, work and social life, dependence on technology and caffeine intake. Scarborough school board vice chairman Kelly Murphy stated, “This is nothing new. It’s been around. We are kind of late to the game. It’s slow to catch on in New England[.] The school board took the opportunity to take a look this year after seeing Biddeford and Saco move along in the process, to see if we should do something too.” Although there have been a few meetings about pushing school start times back for older students, there are no concrete plans to do so in Scarborough, at least not yet. “There is nothing set in stone in Scarborough yet. I don’t want anyone to get nervous about potentialities yet,” said Murphy, who is chairing a committee to look into making the change. The change locally is being advocated by local chapters of Start School Later. “Our mission is to really educate and present information and research to help communities grapple with (pushing back school start times for older students),” said Tracey Collins, a Saco parent who is the leader of the Southern Maine chapter of Start School Later. (Kelley & Meiklejohn, Case made for later start time (Feb. 18, 2016) BIDDEFORD-SACO-OOB Courier.)
Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, Old Orchard Beach High School in Regional School Unit 23, pushed its start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8 a.m. The district is considering starting the high school at 8:30 a.m. for the 2016-2017 school year pending an upcoming decision by the Biddeford School Department to do the same. Old Orchard Beach High School Principal John Suttie said that because some of his students attend the Center of Technology in Biddeford, he is “very interested in aligning with [Biddeford].” Suttie reported that students were more alert with the 8 a.m. start time. “It’s been a very good thing for our kids to have that extra time in the morning to gather themselves[.] Those students that still like to work in the morning will come in early to work with teachers.” Suttie said the scientific research that supports later start times resulting in higher academic achievement is “overwhelming. [¶] There’s no questioning the science of a teenager’s sleep cycle[.] It’s very clear that they perform at a much higher level, they’re more alert, more productive at a later start time. They need more sleep and need more sleep later into the morning than adults and children.” Suttie stated that attendance is “much improved” and tardiness is down. Loranger Middle School Principal Mike Flaherty indicated that if the high school start time changes, the middle school would likely also shift to 8:30 a.m., a 30 minute delay. The district’s two-tier busing system would require shifting the elementary school start time to 8 a.m., a 30 minute advance. Some feedback suggests that families relying upon secondary school students to babysit their younger siblings may have daycare issues. Flaherty said delaying the start time “seems like the best decision” for academic reasons. “The only worry I have is going to be on the family end, not the school end,” he said. (Kelley & Meiklejohn, Case made for later start time (Feb. 18, 2016) BIDDEFORD-SACO-OOB Courier.)
On November 18, 2015, Doctors Joan Pelletier and Margaret Bordeau gave a presentation entitled “Understanding Healthier School Start Times” to the Biddeford School Department. The district’s start time information webpage includes the doctors’ presentation and slideshow. In addition, the district has posted a draft schedule, presumably intended for the 2016-2017 academic year, showing proposed start time delays for middle and high school students to 8:40 a.m. and 8:35 a.m., respectively. Under the proposed schedule, the district’s school-aged children would see their start times advance to 7:50 a.m. Biddeford Middle School presently begins morning classes at 7:30 a.m., Biddefore High School begins at 7:45 a.m., the Center of Technology begins at 7:45 a.m., JFK Kindergarden begins at 8:20 a.m., Biddeford Primary School begins at 8:10 a.m., and Biddeford Intermediate School begins at 8:15 a.m. Notably, the posted schedules also include both current and proposed schedules for schools in nearby districts, reflecting possible start time changes in many neighboring schools.
On November 12, 2015, Yarmouth School Department Superintendent Andrew Dolloff raised with the school committee the prospect of delaying middle and high school start times for the 2016-2017 academic year. The middle and high school begin morning classes at 7:40 a.m., the elementary school begins at 8:20 a.m. The superintendent reported that the district had already commenced an internal study of the pertinent literature. Dolloff expressed hope that the Student Senate would work with administrators and then report back to the school committee in February. Dolloff expected that a focus group (comprised of administrators, the athletic administrator, two board members, two parents, two members of the Student Senate, two teachers, and the director of instructional support) would be formed and report back to the school committee in March. Dolloff said if the start times are pushed back there will be a lot to consider, including family, day-care and work schedules. He said it would also affect extra curricular activities, athletics and bus schedules. If a later start time is approved, Dolloff urged the school committee to preclude morning practices for athletics and other after-school activities as contrary to the purpose of starting school later. In January 2016, the district sent out surveys to parents (also available online) inquiring about preferences for three options: (a) no change; (b) starting all schools 20 minutes later; or, (c) starting elementary schools earlier than middle and high schools. On May 26, 2016, the school committee approved a 20 minute delay in start times for all students, beginning in the fall of 2016. Middle and high school students will begin at 8 a.m., elementary school students at 8:40 a.m. With respect to moving practices to the morning, the district website advised: “Will our student-athletes, musicians, and club members just have more morning practices, rehearsals, and meetings? No – The recommendation from the Start Times Task Force is to ensure that we avoid scheduling morning events to any greater extent than the current practice, taking into account facilities constraints for some programs.” (Yarmouth approves later start school start times (May 27, 2016) Portland Press Herald; Gardner, Yarmouth wrestles with later school start times (Mar. 30, 2016) The Forecaster; Yarmouth surveys opinions on school-day start (Jan. 19, 2016) The Forecaster; Yarmouth surveys opinions on school-day start (Jan. 19, 2016) The Forecaster; Gardner, Yarmouth considers later starts for middle, high schools (Nov. 18, 2015) The Forecaster.)
The Westbrook School Department delayed 2012-2013 middle school (grades 5-8) start times by 30 minutes and high school start times by 20 minutes, to 7:55 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., respectively. Superintendent Marc Gousse stated, “The main reason is, this is better for kids.” K-4 students begin at 8:40 a.m. (Higgins, Westbrook school prepares for final bell (May 24, 2012) American J.; Bridgers, Westbrook students may start their day a bit later (May 23, 2012) Portland Press Herald.)
On March 12, 2012, the Regional School Unit 3 school board voted to reduce the busing schedule from two tiers to one, meaning grades K-12 will all begin classes at the same time beginning in the fall of 2012. News reports reflect three possible start times: 8 a.m., 8:15 a.m., or 8:30 a.m. Middle schools and high schools presently begin at 7:30 a.m., elementary schools at 9 a.m. Superintendent Heather Perry projected educational benefits for adolescent students and $140,000 in annual savings. Some middle and high school students now board buses as early as 5:45 a.m. For 2012-2013, the district website reflects an 8:25 a.m. high school start time, 8:40 a.m. for middle school, and 8 a.m. for elementary schools. (Curtis, RSU 3 to drop to one bus run from two (Mar. 30, 2012) BDN Maine; Staples, RSU 3 board to vote on combining bus runs (Mar. 6, 2012) Morning Sentinel.)
MARYLAND — On June 17, 2015, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools School Board announced it will delay morning classes beginning in the 2016-2017 school year (the length of the delay and grade levels affected are undetermined), reserving $602,000 towards implementing the shift. Here’s how they got there: In early November 2012, after a petition to preclude students at any grade level from commencing morning classes before 8 a.m. in Anne Arundel County Public Schools had gathered more than 1,500 signatures, district spokesman Bob Mosier noted the “negative impact” a later high school release time would have on evening activities such as sports and homework. Mosier also advised that pushing back the present 7:17 a.m. high school start time while leaving “ ‘middle schools the way they are, that involves dozens more busses and millions more dollars.’ ” District middle schools presently begin between 7:55 a.m. and 9:10 a.m., elementary schools between 8:05 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Heather Macintosh with Start School Later pointed to studies evidencing benefits to student well-being and academic achievement when start times are delayed. The petition also seeks to preclude students from having to board buses before 7 a.m. The county auditor reports that buses begin collecting high school students as early as 5:30 a.m. Students are required to arrive 10 minutes before pickup; i.e., two hours before sunrise in the winter months. In a January 10, 2013 presentation to school officials (here), Dr. Judith Owens, Director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital, advised, “There is a natural shift in sleep and wake time that is associated with problems of teenagers getting to sleep much before 11 p.m. They simply cannot fall asleep.” School board members responded that “it’s not as simple as it sounds because it’s more of a logistical and financial issue.” A February 2013 “School Hours Study” issued by the district’s Transportation Division proposes four high school start times: Plan 1, 7:32 a.m.; Plan 2, 9:45 a.m.; Plan 3a, 8 a.m.; Plan 3b, 9:15 a.m., high school, 8 a.m., middle school. In March 2013, Mosier advised that pushing start times later would mean cutting school activities and adding more buses and staff. The change would cost millions of dollars. More than 56,000 students board buses every day in Anne Arundel County. Drivers cover more than 500 bus routes. While administrators said change is not out of the question, for now, it’s not a top priority. Mosier stated, “You need more buses. You need more drivers. You need more contracts.” On April 2, 2013, the Citizen Advisory Committee voted to send a report to the board showing increased parental support for later school start times and more district studies on the issue. On December 18, 2013, the school board voted 6-3 create to create a task force to study school start times. Amalie Brandenberg, voted with the minority, stating, “I firmly believe creating a task force is just a waste of people’s time[.]” The board also voted 5-4 to solicit input on whether schools should start 13 minutes later for the 2014-2015 school year. Parents, students, employees and the public will have access to see and comment on a potential schedule that would have all schools start and end 13 minutes later than they currently do. Under that plan the county’s 12 high schools would start at 7:30 a.m. and dismiss at 2:18 p.m. The 15-member task force will be appointed by the superintendent after consultation with the board. No timetable has been set for the creation of the task force, but their report is expected by the fall. On January 28, 2015, the Anne Arundel County Auditor issued a six-page resolution encouraging the superintendent and school board “to establish safe and healthy hours for all students[.]” On September 27, 2012, the Parent Advocacy Network passed a resolution supporting a later high school start time. The Maryland State Medical Society passed a similar resolution in 1998. In January 2016, Superintendent George Arlotto expressed his support for a plan that would start high schools at 8:30 a.m., middle schools no earlier than 9:30 a.m., and elementary schools at 7:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. On September 21, 2016, the board voted 6-2 to delay the 2017-2018 high school start time by 13 minutes to 7:30 a.m. “[O]ther schools” will start 15 minutes later. As a point of consternation among some board members, the change will push the school day past 4 p.m. for four middle schools, two elementary schools and two specialty schools. The new schedule will cost the school system $618,000 and require 10 additional buses. (Huang, County school board approves delayed start times (Sept. 21, 2016) The Baltimore Sun; Arlotto, School hours issue personal, emotional (Jan. 18, 2016) Capital Gazette; Staff, Board: Schools will start later in 2016-17 (Jun. 18, 2015) Capital Gazette; Editors, Our say: School board finally starts moving on start times (Feb. 20, 2015) Capital Gazette; St. George, Sleepy teens: Anne Arundel creates task force to study later high school bell times (Jan. 2, 2014) Wash. Post; Bourg, Anne Arundel schools to take another look at later start times (Dec. 20, 2013) Capital Gazette; AACO Asks for Public Input on Potential Changes to School Start Times (Dec. 19, 2013) Fox45 News; Burris, Residents press Arundel school board to consider later high school start times (Nov. 21, 2013) The Baltimore Sun; Pratt, Committee to provide feedback on school start times (Apr. 3, 2013) Capital Gazette; Anne Arundel County schools studies cost of changing start times (Mar. 14, 2013) WBAL; Arundel residents look to push back school start times (Jan. 11, 2013) WBAL; Group pushing to change school start times (Nov. 2, 2012) abc2news.com.)
Mandi Mader, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., a clinical social worker who treats adolescents, began an online petition on October 15, 2012 pushing for a delay to 8:15 a.m. or later from the present Montgomery County Public Schools 7:25 a.m. high school start time. On October 24, 2012, after the petition had garnered more than 5,000 signatures, Superintendent Joshua Starr advised that the school board will probably take up the issue soon. Officials plan to “dust off” a study from 1998, the last time the district seriously considered starting high school after 8:15 a.m. Starr “emphasized a hefty amount of skepticism that such a measure would pass this year.” Walt Whitman High School Principal Alan Goodwin is “opposed to changing the start time and thinks that moving it later in the morning would cause more problems than it would solve. [¶] Goodwin thinks that students are more likely to go bed later if they know they can sleep an extra hour in the morning. [¶] [H]e considers the problem of sleepy teens to largely be a parenting issue.” Goodwin also opposes any state mandated start time. (See, Md. House Bill 1462 (2013 Reg. Sess.).) Thomas S. Wootton High School Principal Michael Doran asserts that “ ‘[i]t’s not like what we’ve got wasn’t working, is not working, and there’s going to be a disaster. If there were real issues with grades and learning, this would come up more often with educators.’ ” Mader’s petition is the first act of the Montgomery County Chapter of the national advocacy group Start School Later. On December 11, 2012, Superintendent Joshua Starr said that he will form a work group to study later start times at public high schools. “… Starr made the unexpected announcement at a county Board of Education meeting after parents delivered two binders containing 950 pages and more than 10,000 signatures supporting later high school start times.” Mader told the school board, “If you don’t agree that forcing sleep deprivation on our teens is extremely unsafe, emotionally abusive, and not optimal for learning, then you are not up on the latest research. And you are giving in to the easy path of the status quo.” The school board also heard from Nicholas Pasquinelli, who graduated in June: “I went to school — the classes — exhausted, depressed and anxious most of the time.” That’s common, said Dr. Judith Owens, Director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Owens advised the school board, “Insufficient sleep is linked to poor academic performance, increased rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol and substance abuse.” As noted, supra, Dr. Owens prepared a powerpoint presentation for Maryland school officials (here in pdf). On October 1, 2013, Superintendent Starr announced that he will recommend the district adopt an 8:15 a.m. high school start time, advance the middle school start time by 10 minutes to 7:45 a.m., and extend the school day by 30 minutes for elementary school students. The board is scheduled to take up the issue at a meeting on October 8, 2013, with a presentation by the Bell Times Workgroup. The group began meeting in January 2013, examining research on teen sleep and school hours in other communities. On June 17, 2014, one week after Superintendent Starr shelved the plan to delay high school start times as too costly (at least $21.6 million annually), the board voted unanimously to request that Starr examine other scenarios costing no more than $10 million. Board member Patricia O’Neill noted that Fairfax County Public Schools had been presented with four options to delay high school start times ranging in cost from $2.8 million to $7.7 million. Starr has been asked to prepare a report in time for the next budget cycle. In January 2015, it was reported that school officials are offering five primary options for public consideration. Each proposal would cost less than $10 million annually. Starr has recommended that the board choose one of the no-cost options if it does want to make a change, and his preference is a 20-minutes-later approach for all of the district’s 202 schools. According to Starr, “It gets us part of the way there[.] It’s a partial measure, but it does do something to address the issue.” Principal Goodwin wrote a letter to the board saying high school principals support maintaining the schedule as is and listed 10 ways in which a change could be detrimental or was not needed. “We invite Board members to visit our schools during the first class period of a school day to see that our students are alert and engaged in learning,” Goodwin wrote. On February 9, 2015, the day before the scheduled school board vote, parents and students held a “sleep-in” outside district headquarters. On February 10, 2015, the board voted 5 to 3 in favor of the proposal to delay middle and high school start times by 20 minutes, and delay the elementary start time by 10 minutes. Teachers overwhelmingly opposed any delay. According to Mader, “Twenty minutes is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough[.] We’re not going away.” On April 21, 2015, the district reconsidered its February decision, and revised it by pushing the middle and high school start times back to 8:50 a.m. while advancing the elementary school start time to 8 a.m., all to begin in the 2016-2017 school year. A group of 1,200 parents calling themselves “Parents Who Want to Be Heard” is campaigning for the school board to reverse its decision advancing the elementary school start time, noting in June 2015 that if the current “school board members don’t listen to you, you still have five months to find new ones who will.” The district has posted an October 2014 Hanover Research start time report and Starr’s January 13, 2015 start time memorandum. (Barlow, Montgomery County school time change is not a dead issue (Jun. 1, 2015) Roanoke Times; Williams, Montgomery County School Board votes to change school start times (Apr. 21, 2015) Roanoke Times; St. George, Montgomery school board pushes high school start times 20 minutes later (Feb. 10, 2015) Wash. Post; Barros, “Sleep in Protest” For Later School Start Times (Feb. 9, 2015) mymcmedia; Kraut, ’Sleep In’ Protest Set For Day Before MCPS Bell Times Vote (Feb. 9, 2015) Bethesda Mag.; St. George, Pajama-clad students rally for later bell times ahead of Montgomery vote (Feb. 9, 2015) Wash. Post; Zauzmer & Hedgpeth, Teachers overwhelmingly oppose later high school start times in Montgomery (Feb. 6, 2015) Wash. Post; St. George, Montgomery parents plead for later high school start times (Jan. 23, 2015) Wash. Post; St. George, Montgomery parents plead for later high school start times (Jan. 23, 2015) Wash. Post; St. George, Changing school hours: Is 20 minutes later a good idea? Montgomery asks the public (Jan. 20, 2015) Wash. Post; St. George, Montgomery to reexamine later high school start times (Jun. 17, 2014) Wash. Post; St. George, Teen sleep: Montgomery vote on later high school start times scheduled for June (May 9, 2014) Wash. Post; Basch, Later bell time proposed for Montgomery County students (Dec. 17, 2013) WTOP; Thornton, School Super: Move High School Start Times Back by 50 Minutes (Oct. 1, 2013) Potomac Patch; St. George, Montgomery County schools chief pushes for later high school start times (Oct. 1, 2013) Wash. Post; St. George, Montgomery County school leaders to discuss later start times for high schools (Sept. 12, 2013) Wash. Post; Meron, House of Delegates to consider later school start time bill (Apr. 4, 2013) the black & white; Henrehan, Montgomery County Public Schools will review high school start times (Dec. 11, 2012) myFOXdc.com; St. George, Sleepy teens: Montgomery to study later high school start times (Dec. 11, 2012) Wash. Post; Cardoza, Later Start Time For Montgomery County High Schools Gains Traction (Dec. 10, 2012) WAMU 88.5; Edit. Board, Accommodating Montgomery teenagers (Dec. 8, 2012) Wash. Post; St. George, More sleep for teens? Montgomery petition signed by thousands (Nov. 2, 2012) Wash. Post; Rasicot, Not Everyone Thinks MCPS High Schools Should Start Later (Nov. 2, 2012) Bethesda Magazine; Gartner, Montgomery County to consider later start times for high schools (Oct. 24, 2012) The Examiner; Gartner, Montgomery parents push for later start times for high schools (Oct. 17, 2012) The Examiner; see also, Arnold, Teen Walking to School Hit By Car, Dies From Injuries (Nov. 1, 2012) Germantown Patch; Fard, Two Montgomery County teens struck by car, hospitalized (Oct. 3, 2012) Wash. Post.)
For the 2012-2013 school year, Prince George’s County Public Schools added a 40-minute “enrichment and intervention period” to the middle school schedule, permitting students to get extra help if they need it. Greenbelt Middle School advanced its start time from 9 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. The change was expected to save the district about $5 million by adding some middle school students to the high school bus schedule. For 2013-2014, again to save transportation expenses, middle school start times have been delayed to 9:15 a.m. (according to the superintendent), 9 a.m. (according to the press). The start time at Drew-Freeman Middle School has been advanced from 8:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. The bell schedule shows high schools start times range from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; K-8 schools start times, 8:30—9 a.m.; elementary schools start times, 7:45 a.m.—9:15 a.m. (Ryan, Greenbelt Middle School parents divided on later start time (Jun. 20, 2013) WTOP; Anfenson-Comeau, Parents divided over new school hours at Greenbelt Middle (Jun. 19, 2013) Gazette.Net; Crawley, Letter to Parents (May 21, 2013) Prince George’s County Public Schools; Nunn, Prince George’s middle-schoolers to see longer hours this year (Aug. 20, 2012) Gazette.Net.)
Howard County Public School System board member Brian Meshkin has urged “about an hour” delay in the present 7:25 a.m. high school start time, noting that it is “biologically contrary to have elementary school students starting earlier than high school students.” District middle schools begin between 7:40 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.; elementary schools between 8:15 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. In January 2013, the district announced it will be taking a “comprehensive look at the opening time of schools and the impact that an early opening has on the health and well-being of high school students.” Therapist Mark Donovan has started a Howard County Chapter of the StartSchoolLater national organization. Amy Rottier has initiated an online petition calling for all county schools to commence morning classes after 8 a.m. (Howard County parent petitioning for later school start times (May 10, 2013) ABC2NEWS; Jefferson, Movement to Change School Times Lands in Howard County (Feb. 13, 2013) Elkridge Patch; Toth, Howard school system takes look at start times (Feb. 12, 2013) The Baltimore Sun; Jefferson, School Start Times Under Review for Howard County Schools (Jan. 30, 2013) Elliot City Patch; Meshkin, Change High School Start Times (Jun. 14, 2012) Brian Meshkin, Board of Education.)
On January 2, 2013, the Frederick County Public Schools Board of Education charged a 15-member committee with assessing the district’s start and end times, apparently particularly with regard to determining the prospects for implementing a later high school start time. For 2012-2013, the district’s high schools begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m., middle schools at 8 a.m., and elementary schools at 9 a.m. As of the 2015-2016 year, no changes have been made to school starting hours. Moreover, the school board has memorialized its opposition to any Legislative start time intervention. In a 2015 Legislative Session, the school board reported: “The Board of Education of Frederick County has surveyed the community in the past regarding start times, as well as bell schedules. We believe that local boards of education are best positioned to determine the optimal balance of educational practices, inclusive of school start times and bell schedules for students that reflect the academic needs of students, community interest, and available funding and resources. As such, the Board of Education of Frederick County opposes legislation that would mandate that all school systems commence school after, before or at a specified time.” (Cunningham, Frederick County to review school start times (Jan. 17, 2013) Gazette.Net.)
MASSACHUSETTS — On October 23, 2018, after receiving the results of an online school start time survey, the Peabody Public Schools School Committee voted to take the issue up during its regular sessions. Seventy-two percent of student respondents reported that shifting the current 7:15 a.m. high school start time later would make their morning routine easier. When asked about the potential benefits of having school start and end later, more than 83% of students responded: “I would get more sleep.” Of the 614 students responding to the survey, 72% attend the district high school. On school nights, 34% of students reported getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep nightly, 46% reported getting between 6-7 hours, and 20% reported getting 7-8 hours. Although more than 72% of parents reported that their child needs an alarm clock or someone to wake them for school every morning (i.e., usually a sign that more sleep may be needed), the parents were also more likely to report that their children obtained adequate sleep. More than 42% of students reported feeling sleepy or sleep-deprived at school every day. Nearly 57% of responding teachers reported having 1 to 5 students who appear sleepy or lethargic on a daily basis. In assessing a start time change, district officials must attempt to manage costs for their three-tiered busing system which now delivers middle school students on the 2nd tier at 8:10 a.m., and elementary school students on the third tier at 8:50 a.m. District officials must also consider the impact of later school scheduling on sports and after-school activities as well as parents’ concerns that older students may no longer be available to provide afternoon daycare to their younger siblingsHowever, school officials also are trying to figure out what the unintended consequences might be of later start and end times on child care, busing costs, after-school activities and sports. (Forman, Peabody board mulls survey results on school start times (Oct. 25, 2018) The Salem News; Swift, School start time discussion in early stages in Peabody (Dec. 17, 2017) The Daily Item.)
In August 2017, it was reported that beginning in the fall of 2017, Ashland Public Schools will delay its high school school start time by 50 minutes to 8:20 a.m. and the middle school start time by 25 minutes to 8:15 a.m. According to Superintendent James Adams, “It’s certainly a big move …. but we know it’s the right thing for kids[.] The research is really clear on that. [¶] It’s been a process here in Ashland, with many, many folks in the community …. taking part in doing really a lot of research and studies with regard to the health benefits for kids[.] We’re excited.” The elementary school (grades 3-5) will begin at 7:55 a.m. (Bosma, Later school start times to begin in Ashland (Aug. 27, 2017) Wicked Local.)
On April 26, 2017, Norwood Public Schools School Committee appointed committee members Maura Smith and Teresa Stewart to a subcommittee tasked with evaluating possible benefits to changing district start times. Norwood’s five elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m., Coakley Middle School begins at 7:25 a.m., and Norwood High School begins at 7:40 a.m. On May 10, 2017, Smith and Stewart reported on the science supporting starting middle and high school no earlier than 8:30 a.m. A working group will be formed to begin assessing the community’s interest in shifting start times and how such a change might be accomplished. According to Smith, “This is a year, year-and-a-half, two-year process to do it right[.] It’s a large game of Jenga.” Smith proposed surveying the community and forming a Student Advisory Panel. Chairman Myev Bodenhofer expressed support for later secondary school start times, particularly for middle school students. “It bothers me that we have 12-year-olds standing in the dark waiting for the bus[.]” (McGoff, Norwood School Committee looks at changing start times (May 19, 2017) Wicked Local Norwood; Roberson, School Committee outlines goals for override and start times (May 17, 2017) Norwood Record; Libon, Committee to Review Study Possible Shift in Norwood Schools Start Times (Apr. 27, 2017) Norwood Patch.)
On November 3, 2014, Falmouth Public Schools held a community forum at Falmouth High School to discuss the possibility of delaying the high school start time. The high school begins morning classes at 7:22 a.m., Lawrence School (grades 7-8) begins at 8:15 a.m., Morse Pond School (grades 5-6) begins at 8:25 a.m., and the four district elementary schools (pre K-4) begin at 9:05 a.m. Attendees expressed a range of concerns about sports schedules and elementary school kids. Pediatrician Gregory Parkinson, one of twelve forum panelists, explained, “The problem is you can’t just say, ‘Go to bed earlier[.]’ Their clocks just won’t allow them to.” Despite reservations about the effect it would have on elementary school students, Christine Lanoue, president of the Falmouth Band Parents Organization, said she supported the idea. (Apparently unstated in the Cape Cod Times article is consideration of advancing elementary school schedules.) “It’s a very easy concept to get around[.] I think it makes the most sense.” Parent Becky McCullough was concerned about Falmouth making the switch alone. “If all Cape towns [don’t] make the switch, it seems like it’s an imposition[.]” In the summer of 2015, the district formed a Start Times Task Force to explore the possibility of changing middle and high school start times to later in the morning. On October 18, 2016, the district held another forum to discuss the task force’s progress and to present the results of parent and staff surveys. In a survey conducted in the late spring of the 2015–2016 school year, more than 90% of responding grade 9, 10, and 11 Falmouth High School students reported sleeping less than 8 hours per night with approximately half sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Although no scenarios were discussed at the task force forum, some parents expressed concerns about the possibility of younger students starting school earlier if the start time changes. In the spring of 2017, the Start Time Task Force recommended against making any schedules changes. “[C]oncerns raised by the community … didn’t justify expected benefits.” School Committee Chairman and Task Force Co-chairman Alan Jacobs stated, “Not recommending a change is not an endorsement of what we are doing now[.] We have not come up with another solution.” To address adolescent exhaustion and its relationship to external factors, the task force recommended formation of another task force broadly focused on student health, including issues such as sleep, excessive homework, cellphone screens, media consumption, drugs and alcohol. Parent and task force member Joel Smith contended that particular attention should to be paid to the relationship between sleep and drug use. According to Smith, “Every school that has gone to a later start time has seen a fall in drug addiction rates, while every school that moved their times to earlier times saw an increase in drug abuse[.]” (Falmouth Task Force Holds Off on Changing School Start Times (May 16, 2017) CapeCod.com; Carter, Falmouth School Start Time Task Force Recommends No Change (Apr. 28, 2017) The Falmouth Enterprise; Carter, Community Split On School Start Time Change (Oct. 21, 2016) The Falmouth Enterprise; Driscoll, Falmouth weighs later start time for high school (Nov. 4, 2014) Cape Cod Times.)
On June 28, 2016, the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District Start Time Advisory Committee in recommended that school begin no earlier than 8 a.m. beginning in the fall of 2017; i.e., a 30 minute delay from the present 7:30 a.m. start time. Committee member Johanna Boynton stated that the advisory committee believes the start time could be as late as 8:07 a.m., but not 8:30 a.m., because school buses would have to fight heavy traffic on Concord’s roads at that time of the morning, resulting in students spending as much time on buses as they do now. The advisory committee recommended educating the community and seeking input from residents. Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty reported that starting later will require five more school buses at a cost of $500,000. Superintendent Diana Rigby advised that a warrant article requesting funding will need to be prepared by December in order to be presented to voters. In March of 2015, Concord Middle School Principal Lynne Beattie addressed the prospect of delaying the school’s 8:15 a.m. start time, but changing the middle school start time does not appear to be part of the 2016 discussion. Mary Hamaker, president of Massachusett’s Start School Later statewide chapter, contends, “We have a school population full of chronically sleep-deprived teens[.]” Hamaker’s group recently introduced a statewide petition calling for high schools and middle schools to begin classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Noting that buses, athletics, and extracurricular activities pose logistical challenges to starting later, Hamaker favors a statewide approach to the issue. “If every school has the same schedule, that takes those challenges away,” she said. (Schwan, Later start time recommended at Concord-Carlisle High (Jun. 29, 2016) Wicked Local Concord; Tuoti, Group pushes for later start to school day (Mar. 19, 2015) Wicked Local.)
On June 9, 2016, the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District Wellness Advisory Committee reported that a survey of 495 of its high school students found that 39 percent of them fall asleep in class one or more times during the week. One in 10 falls asleep in class every day. Eighty-five percent of district high school students get less than 7 hours of sleep on a school night. For 2015-2016, the high school began morning classes at 7:23 a.m., the middle school (grades 7-8) at 7:30 a.m., and the 6 elementary schools at 8:40 a.m. or 9:20 a.m. A survey of junior and high school parents found that more than 85% believe classes begin too early. Noting the array of positive outcomes associated with later school scheduling, the Wellness Advisory Committee concluded that shifting the school start time to comport with adolescent biology would benefit students. School Committee Chairwoman Mary Brolin reports that committee members will discuss the matter during a summer workshop, which could result in the formation of a subcommittee “to take on the matter.” (Loughman, Acton-Boxborough advisory committee presents sleep data (Jun. 13, 2016) Boxborough Wicked Local.)
On June 8, 2016, the Hanover Public Schools School Committee voted 4-1 to delay the high school start time by 30 minutes to 7:55 a.m. Believing that students would be better served by a one hour delay, board member Libby Corbo cast the lone dissenting vote. Corbo proposed that “[i]f we’re going to make a change — and I think we should make one — as we proceed I think it would be better to take a year and try to coordinate all schedules — the middle school and the elementary schools[.]” The start time shift was proposed by Hanover High School Principal Matthew Paquette, who explained that a change greater than 30 minutes would have cut into transportation schedules and could have been cost prohibitive at nearly double the price; i.e., 30 minutes is all the district can presently “buy.” Administrators will collect data on attendance, performance, disciplinary action and tardiness to help the committee make future start time determinations. The 7:30 a.m. middle school (grades 5-8) start time and 8:30 a.m. elementary school (K-4) start time will apparently not be disturbed. (Tiernan, High school day will start later for Hanover students (Jun. 9, 2016) Wicked Local.)
On May 25, 2016, the Monomoy Regional School District School Committee voted 4-2 to delay the start time for its middle and high school students by 30 minutes to 8:30 a.m. beginning in 2017-2018. School committee member Amy Middleton urged that the change be implemented in the fall of 2016, noting that “[w]e lose an hour of quality learning time each day because children are exhausted by 2 p.m.” The district’s two elementary schools will advance their start time by one hour to 7:45 a.m. A plan to start all students at 8:15 a.m. was ruled out as too costly since it would require doubling the bus fleet. Superintendent Scott Carpenter requested the one year implementation delay to allow parents and school officials to budget for possible increases in child care and school transportation expenses. (Fraser, Monomoy adopts new school starting times for 2017 (Jun. 7, 2016) Cape Cod Times.)
On May 21, 2015, Newton Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Bergen prepared a memo indicating that the district continues to evaluate a means of shifting the current high school start times (7:40 a.m., Newton South; 7:50 a.m., Newton North; 8:10 a.m., Newton Central) to times between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. One scenario would advance the elementary school start time by 55 minutes to 7:30 a.m. Another possibility would be to advance start of morning classes for the middle schools (presently 8 a.m., Oak Hill; 8:05 a.m., F.A. Day; 8:15 a.m., Bigelow; 8:30 a.m., Charles E. Brown) to times between 7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. Kindergarten begins at 8:30 a.m. On June 20, 2016, the High School Start Time Working Group presented multiple possible schedule revisions to the school committee. A public forum will take place in October 2016. The district reports 12,503 students were enrolled as of October 2014. Notably, Newton North is among the five most expensive public schools in the country, and the most expensive public school ever built in Massachusetts at $197.5 million. (Lovett, Newton panel unveils later start times plans (Jun. 21, 2016) Wicked Local Newton; Morrison, Newton high school start times in focus (Jun. 2, 2105) Wicked Local Newton; see also, Levin, Push back the high school start times (Sept. 3, 2015) Newton TAB Blog; see also, Levin, Push back the high school start times (Sept. 3, 2015) Newton TAB Blog.)
The Georgetown Public Schools School Committee has approved an exploratory committee to undertake a comprehensive study to determine the feasibility of delaying the 7:30 a.m. Georgetown Middle High School (grades 7-12) start time. According to the district website, the exploratory committee will review the research, study districts that have made the change, seek options from and educate the public, and assess logistical and resource challenges. On May 24, 2016, Start School Later Georgetown held a community forum to discuss shifting the start times for Penn Brook Elementary School (K-6), currently starting morning classes at 8:40 a.m., and Georgetown Middle High School. Mary Lyon, a GMHS business teacher, began the meeting by explaining the rationale supporting later secondary school scheduling. Parents opposing later school start times cited daycare, scheduling conflicts, financial costs, and lost family time as reasons to maintain the status quo. A high school student said she would be “more stressed out than I already am because everything would get pushed back an hour.” Others agreed, asking if you push the end of school back then kids get home later, start homework later, and go to bed later, so aren’t “we back in the same boat, just cutting their sleep at the other end?” Those in favor of the later start time focused on the health and wellness of the children. Dr. William Medwig, a physician for the district, explained that “once a child reaches puberty, their circadian rhythm changes and they, quite simply, cannot go to bed earlier.” On May 31, 2016, a survey went out to all Penn Brook, GMHS, and Perley (Pre-K, begins classes at 9 a.m.) teachers and all upper elementary, middle and high school students. In July 2016, the district report that 85 percent of teachers and staff (n=142) believe the current start time is “right on.” Seventy-eight percent also felt children were ready to learn at the start of the day. When asked what schedules would work best, 54 percent prefer status quo and 46 percent want change. If implemented, the new schedule would begin no sooner than the 2017-2018 school year. (van Galen, Georgetown school start time survey results released (Jul. 7, 2016) Wicked Local Georgetown; van Galen, Forum discusses later school start times for Georgetown (May 25, 2016) Wicked Local Georgetown; Later school start time idea gaining steam in Georgetown (May 17, 2016) Wicked Local Georgetown.)
In January 2015, the Melrose Board of Health unanimously recommended implementation of later secondary school scheduling in Melrose Public Schools. The letter detailed the medical basis for the proposed change. For 2014-2015, morning classes at Melrose High School begin at 7:45 a.m. and 7:40 a.m. at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. The school committee has added consideration of later school scheduling to its agenda. The district’s four elementary schools begin at 8:15 a.m. (Thompson, Melrose Board Of Health Says ‘Start School Later!’ Starting classes at 8:30 a.m. or later may help keep teens alert and healthy. (Feb. 16, 2015) Melrose Patch.)
On December 1, 2014, the Dover-Sherborn Regional School District issued a press release stating that in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics secondary school start time Policy Statement, the district had formed a committee “to research and explore school start time options, with an emphasis on later school start times for at least the middle and high school.” The district website reflects a 7:40 a.m. middle and high school start time, 8:35 a.m. for the elementary schools. The change would be “potentially implemented” for the 2015-2016 academic year. The district has posted a school start time resource page.
After hearing from dozens of parents, for the second time in two years, the Natick Public Schools District School Committee is considering a delay in the present 7:30 a.m. high school start time. The committee is evaluating two possible plans, each of which involves advancing the present 7:50 a.m. middle school start time. One option would delay the start of the high school day to 8:32 a.m., while advancing the middle school start time to 7:32 a.m., and advancing the elementary school start time to 7:50 a.m. Another option would delay the high school start time to 8:15 a.m., advance the middle school start time to 7:45 a.m., and start all elementary schools at 8:45 a.m. The school hours webpage shows elementary school start times ranging from 8:15 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Previously, on August 14, 2012, the school committee voted to have administrators look into shifting the 7:30 a.m. high school start time about an hour later. Committee member David Margil stated, “Various studies over the years indicated physiologically kids at high school just aren’t at their best when (the school day) starts.” No change was made in 2012 and should the present school committee adjust school hours, the change would not be implemented before the 2015-2016 school year. The district has installed a Start Time Resources webpage. (Natick School Committee gearing up for vote on school start times (Sept. 17, 2014) Metro-West Daily News; Benson, Natick committee to mull school start times over summer (Jun. 27, 2014) Metro-West Daily News; Benson, Administrators to look at later Natick High start time (Aug. 16, 2012) Metro-West Daily News.)
In December 2013, Canton Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Granatino announced that the Start Time Committee will hold a parent information night on January 15, 2014. Granatino stated the committee will make recommendations to the school board after meeting with parents. Canton could have the middle and high school days start later, for instance, but that could entail shifting from four to three bus tiers, which could mean needing five to 10 more school buses, at an approximate cost of $55,000 per bus. Canton High School presently begins morning classes at 7:20 a.m., Galvin Middle School at 7:45 a.m. Elementary schools begin at 8:25 a.m., or later. Granatino first proposed forming a committee to consider the feasibility of delaying high school start times in November 2011. Granatino noted then that whether the district would be able to make the change would depend in part upon economic feasibility; i.e., busing costs. (Melanson, Shift in Canton school hours may loom ahead (Dec. 28, 2013) Wicked Local Canton; Berger, School super to convene group to review start times (Nov. 19, 2011) Canton Citizen; Melanson, Schools consider a later start for Canton High School students (Nov. 14, 2011) Wicked Local Canton.)
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District High School Principal Ken Jenks and the Cape Cod Justice for Youth Collaborative are exploring ways to begin morning classes later than the present 7:22 a.m. start time. On November 18, 2013, Jenks advised the school committee that there is overwhelming physiological, neurological, and sociological evidence suggesting a later start time would help students. “The evidence is in,” Jenks said. “It’s beneficial.” The principal cited a number of studies measuring the impact extra sleep can have on teenagers’ behavior and health. Jenks said schools that moved to later start times could expect improved attendance, decreased tardiness, fewer discipline problems, declines in both physical and psychological ailments, and significant gains in cognitive functioning and academic performance. In a letter to the school committee, Dr. Peter Edwards, director of the Cape Cod Justice for Youth Collaborative, explained, “Adolescents experience a central nervous system change at age 14, and this results in a definite change in their sleep cycle.” Just as children are entering their teenage years, Edwards says, their bodies insist upon a new schedule. “A typical adolescent’s natural time to fall asleep is 11 p.m.; they may feel wide awake at bedtime, even when they are exhausted. This leads to sleep deprivation, as teens must wake up early for school, and thus do not get the nine hours of sleep that they need.” Edwards wrote that the course for high schools is clear. “An adolescent performs much better when his sleep cycle is allowed to occur naturally, in concert with the hormone and brain alterations taking place at this time. Improvement in adolescent behavior and performance occurs with each hour of delay until the optimal time of 11 a.m.” Jenks noted that while that optimal time may not be realistic, some adjustment to the high school’s start time should be possible. “Once you move it about half an hour to 45 minutes, I think that’s a reasonable time,” he said, apparently unaware that 8:30 a.m. is the earliest start time proposed by any expert for middle or high school students. (See, Appendix C.) The school committee was generally supportive of the idea. Members suggested reviewing transportation requirements. Jenks stated teachers and students would be surveyed. The districts’ middle schools begin at 8 a.m., the elementary schools at 9:20 a.m. (Powers-Smith, D-Y High considers later start time (Nov. 22, 2013) The Register.)
A&F Bus Company, the current provider of transportation services for Burlington Public Schools, lost the contract bid for Shawsheen Valley Technical High School. Burlington Public Schools shares buses with Shawsheen Tech, so schedule and routing changes may be needed at Burlington. Burlington Superintendent Eric Conti proposed a 4-tier busing system, delaying the high school start time by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. The middle school would retain its 7:30 a.m. start time. Elementary schools would start at 8:10 a.m. (Pine Glen), 8:35 a.m. (Memorial and Francis Wyman), and 8:55 a.m. (Fox Hill). The school committee will determine the busing and school schedules over the summer. The bell schedule for Shawsheen Tech reflects a 7:30 a.m. start time. (Biagiotti, Schools mull bus schedule options (Jun. 18, 2013) Daily Times Chronicle.)
In 2008, a group of teachers and parents appointed by the Northampton Public Schools School Committee to explore a later start time for Northampton High School students recommended a one hour delay from the current 7:30 a.m. start time. In 2010, the principal presented a plan to begin classes at 8 a.m. Budget issues and “complex” scheduling problems have sidelined implementation of any new school schedule. When the issue was addressed at a November 10, 2011 school committee meeting, Brian Salzer, Ed.S., the committee’s unanimous June 2011 selection as new superintendent from a field of 23 applicants, “did not mince words when he told committee members that changing the start time at the high school ‘is not a top priority of the administrative team and it is not a top priority on my list. If you would like it to be, you will have to give me direction.’” Committee member Howard Moore noted the reason for the current 7:30 a.km. high school start time is the bus schedule, “not because it’s what’s good for education.” Committee Vice Chairwoman Stephanie Pick said she had “never heard ‘a single teacher’ at the high school lobby for a change in the start time.” The matter was tabled until January of 2012, at which time it was further delayed until 2013, much to the chagrin of many community members, and one teacher. More than 200 citizens signed a letter sent to Mayor David Narkewicz and the school committee urging a high school start time of 8:20 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. At a community forum convened by the superintendent to discuss the pros and cons of a start time change, author, psychologist, and parent Kay Saakvitne, Ph.D., offered this observation: “It’s not about opinions anymore. It’s about facts.” In December 2012, the superintendent proposed forming another start time committee “to continue researching alternative proposals and to survey the community” on the start time issue. On May 9, 2013, the study committee presented the school committee with a plan to delay the high school start time to 8:15 a.m. On June 13, 2013, the school committee voted 7-2 to implement a high school start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. no later than September of 2014. In January 2014, Interim School Superintendent Regina Nash pledged to resolve the issue of a later start time at Northampton High School before a new schools chief is hired in July. Nash essentially proposes switching middle and high school schedules, advancing the JFK Middle School start time by 25 minutes to 7:30 a.m., and delaying the high school start time to 8 a.m. Nash also proposes the school committee spend up to $10,000 to hire a consultant to review a later start-time scenario for the high school that would also involve changing bus routes and start times at the city’s four elementary schools and JFK Middle School. A second option would be to create a separate bus system for the high school, which would cost in the neighborhood of $300,000. A third option proposed by school committee member Howard Moore would have the elementary schools starting before 8 a.m., JFK Middle School around 8:15 a.m. and the high school at 8:45 a.m. The plan would combine elementary and high school bus routes in what would become a two-tiered system. In April 2014, the school committee voted to request more study of the busing requirements needed to change start times, with a final report due in February 2015. (Solow, Northampton school board delays changing high school start time (Apr. 11, 2014) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Solow, Northampton interim School Superintendent Regina Nash rekindles later start time debate (Jan. 8, 2014) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Solow, School Committee votes to move start time later at Northampton High beginning in 2014 (Jun. 14, 2013) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Staff, Northampton High School to Get Later Start Time (Jun. 14, 2013) ABC40; Solow, Study committee recommends moving Northampton High School start time from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. (May 9, 2013) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Solow, Northampton school leaders to form another committee on school start times (Dec. 12, 2012) Hampshire Daily Gazette; School Start Time: Snooze or Lose? A Community Forum (May 22, 2012) WHMP; Buttenwieser, Change in school start time valid, even if cumbersome (May 8, 2012) Hampshire Daily Gazette; Editorial, Change the start time already (Apr. 24, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Herrell, Been there, done that (Apr. 17, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Goldstein, End abuse of early school days (Apr. 16, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Editorial: Dithering on school start(Jan. 21, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Northampton High School start time remains 7:30 a.m., pending further study (Jan. 13, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Solow, Northampton School Committee delays vote on high school start time (Nov. 11, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Superintendent Blog, Brian Salzer named new Northampton school superintendent (Jul. 13, 2011) Northampton Public Schools; Solow, Issue Tracker: Slow going for advocates of later high school start time (May 9, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette; see also, see also, Herrell, The School Start-Time Song (Aug. 13, 2012) YouTube [Mr. Herrell provides a lyrics sheet here (docx)]; Hanauer, Research plentiful on later school start times (Dec. 22, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette [letter to the editor responding to piece by Ms. Mangione]; Mangione, New start needed on old debate (Dec. 14, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette [op-ed piece from parent criticizing a perceived lack of transparency in the start time change process and questioning the need to change]; Dietz, Teens’ sleep needs dictate later school start time (Dec. 3, 2011) Gazettenet.com [letter to the editor from Northampton student urging later start times]; Hanauer, Good evidence, but no action (Nov. 15, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazett; Herrell, Sound reasons for later start (Jul. 7, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette [op-ed by Steve Herrell responding to student editorial]; Schumacher & Moss-Horwitz, Shifting NHS hours a non-starter (Jun. 14, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette [student editorial opposing later start times].)
For 2013-2014, Hudson Public Schools will delay the Quinn Middle School start time by 10 minutes to 7:47 a.m. Mulready Elementary School will also delay its start time to 8:30 a.m., aligning start times among the district’s three elementary schools. Hudson High School will apparently retain its 7:30 a.m. start time. The district was able to change its transportation plan by elevating fifth-graders from the elementary schools to the middle school. The change is otherwise expected to make busing more efficient and improve professional development opportunities. (Malachowski, Hudson’s Mulready, Quinn schools to start later next year (Apr. 11, 2013) MetroWest Daily News.)
Swansea Public Schools Superintendent Christine Stanton announced that 2012-2013 middle and high school classes will be delayed by 15 minutes to 7:30 a.m. in an effort to improve attendance. The new schedule will be evaluated after one year. (Austin, Classes will start later for schools in Swansea under pilot program (Aug. 15, 2012) SouthCoastToday.com.)
Weston Public Schools has tasked a committee with studying a change in the current 7:30 a.m. high school start time. Committee member and Superintendent Cheryl Maloney observes, “Teenagers need a lot, a lot of sleep. They’re exhausted, and they’re growing. Their bod[ies] need that rest in order to support this phenomenal physical, emotional, intellectual growth that’s happening.” Erica Cole, a high school assistant principal and a member of the start-time committee, said the inquiry is grounded in an increasing body of research on the sleep needs of teens that debunks the stereotype of the lazy teenager. “It’s not something that can be fixed by saying, well, they should be going to bed earlier,” Cole said, adding that research shows students’ bodies and minds do not allow them to “power down” until a certain time. Cole is writing her doctoral dissertation on the adolescent brain and sleep. “I’m 32 years old, and I have a hard enough time getting up to be here at 7:30, and I’ve always been a morning person.” Professor Carskadon noted that pushing back school start times helps improve academic performance and also leads to happier teens. “There’s kind of a buoyancy that is achieved by making this change, because teachers end up getting more sleep, too.” Carskadon added that studies have even shown fewer automobile accidents when teens have more time to get to school. “That’s life and limb.” The middle school presently begins morning classes at 7:40 a.m. (Hennick, High school may change its start time (Jul. 26, 2012) boston.com.)
The superintendent of Middleborough Public Schools is considering a plan to put middle and high school students on the same buses, potentially saving money and enabling the high school students to begin about 30 minutes later, “which all the research says (is better).” The 2011-2012 bell schedule reflects a 7:20 a.m. high school start time, 7:55 a.m. middle school start, and 8:50 a.m. for the elementary schools. (Dow, School bus plan would allow later opening at MHS (Mar. 1, 2012) SouthCoastToday.com; see also, Middleboro school bus routes could change (Apr. 25, 2012) Enterprise.com.)
Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, Nauset Regional High School delayed its start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. In the first two months of the school year, data show a 53 percent drop in the number of failing grades, from 221 in September and October of 2010 to 104 during the same time period in 2011. The number of D’s and F’s also dropped, from 597 to 368, a 38 percent decline. The number of days students were suspended for disciplinary reasons fell from 166 in the first two months of 2010 to 19 days in September and October of 2011. School principal Tom Conrad stated, “I think the tone of the day has changed dramatically. That’s reflected in the overall (mood) of the student body. It’s very clear to me it’s a more relaxed opening of school than with the 7:25 a.m. start time. Students seem to be more alert and they don’t seem to be rushing to get to class within seconds of getting to school.” For years, Conrad had advocated later start times based on studies showing improved academic outcomes and positive effects on student health and well-being. Middle school start times have been advanced. (Editorial, Let teens hit the snooze (Jan. 23, 2012) Bangor Daily News; Fraser, Later start time lauded at Nauset High (Jan. 10, 2012) Cape Cod Times.)
The Easton School Committee has decided to appoint an exploratory committee to consider the feasibility of changing start times for Easton Public Schools. Currently, Oliver Ames High School and Easton Middle School have the earliest start times in the district, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and 7:35 a.m. respectively. School Committee members noted that the decision to form an exploratory committee stems from concerns that “high-school aged children and adolescents may not be getting enough sleep, which therefore affects their learning abilities.” Committee member Colleen Less observed, “Anybody who has kids can see how they get up when they’re younger earlier in the day and by the time they’re in middle school you’re pulling them out of the bed with their feet. If it were a function of changing bedtimes, we all would have done it. It’s not that they’re staying up too late. Literally, their body’s timing is such at this stage in their development that they find it difficult to go to bed.” School Committee Chairwoman Jane Martin advised that since evaluating the change will require “a significant period of education,” it will not happen next year. (Graeber, Easton schools looking at later high school start time (Dec. 21, 2011) Enterprise News; Maguire, Exploratory Committee to Address School Start Times (Nov. 4, 2011) Easton Patch.)
In order to improve student “sleep benefits,” Amherst Regional Public Schools considered various options to delay start times for middle and high school students. Superintendent Maria Geryk recommended a change in the 7:45 a.m. start time beginning in 2013, noting the evidence supporting later start times is “compelling.” The introduction to the Report of the Later Start Times Task Force notes, “In our survey of secondary students in the Amherst regional schools, 51 percent reported falling asleep in class ‘occasionally’ and an additional 12 percent reported doing so every day.” Geryk contends that “[i]n order to demonstrate our commitment to meeting the needs of all of our students — emotionally, psychologically, physically and academically — we must recommend a later start time.” The superintendent proposed a 9 a.m. middle and high school start time, and an 8:15 a.m. elementary school start time (representing a 25 minute advance). The school committee was scheduled to vote on the matter on May 22, 2012, but they “found out taking classes at nearby colleges, playing sports and participating in after school activities all would be affected, so they decided more research is necessary.” Geryk indicated that five sports teams would probably be eliminated. On October 23, 2012, the Committee voted 6-3 against the superintendent’s plan. An 8 a.m. secondary school start time is instead being considered. (Grabbe, Thumbs down on earlier school start time in Amherst (Oct. 24, 2012) Amherst Bull.; Storrow, School start time change stymied (May 25, 2012) Amherst Bull.; Cho, Amherst school start time remains unchanged (May 23, 2012) wwlp.com; Grabbe, More questions raised about school start time in Amherst (May 9, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Grabbe, Amherst Regional School Committee begins debating later school start time (Apr. 25, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Grabbe, Amherst superintendent recommends later start time for secondary schools (Apr. 24, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Grabbe, Amherst school start time unlikely to change by fall (Apr. 3, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Grabbe, Parents express mixed views on shifting school start times in Amherst (Jan. 26, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Grabbe, Amherst considers impact of starting school later for secondary students (Jan. 6, 2012) Amherst Bull.; Grabbe, Amherst Regional eyes later school start time (Dec. 9, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Lederman, Amherst considering change in school starting times (May 12, 2011) masslive.com; Report of the Later Start Times Task Force (Apr. 15, 2011) Amherst Regional Public Schools; see also, Clay, Later school start time won’t deliver solution to teen sleep problem (May 18, 2012) Amherst Bull.; Van Peski, Later school start wrong remedy (Mar. 1, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette.)
In 2010, North Andover Public Schools began looking into the possibility of delaying middle and high school start times and a School Start Time Advisory Committee was formed. Dr. Mary Carskadon gave a power point presentation concerning adolescent sleep and development. As a result, for the 2011-2012 academic year, middle school start times were delayed from 7:45 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. and high school start times delayed from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. The 2014-2015 bell schedule reflects a 7:43 a.m. high school start time, and 7:45 a.m. for the middle school. (Advisory Committee Final Rep. (Nov. 2010); School Start Times (Dec. 2, 2010) School Committee Presentation; School Start Times (Dec. 2, 2010) School Committee Presentation.) Again, the earliest secondary school start time proposed by Carskadon (or any other expert) is 8:30 a.m. (Wolfson & Carskadon, A Survey of Factors Influencing High School Start Times (Mar. 2005) 89 Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals Bull. 642, p. 49.)
In 2008, following a presentation by Cornell University Professor of Psychology James Maas concerning the “conflict” between “academic clocks” and “teenagers’ body clocks,” Deerfield Academy pushed back start times from 7:55 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The change brought an “increase in hot breakfasts served, a drastic reduction of unexcused absences, a record increase in grades and a 20-percent reduction in visits to the health center — even though neighboring schools reported a higher number of flu cases than normal.” Academic Dean Peter Warsaw noted that teachers were “delighted” that students were “more attentive and engaged.” Teachers of first-period classes reported that “vibrant discussions now began at the opening bell instead of half-way through the class.” (Lim, Maas Pushes for Later Start Time at Schools (Feb. 26, 2009) The Cornell Daily Sun.)
MICHIGAN — In April 2016, the Ewen-Trout Creek School District School Board voted unanimously to delay the high school start time by 30 minutes to 8:30 a.m. beginning in the fall of 2016. Three new start time options were proposed in a parent survey: 8:15 a.m., 8:35 a.m., or 9 a.m. The parents chose 8:35 a.m. Superintendent Alan Tulppo “needed no convincing of the merits of a later first bell. ‘I am aware of the evidence. We’re always looking at ways to improve student achievement.’ ” Tulppo reported that there was no opposition. “It was more a dialogue than an argument[.] The students were overwhelmingly in favor of it.” The press does not indicate that any change will be made to the elementary school or junior high school start time, both 8 a.m. (Roelofs, Asleep at the desk: How school begins for many Michigan teens (May 31, 2016) Bridge Magazine.
For the 2015-2016 school year, Bradford Academy will delay the high school start time by 15 minutes to 8 a.m., and delay the middle school start time by 75 minutes to 9 a.m. The district cites the pertinent research as the basis for the start time change. Elementary school schedules will be delayed from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Kindergarden and pre-K students will also begin at 9 a.m. Bradford Academy reports a 2014 enrollment of 1,247 students.
Mount Pleasant Public Schools is considering a plan to implement a common start time. For 2014-2015, the high school opening bell rings at 7:37 a.m., the middle school at 8:05 a.m. (following a 7:29 a.m. Advisory Period), and, to the extent it can be discerned from the district website, the elementary schools begin at 8:45 a.m. Superintendent Mike Pung noted that the district would have to purchase six new buses at $88,000 each. The superintendent advised that while there would be an initial investment required, the district would save money in the long run. Pung reported that for high school students, “the later the better[.]” Pung noted that research has established that starting high school classes later is optimal due to later sleep cycles that teenagers naturally have. Board president Tim Odykirk reported that the committee tasked with exploring later school scheduling found that academic and health improvements can both be seen in adolescents with later school day start times. Pung stated the board will start promoting public forums so community members could offer their input. No changes are anticipated before the fall of 2015. (Shaffer, Mt. Pleasant district discusses later start times, year round school (Feb. 4, 2015) Morning Sun.)
At an April 25, 2012 meeting of the Ann Arbor Public Schools school board, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Joyce Hunter led a discussion about studying the possibility of a start time delay for high school students in order to comport with “night owl” adolescent sleep patterns. The 2012-2013 bell schedule reflects high school start times ranging from 7:30 a.m. to 8:08 a.m.; an 8:10 a.m. middle school start time; and 8:08 a.m., 8:48 a.m., 9:03 a.m. elementary school start times. A committee composed of administrators, several parents, and directors of transportation and athletics, met “repeatedly” to discuss the feasibility of later start times at the high schools. In December 2012, Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services Alesia Flye said she did not see any research that conclusively shows a later start time would significantly improve student achievement. “As a committee, we were not convinced the research suggests that if we make these huge adjustments, we will see huge academic gains.” Flye said it is the recommendation of the committee that the group conduct a survey of elementary, middle and high school students to get a better understanding for how a later start time might impact them. Trustee Glenn Nelson recommended that start times should revert to low on the priority list. On February 6, 2013, however, Ann Arbor Communications Director Liz Margolis sent an email to parents across the district with a link to a survey inquiring whether they would be negatively affected by a 15 to 20 minute delay in the high start time. In December 2014, school board secretary Andy Thomas said the board’s performance committee will examine delaying high school start times in March. Scott Menzel, Superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District, said in building Ypsilanti Community Schools, the administrative team looked at modifying the start schedule to begin school at 8 a.m. “Recognizing even when we were building a new system, we found unintended challenges relating to how it impacted the whole system[.] Ypsilanti Community High School starts at 8 a.m., and the STEMM Academy starts at 7:50 a.m. Menzel states that starting elementary school before high school poses difficulty for the high school students who are charged with watching their younger siblings. By contrast, if elementary school starts after high school with a late start time, young students aren’t getting home until after 5 p.m. and are exhausted by the end of the day. Menzel observes that some factors, such as students’ sleep schedules, are out of the district’s control. “I think in an ideal world it would be great to shift the time[.] We’re not going to stop all the problems because there still are going to be kids who don’t (get) enough sleep.” Ronald Chervin, a Professor of Neurology professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic, believes that it’s in everyone’s best interest to bite the bullet and change the starting times for schools. “Everything is more important than sleep and that attitude has to change,” Chervin said. Teens need approximately 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night, although that figure changes for each individual. “Teenagers are in this country are in a precipitous course of declining sleep as they get older[.]” By the end of high school, teens are getting 7 hours of sleep or less per night, Chervin reported. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on school performance, increases risk of car accidents and impacts a host of health problems such as hypertension, diabetes risk and obesity. “Sleep has tentacles to almost every part of health and every organ and every part of the body[.] Sleep is as important to good health as nutrition and exercise.” Ann Arbor parent Colleen Seifert has initiated an online petition requesting later start times. (Knake, Ann Arbor school board to consider changing high school start times (Dec. 7, 2014) MLive Michigan; Arndt, Should Ann Arbor change school start times? New survey asks parents (Feb. 6, 2013) AnnArbor.com; Arndt, Ann Arbor high school start times won’t be changing anytime soon (Dec. 13, 2012) AnnArbor.com; Arndt, Ann Arbor to study later high school start times (Apr. 26, 2012) AnnArbor.com.) Apparently the committee missed a few studies; e.g., Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983; Buckhalt,Can Later Start Times Affect School Achievement? (Sept. 30, 2012) Psychology Today [citing Edwards‘ study as “direct evidence” of the “measurable significant effect” of later start times on adolescent academic achievement]; Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents, supra, 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, pp. 62-81 [controls for potentially confounding factors — grading structure, class selection and teachers, for example — to determine the “causal effect” of start times on adolescent academic achievement].) When reading the study by Carrell, et al., supra, bear in mind that biological adolescence lasts until around 19.5 years for women and 20.9 years for men. (Roenneberg, Kuehnle, Pramstaller, Ricken, Havel, Guth, & Merrow, A marker for the end of adolescence (2004) 14 Current Biology 24, pp. 38–39; see also, Hagenauer, Perryman, Lee, & Carskadon, Adolescent Changes in the Homeostatic and Circadian Regulation of Sleep (2009) 31 Developmental Neuroscience 4, p. 276; Kruszelnicki, Teenage Sleep (May 3, 2007) ABC Science.)
In March 2011, Dearborn Public Schools considered a recommendation from the school start time committee to delay high school start times in order to improve student achievement. The proposal contemplated changing high school start times from 7:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., while advancing middle school start times from 8 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. School board members expressed skepticism the change would make a positive difference or that parents would support it. In February 2012, the district announced that next fall it would permit students other than freshman to begin school at 8:20 a.m. (or 8:25 a.m. according to The Detroit News, infra). To utilize the later start time, students may not participate in sports activities that practice right after school, they must provide their own transportation, and they cannot have a history of behavioral issues or be a credit short. Board members Aimee Blackburn and Pam Adam noted that the current schedule employs late starts frequently on Wednesdays and that their own children simply use the extra time to stay up later. In the fall of 2012, the district announced it was scrapping the plan “because not enough kids signed up.” Parent Helena Thornton initiated an online petition calling for the school board to “officially recognize the large and compelling body of research regarding teen sleep and academic achievement, and, with a resolution, to set a goal to start high schools in Dearborn Public Schools after 8:15 a.m.” In February 2013, the district announced that beginning in the fall of 2013, it will permit Dearborn high school students to begin morning classes at 8:25 a.m. — if a sufficient number of students are interested. Dearborn has its own StartSchoolLater Chapter. (Tippen, Late-Start Efforts Continue in Dearborn Schools (Feb. 19, 2013) Dearborn Patch; Shareef, Student Urges Dearborn School Start Time Change (Jan. 1, 2013) DeepSaidWhat?; Feighan, Dearborn Public Schools drops late high school start (Sept. 3, 2012) The Detroit News; Hetrick, Dearborn high schools looking at more flexible start times (Feb. 28, 2012) Press & Guide; Tippen, 6 Need-to-Know Facts for Back to School in Dearborn (Aug. 25, 2011) Dearborn Patch; Tippen, School Start Times Under the Microscope (Mar. 4, 2011) Dearborn Patch.) It might be noted that studies have repeatedly shown the great majority of students do utilize the extra time for sleep (see, § IV.D.), and that ensuring appropriate bedtimes for minors is a parental function. (Short, Gradisar, Lack, Wright, Dewald, & Wolfson, Carskadon, A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Sleep Duration Between U.S. and Australian Adolescents: The Effect of School Start Time, Parent-Set Bedtimes, and Extracurricular Load (2012) Health, Education, & Behavior; Short, Gradisar, Wright, Lack, Dohnt, & Carskadon, Time for Bed: Parent-Set Bedtimes Associated with Improved Sleep and Daytime Functioning in Adolescents (Jun. 2011) 34 Sleep 10, pp. 797-800; Gangwisch, Babiss, Malaspina, Turner, Zammit, & Posner, Earlier Parental Set Bedtimes as a Protective Factor Against Depression and Suicidal Ideation (Jan. 1, 2010) 33 Sleep 1, 97-106; see also, Hale, Bedtimes and the Blues: Evidence in Support of Improving Adolescent Sleep (Jan. 1, 2010) 33 Sleep 1, 17-18.) Moreover, without regard to sleep, economists find later starting students outperform their earlier starting peers (Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance, supra, 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983; Carrell, Maghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescents, supra, 3 Am. Economic J.: Economic Policy 3, pp. 62-81), and scientists find later starting students have fewer driving accidents than their earlier starting peers. (Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Wu, Dubik, Zhao, & Ware, Dissimilar Teen Crash Rates in Two Neighboring Southeastern Virginia Cities with Different High School Start Times (Apr. 2011) 2 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 2, pp. 145-151.)
In August of 2011, Battle Creek Central High School was designated one of the state’s lowest achieving schools. In response, the Battle Creek Public Schools district has developed a plan to lengthen the school day by 50 minutes and delay start times from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. (Editorial, Longer school day makes sense (Nov. 22, 2011) BattleCreekEnquirer.com.)
Relying upon studies showing “teenagers are better able to learn later in the morning,” the Jackson Public Schools Board is considering a proposal which would give its high school students the option to begin morning classes at the present start time, 7:30 a.m., or 91 minutes later, at 9:01 a.m. (Wheaton, Students at Jackson high schools could choose to sleep in, start class later under proposal (Aug. 16, 2011) mlive.com.)
The Marquette Area Public Schools board is considering delaying the 7:30 a.m. start time for Marquette Senior High School based upon studies showing the teen brain works better later in the day. Trustee Mark Smith stated he has read numerous studies and articles stating that later start times correlate to better grades, reduced tardiness, a more interested student body and fewer morning car accidents. Smith commented he did not want to make the change unless the new start time would be 8:30 a.m., or later. With busing as an impediment, the board is considering allowing juniors and seniors to take first period classes online. (Marquette to Study Later High School Start Time (Apr. 4, 2011) Ed. Rep.; Whitney, Later school start mulled by MAPS (Mar. 31, 2011) The Mining Journal; Crystal, Later start to school days possible for Marquette Senior High School? (Mar. 30, 2011) Upper Michigans Source; Marquette Senior High School, bell schedule.) The proposal has prompted a mocking video response from one individual. (Marquette Senior High School Start Time Parody (Apr. 2011) YouTube.)
MINNESOTA — In the spring of 2016, when parents voiced their concerns about the Mounds View Public Schools 7:25 a.m. high school start time, the board committed to looking into the issue. Although the district initially considered adjusting only the high school start time, this option was rejected as cost prohibitive due to perceived transportation inefficiencies. After soliciting community feedback via an online survey, Superindendent Chris Lennox proposed three financially sustainable options (noted here). In the spring of 2017, the board voted to delay start times at the district’s two high schools to 8:35 a.m. beginning in the fall of 2018. Students at the district’s three middle schools will take the hit as their start times will advance by 20 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Notably, the district’s 2018-2019 goals include “creat[ing] a system of supports that can identify, address, and support all students who are struggling with mental health issues.” Ironically, as discussed throughout the main text, early school scheduling is closely associated with psychological problems among children throughout adolescence. (See, § III, et seq., supra.) Mounds View middle school students will begin the school day 45 minutes before the earliest start time recommended for this age group. (See, e.g., Appen. C, infra.) Start times at the district’s six elementary schools had been set at 8:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. and will be reset to 8:35 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. (Rivard, Superintendent Lennox describes district operational plan (Jul. 28, 2018) Sun Focus; Poole, Mounds View high schools to start 70 minutes later next fall (May 2, 2017) Lillie News; Moore, High-schoolers scheduled for more sleep (May 2, 2017) Shoreview Press; Burghardt, Mounds View schools consider start times options (Nov. 29, 2016) Sun Focus; Burghardt, Reviewing start times at Mounds View Public Schools (Oct. 4, 2016) Sun Focus; Burghardt, Ready for the school year (Sept. 4, 2016) Sun Focus.)
On October 23, 2017, Julie Dahl, APRN, CNP, gave a TEDx talk in the Mahtomedi School District sharing the latest findings on the benefits of later school start times for adolescent children. On November 9, 2017, having reviewed the issue for about a year, district officials revealed five possible new start time options intended to improve adolescent sleep and well-being. The district utilizes a two-tiered bus system to transport students to its two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The present school schedule starts the middle and high schools at 8 a.m. and elementary schools at 9:05 a.m. (O.H. Anderson) and 9:15 a.m. (Wildwood). Although some parents and students spoke out in favor of delaying secondary school start times, with several of the options proposing to advance elementary start times into the 7 o’clock hour, nearly 700 parents signed a petition calling to retain the status quo. Parents and older siblings expressed concerns about elementary students having to get up so early, standing outside in the dark and losing family time in the evening because they would have to go to bed so early. High school students also expressed concerns about not being able to get to work at a decent time after school and the effects on school sports. Freshman Athlyn Drage gathered a petition with 235 signatures mostly from freshmen and sophomores against the change. Superintendent Mark Larson reported that studies show strong evidence for later start times for adolescents, but that there has not been enough research done on elementary students. The board plans to address the issue again in December 2017. (Moore, Mahtomedi district considers changing school start times (Nov. 22, 2017) White Bear Press; Trudeau, High Schools Starting Later to Help Sleepy Teens (Jan. 18, 2007) Nat. Pub. Radio.) In the 2005-2006 academic year, Mahtomedi High School delayed its start time by 30 minutes. (7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.) The results are reported in the February 2014 CAREI study, supra.
In 2012, parent and physician Beth Albright initiated an online petition seeking a delay in the Wayzata High School 7:30 a.m. start time. Dr. Albright wrote: “Wayzata High School students would benefit academically, physically and emotionally from a later start time. The biological clock of adolescents shifts so that most of them are unable to fall asleep before 11 p.m. Teens need 9 hours of sleep for maximal focus, attention, physical and emotional health. The current start time of 7:30 a.m. imposes a state of chronic sleep deprivation on WHS students which negatively impacts their ability to focus, learn and stay physically and emotionally healthy. A start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would improve the effectiveness of education at WHS as well as the health and quality of life of our students.” On March 20, 2012, Dr. Albright gave a presentation to the local PTA concerning sleep deprivation and its impact on teenagers. The doctor also authored a brief note (p. 2) in a PTA bulletin directing readers to further research and to a Facebook page dedicated to the issue. A Patch news article indicates that the Wayzata Public Schools board received a start time presentation in April 2012, with no reported outcome. On January 28, 2013, school board members reviewed surveys which found that the majority of high school students “have difficulties ‘waking up and getting moving’ in the morning.” Sixty-one percent of parents reported that their child “seems to lack energy.” Students are getting a maximum of 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night. In July 2015, the Center for Efficient School Operations (CESO) presented the school board with five possible new school schedule scenarios. Parents of young school children have initiated two petitions (here and here) opposing any plan that would advance elementary school start times. For the 2015-2016 school year, five elementary schools start at 9:10 a.m. and two schools (Greenwood and Oakwood) begin at 7:45 a.m. Danielle Dupuis at the University of Minnesota analyzed the impact of school start times on Wayzata student achievement for the district and found there were small differences in elementary MCA scores, some favoring early starts and some favoring late starts. There were no significant overall differences in the analysis of elementary school start times on middle school MCA scores. A larger published study, however, found that school-aged children perform considerably better the later the school day begins. (Keller, Smith, Gilbert, Bi, Haak, & Buckhalt, Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, supra, 107 J. Educational Psychology 1, pp. 236-245.) In light of Dupuis’ findings, on December 14, 2015, the board voted unanimously to flip elementary and high school schedules for the 2016-2017 school year. Five elementary schools will begin morning classes at 7:45 a.m. (Greenwood, Kimberly Lane, Meadow Ridge, Oakwood, Plymouth Creek), three at 8:30 a.m. (Birchview, Gleason Lake, Sunset Hill.) The district’s three middle schools will begin at 9:10 a.m., Wayzata High School will begin at 8:20 a.m. Some parents supporting later starts for elementary school students brought signs to the December 14th meeting: “ALL KIDS Need to Sleep” and “A Person is A Person. No Matter How Small.” Although board chair Linda Cohen contends that “[e]ducationally, we are doing what’s really preferable for the kids,” Ethan Roberts, a parent of two elementary-aged students in the district, believes otherwise. “They’re not listening,” said Roberts, “It’s sad. It’s very divisive.” (Jenkins, Start time changes approved by Wayzata School Board (Dec. 18, 2015) Sun Sailor; Murphy, Wayzata School District Approves Later Start Times (Dec. 15, 2015) CBS; Raghavendran,Wayzata approves later high school start time (Dec. 15, 2015) Star Tribune; Raghavendran, Wayzata’s vote on school start times touches a nerve among families (Dec. 15, 2015) Star Tribune; Seavert, Parents weigh in on Wayzata start time plan (Nov. 10, 2015) KARE; Olson, Wayzata parents petition to prevent elementary schools from starting earlier (Sept. 21, 2015) Fox9; Engler, School Board Weighs Later Start Time After Parents Say Kids ‘Lack Energy’ at 7:30 a.m. Bell (Feb. 5, 2013) Lake Minnetonka Patch.)
For 2011-2012, St. Paul Public Schools District will delay the River East Treatment K-12 start time from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in order to implement a tiered busing schedule and save $1.9 million in transportation costs. River East Treatment elementary school students began at 8:05 a.m. in 2010-2011. The difference from 2010-2011 ranges from 25 minutes to one hour and 50 minutes. In December 2013, following the release of the CAREI multi-site study (including the one hour start time delay (to 8:35 a.m.) at South Washington County Schools), administrators began re-considering later scheduling for secondary school students. Jackie Turner, chief engagement officer for the district, stated, “We’re going to be thoughtful in our decision, we’re going to engage parents and the community, we’re not going to make a hasty decision[.]” Turner said district officials are “well aware” of the benefits a later start time would have for high school students, but such a change, even if approved, would be years away. With input from the Parent Advisory Council, the district initially “settled” on two alternatives: stick with the status quo or switch to an 8:30 a.m. start for high schools and most middle schools.” Neighborhood elementary schools would start at 7:30 a.m. and most magnet schools would switch to a 9:30 a.m. start. Moving from a three-tiered busing system to a single-tiered system would add about $35 million in busing costs. On November 10, 2015, the district considered additional alternative start time plans, but decided to postpone any decision on later school scheduling until 2017 due in part to concerns over the adverse effects of an early start time (now proposed to be 7:45 a.m.) on elementary school students (and teachers) — this notwithstanding the district’s claim that “early” elementary school scheduling has been associated with positive “benefits” including greater alertness. (In support of this assertion, the district points to a 1999 article discussing teacher/staff “mixed responses” to elementary school start time advances of one hour (8:40 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. at 2 schools) and two hours (9:40 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. at 3 schools; cf. § IV, supra.) The assistant superintendents for elementary schools expressed concerns that a 7:45 a.m. start time could exacerbate poor attendance at low-income schools and could push teachers to transfer to different schools. Apparently unaware that their website claims “benefits” for starting young children early, district administrators publicly stated “there’s been no credible research on start times for younger kids” — another patently false assertion. (See, § IV, supra.) The second reason for postponing the start time decision concerns arranging transportation for more high school students via city buses (Metro Transit) to minimize the impact on the earlier grades and improve students’ ability to travel efficiently. Metro Transit representatives report that the agency is limited by its 913-bus fleet and garage capacity. The agency has a plan to add an additional garage in downtown Minneapolis, but doesn’t have the estimated $70 to $100 million it needs to expand. Lawmakers have thus far not offered to make up the budget shortfall. Metro Transit buses have replaced yellow school buses this year at Johnson High School, which began testing an 8:30 start time in the fall of 2015. Around 1,100 Metro Transit bus passes have been furnished to Johnson High’s approximately 1,300 students. According to Principal Michael Thompson, teachers report students are more engaged during morning classes and more students are participating in after-school activities. On November 17, 2015, the board affirmed its earlier decision to postpone addressing secondary school start times. (Verges, St. Paul sticks with decision not to change 2016-17 school start times (Nov. 18, 2015) TwinCities.com; Lonetree, St. Paul school board makes no changes to school start times (Nov. 17, 2015) StarTribune; Verges, St. Paul school board leaving 2016-17 start times unchanged (Nov. 10, 2015) TwinCities.com; Tigue, St. Paul becomes latest district to study doing away with school buses (Oct. 9, 2015) MinnPost; Turtinen, St. Paul schools suggest keeping early start times due to Metro Transit limits (Oct. 7, 2015) bringmethenews.com; Nelson, St. Paul schools not ready to change start times (Oct. 6, 2015) MPR News; Lonetree, Panel urges no start time changes in St. Paul schools (Oct. 5, 2014) Star Tribune; Koumpilova, St. Paul school district weighs later start for high-schoolers (Aug. 10, 2014) Pioneer Press; Post, Study: Exhausted teens benefit from later morning school starts (Dec. 6, 2013) MPR News [includes audio]; Vezner, St. Paul schools shake up the class day (Jun. 3, 2011) TwinCities.com; Sleep Experts Concerned About St. Paul Start Time Change (Jun. 3, 2011) CBS [article appears to incorrectly reference the St. Paul School District rather than St. Paul Public Schools]; see also, Lonetree, Start time changes paying off for South Washington County schools (Jan. 4, 2014) Star Tribune.) As discussed above (see, § IV, supra), recent evidence suggests elementary school students also benefit from later school scheduling. (Keller, Smith, Gilbert, Bi, Haak, & Buckhalt, Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, supra, 107 J. Educational Psychology 1, pp. 236-245; see also, Li, Arguelles, Jiang, Chen, Jin, Yan, Tian, Hong, Qian, Zhang, Wang, & Shen, Sleep, School Performance, and a School-Based Intervention among School-Aged Children: A Sleep Series Study in China (Jul. 10, 2013) Plos One [Chinese school-aged children starting classes at 8:30 a.m. slept longer and reported less daytime sleepiness than children starting at 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m.].)
In December 2013, CAREI Director Kyla Wahlstrom, Ph.D., presented findings from an a then unpublished study of South Washington County Schools three public high schools following a 2009 start time delay from 7:35 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. (The study is now available here.) Wahlstrom reported that performances on state standardized math tests rose at the district’s high schools as did average daily attendance. There were no significant changes in state reading test results. Overall grade point averages went up by as much as a quarter of a point in many subjects. In 2012, parents successfully opposed a proposed advance of the 7:55 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. middle school start time. Elementary schools begin at 8:10 a.m. or later, except Newport Elementary, which begins at 7:55 a.m. (Roelofs, What happened when one Minnesota school district let high schoolers sleep in (May 31, 2016) Bridge Magazine; Wente, Study: More sleep proving beneficial for District 833 students (Jan. 9, 2014) Woodbury Bull.; Lonetree, Start time changes paying off for South Washington County schools (Jan. 4, 2014) Star Tribune; Post, Study: Exhausted teens benefit from later morning school starts (Dec. 6, 2013) MPR News [includes audio].)
Centennial School District 12 is considering a plan to delay 2013-2014 middle school start times from 7:40 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. based upon the district’s adolescent sleep research (which offers a rather limited and unsubstantiated range of optimal start times; i.e., from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.). Inexplicably, the district also proposes advancing the high school start time from 8:25 a.m. to 8:10 a.m., earlier even than its own suggested optimal start time range. The elementary school start time would advance by 5 minutes to 9:10 a.m. In order to improve transportation efficiency, Robbinsdale Area Schools will delay start times at Plymouth Middle School by 5 minutes to 8:10 a.m. Robbinsdale Middle School will advance its start time by the same margin. Elementary school start times will be adjusted by 5 or 30 minutes, resulting in 8:50 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. start times. The high schools and alternative school will retain their respective 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. start times. (Patch Staff, Changes in School Start and End Times for Some Robbinsdale Area Schools (May 3, 2013) Golden Valley Patch.)
Spring Lake Park Schools has announced projected school schedules for 2013-2014, with the district high school to begin morning classes approximately 35 minutes later, at 8:10 a.m. Middle school start times will advance by 10 minutes to 7:45 a.m. On April 12, 2013, the district posted this advisement: “The proposed transportation option has no start and end time changes for some schools, changes of ten minutes or less for all K-8 schools, while also accomplishing the desired result of a later high school start time, from 7:35 am to 8:10 am. A later high school start time was one goal of the process as years of research on the sleep needs of high school-aged adolescents shows the positive effects of a later start time on attendance, behavior, and academics. [¶] As final transportation routes are determined, times could change by five minutes in either direction.” Westwood Intermediate School is slated to begin classes at 8:35 a.m., elementary schools at 9:10 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. (Kaner, Preferred option of change in school start and end times (Apr. 24, 2013) ABC Newspapers; Study results in preferred option for 2013-14 school start and end times (Apr. 12, 2013) Spring Lake Park Schools.)
In December 2012, Monticello Public Schools Superintendent Jim Johnson held an exploratory meeting with parents and board members to discuss the possibility of elementary students starting school earlier in the morning and the older students starting later. The district website reflects the following 2012-2013 start times: Monticello High School, 7:45 a.m.; Monticello Middle School (grades 6-8), 8:09 a.m.; elementary schools, (apparently) 9 a.m. (Gutswiller, Parents, district ponder possible school time change (Dec. 13, 2012) Monticello Times.)
Duluth Public Schools considered two plans intended to save busing expenses. Option B would have delayed middle school start times from 7:50 a.m. to 9 a.m., and the high schools from 9:05 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Option C was to affect only the district elementary schools, beginning between 8 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. for 2011-2012. Any schedule change will also affect several private schools, including Marshall School (grades 4-12), which would have delayed 10 minutes to 8:10 a.m. under Option B. St. James Catholic School (K-8) was to advance 15 minutes to 8:55 a.m. under Option C. Ultimately, the board settled on high schools beginning at 9:05 a.m., middle schools at 8:45 a.m., and elementary schools at 7:45 a.m. (Hollingsworth, Duluth School Board switches middle schools to six-period day (Jun. 6, 2012) Duluth News Trib.; Possible Changes to Duluth Schools Schedule (Mar. 15, 2012) wdio.com.)
In April 2012, Moorhead Area Public Schools considered a proposal to delay elementary school start times to 9:05 a.m. in order to save transportation expenses and add 15 minutes to the school day. Instead, on May 29, 2012, the board voted unanimously to delay the start time for middle school students by 80 minutes to 9:05 a.m. The district website notes the change “is supported by adolescent sleep research[,] resulting in an annual savings of approximately $325,00.” The high school start time will remain at 8:25 a.m., elementary school start times will be advanced by 25 minutes to 7:55 a.m. (Schmidt, School Board approves new school start and end times (May 29, 2012) INFORUM; Moorhead schools schedule shift causing shake-up (Apr. 23, 2012) WDAY News 6; see also, What’s best start time for school? (May 26, 2012) INFORUM [op-ed piece apparently against May 29th proposal].)
For the 2010-2011 school year, St. Louis Park Public Schools delayed the start time for the district high school (St. Louis Park High) by 30 minutes to 8:20 a.m. The bell schedule reflects a 7:33 a.m. start time for the district middle school. The start time delay at St. Louis Park High School was one of several start time changes examined in a recently published CAREI study. (Wahlstrom, Dretzke, Gordon, Peterson, Edwards, & Gdula, Examining the Impact of Later School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study (Feb. 2014) CAREI, Univ. Minn., pp. 1-72.)
MISSISSIPPI — In June 2012, Hattiesburg Public School District communications director JasN Smith announced a possible delay in morning high school classes, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The district considered the change after “seeing research that high school students generally aren’t quite ‘morning people’ — and have been shown to process and absorb information better later in the day.” On July 19, 2012, however, Smith noted at the district website that the high school would retain its 7:30 a.m. start time; the middle school begins at 8:20 a.m. In March 2013, the district announced that beginning in the fall, high school start times will be delayed by one hour to 8:30 a.m. in order to improve academic performance. An optional zero period will begin at 7:30 a.m. Middle school start times will be advanced to 7:30 a.m. (Ciurczak, Are teenage students getting enough sleep? (Mar. 8, 2013) Herald-Index; Ciurczak, HHS, N.R. Burger start times to change (Mar. 6, 2013) Herald-Index; Surles, Classes may start later for HHS students (Jun. 18, 2012) WDAM7.)
On July 12, 2012, Federal Programs Director Marilyn-Alexander Turner proposed delaying Natchez-Adams School District high school start times by 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Elementary school start times will be delayed by 15 minutes to 8 a.m. The changes were prompted by district reorganization and implementation of more efficient bus routes. The middle school will retain its 8:15 a.m. start time. (Lane, School Times Changing? (Jul. 13, 2012) natchezdemocrat.com.)
MISSOURI — On October 10, 2012, Columbia Public Schools held a workshop for parents, teachers and administrators to explore ways of implementing later start times for middle and high school students. The district is considering utilizing a three-tier busing system in place of the present two-tier system. For 2012-2013, Columbia high schools (grades 10-12) get underway at 7:45 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., junior high schools (grades 8-9) begin at 7:45 a.m. or 8 a.m., middle schools (grades 6-7) begin at 8 a.m., elementary schools begin at 8:50 a.m. When Battle High School opens in the fall of 2013, the middle schools and junior high schools will become intermediate schools for grades 6-8. Under the three-tier busing system, the first tier would arrive at school by 7:30 a.m. for 7:45 a.m. classes; second tier would arrive at 8:15 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. classes; and, the third tier would arrive at 8:45 a.m. for 9 a.m. classes. The district will survey parents on the two options it is considering. Option 1 would put most elementary schools on the first tier, high schools on the second tier and middle schools on the third tier. Option 2 would put middle schools on the first tier and elementary schools on the third, leaving high school second. District leaders recognize that middle school students also benefit from later start times, but wish to avoid busing middle and high school students together. In January 2013, following a survey in which 43.4 percent of respondents favored retaining the current schedule configuration, the district proposed advancing high school start times to 7:20 a.m., delaying middle school start times to 8:10 a.m., and delaying elementary school start times to 9:10 a.m. A group calling itself “Students Say” has initiated an online petition opposing the proposed new schedule. With respect to the board’s new interest in advancing the high school start time, Columbia teacher Mindy Bloom stated, “Vast amount of research out there about how later start times are good for teenagers — academically, behaviorally and physically — and this committee says sooner? It’s about the money.” A “backlash” from students, parents and staff, compelled the board to announce it had dropped plans for the 7:20 a.m. high school start time. In February 2013, Superintendent Chris Belcher proposed delaying high school start times to 9 a.m. and advancing elementary schools with the longest bus routes and all middle schools to between 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. The rest of the elementary schools would start at 8:20 a.m. April Lynn has started a petition opposing an earlier middle school start time. The board minutes reflect that at a March 11, 2013, meeting, the board voted to adopt the proposed 2013-2014 bell schedule; i.e., to delay the high school start time to 9 a.m., to advance the middle school start time to 7:30 a.m. and 7:40 a.m., and to advance the elementary school start time to 8:20 a.m. Three high schools (Battle, Hickman, Rock Bridge) actually implemented a 8:55 a.m. start time, Douglass High starts at 9:15 a.m. Zero hour high school classes begin at 7:30 a.m. (Balmas, Discussion continues on Columbia Public Schools start time (Feb. 12, 2013) KBIA; Oggioni, CPS Superintendent Proposes Later Start Time for High Schools (Feb. 11, 2013) KOMU.com; Nochim, Belcher has new proposal for Columbia school start times (Feb. 11, 2013) KBIA; Sykuta, Superintendent supports later start time (Feb. 6, 2013) Bearing News; Slavit, Columbia school officials debate start times (Jan. 16, 2013) connectmidmissouri.com; Martin, School board backs off plan for early high school start time (Jan. 15, 2013) Columbia Daily Tribune; Helmy, High schoolers, community members speak out against school start times in board plan (Jan. 15, 2013) KBIA; MILLION DOLLAR SAVINGS: May be real reason for ultra-early school start times (Jan. 13, 2013) The Columbia Heart Beat; Martin, Committee recommends changes to school start times (Jan. 9, 2013) Columbia Daily Tribune; Martin, District to survey parents on changing start times (Dec. 11, 2012) Columbia Daily Tribune; Silvey, Columbia Public Schools explores new start times, bus schedules (Oct. 11, 2012) Columbia Daily Tribune; Martin, Schools look at changing start times (Sept. 20, 2012) Columbia Daily Tribune.)
The Liberty Public School District has announced that beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, the high school (grades 10-12) start times will be delayed from 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. School leaders reported that the new school times reflect transportation issues and other logistics as well as brain research. According to Superintendent Mike Brewer, Ed.D., “We know what brain research says for some of our adolescents and teens. Much of the research would say we should be starting high school much later than we are.” Board member David Evans added that teen brains “are wonderful and powerful but perform better later in the day.” Evans said he’d like to see the district look into the possibility of making the high school start time even later. The proposed schedule contemplates advancing start times at the junior high school (grades 8-9) and one middle school (grades 6-7) from 8:10 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Two middle schools may retain 7:20 a.m. start times. Elementary school start times will range from 7:45 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. (Rigdon, Liberty school start times to change in fall 2013 (Jul. 19, 2012) Liberty Tribune.)
The Independence School District School Start Times Task Force will evaluate the feasibility of changing start times, using focus groups and community surveys. Recognizing that later starts are “best” for high school students, the district is considering scheduling elementary students for first tier busing and secondary school students for the third tier. Several considerations, including the impact of having younger students out “in the dark” will have to be assessed. For 2011-2012, high schools begin morning classes at 7:25 a.m., middle schools at 7:59 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. (Evenson, Independence discussing school start times (Feb. 16, 2012) Examiner.net.)
Citing multiple studies concerning the sleep patterns of middle school students, the Parkway Schools school board moved middle school start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. With bus schedules too close together, students have been arriving late to class. On September 21, 2011, the school board voted to delay schedules even further, to 8:20 a.m. Parkway high school schedules have been advanced. (Calhoun, Dissent Doesn’t Defer Changes in Parkway Schools’ Start Times (Sept. 22, 2011) CBS St. Louis; Biondo, School Bus Delays To Dictate 5-10 Minute Changes in Parkway School Day (Sept. 19, 2011) Chesterfield Patch; Biondo, Parkway Middle Schoolers Sleep In This Year (Aug. 12, 2011) Town & Country – Manchester Patch; see also, Start Times & Length of School Day (Nov. 1, 2010) Parkway Schools Task Force Rep.)
MONTANA — Beginning in 2012-2013, Billings Senior High School will delay morning classes on Wednesdays by one hour to allow struggling students to obtain additional assistance and to provide teachers an opportunity to “meet and share ideas, discuss teaching techniques and find better ways to address classroom issues.” The 2011-2012 bell schedule reflects an 8 a.m. start time, 6:55 a.m. for “early morning classes.” Bus riders will arrive one hour early whether they require additional assistance or not. (Rogers, SD2 to try later high school start on Wednesdays (Mar. 29, 2012) Billings Gazette.)
NEW JERSEY — In March 2015, it was reported that Tenafly Public Schools has appointed a committee to explore the possibility of delaying the Tenafly High School 7:55 a.m. start time. Tenafly Middle School begins at 8:15 a.m., the district’s four elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m. The committee is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators, students and board trustee April Uram. In January, referencing the American Academy of Pediatrics secondary school start time policy statement, Superintendent Lynn Trager stressed the importance of investigating research showing the biological difficulty teens face in attempting to fall asleep before 11 p.m. and wake before 8 a.m. The committee’s research recognizes the value of changing start times, but student representatives Emma Bochner and Aliya Shamus reported that several things would have to change. “I think most people would rather sleep,” Bochner said. “But then people need to think about extracurricular [activities]. A lot goes into [the school day]. There has to be moving and planning if you really think into it. Everything has to change.” Sports and extracurricular activities in and outside of school, along with religious classes and parent work schedules would be impacted, Trager noted. In addition, teachers are contracted to work the present school hours. The committee will meet again in April 2015. In early 2017, the school board voted to modify the bell schedule beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Morning classes at the high school will be delayed by 15 minutes to 8:10 a.m. four days per week, and by 35 minutes to 8:30 a.m. one day per week. The middle school will start morning classes at 8:27 a.m.; zero period will begin an hour earlier. The four elementary schools will advance start times by 10 minutes to 8:30 a.m. (Adely, Report: Most schools aren’t considering later start times (Apr. 25, 2017) NewJersey.com; Yellin, Tenafly considers giving tired teens relief at school (May 31, 2015) NorthJersey.com; Simone, Tenafly educators look at restructuring high school start times (Mar. 12, 2015) NorthJersey.com.)
In early 2016, Start School Later South Orange-Maplewood authored an open letter to the South Orange & Maplewood School District school leaders urging a delay in the 7:30 a.m. Columbia High School start time. The advocates cite the science, the benefits to students, and the AAP Policy Statement in support of their request. The local chapter reports meeting with the superintendent to address the issue at a February 2016 “education summit.” The 2015-2016 school hours page reflects that Maplewood Middle and South Orange Middle both begin morning classes at 8:15 a.m. District elementary schools begin at 8 a.m. (South Mountain, grades K-1), 8:05 a.m. (Clinton, Jefferson), 8:10 a.m. (South Mountain, grades 2-5), and 8:45 a.m. (Marshall, South Boyden). The Montrose Early Childhood Center starts at 9 a.m. (Start School Later SOMA, Start Columbia High School Later to Reduce Sleep Deprivation in Teens (Feb. 1, 2016) Tap into SOMA.)
On March 10, 2015, the Randolph Township Schools school board tabled a proposal to change school start times through the use of a three-tiered busing system and instead opted to investigate whether a two-tiered system would work for the 2015-2016 school year. Should the district adopt a two-tiered system in September, Randolph High School and two of the district’s four elementary schools would begin morning classes at 7:45 a.m., and the middle school two other elementary schools would begin at 8:30 a.m. For 2014-2015, high school classes start at 7:15 a.m., middle school at 7:54 a.m., and the elementary schools at 8:38 a.m. or 9:08 a.m. The elementary schools in each tier will be determined after further research, with the intent to create a system with the fewest additional runs possible. (Staff, School Start Times: Updated Communication From Randolph Schools (Mar. 11, 2015) Tap Into Randolph.)
In September 2014, Red Bank Regional High School District Interim Superintendent Thomas Pagano said the greatest issue in delaying start times relates to after-school activities. If school gets out later, it could interfere with athletic and co-curricular schedules. “That is the gorilla in the room that no one wants to refer to[.] … But I can tell you from where I sit, the evidence is irrefutable.” Pagano said he is open to discussions with the school board, parents, teachers and administrators. Morning classes begin at 7:35 a.m. (Grossman, Later school start time sought for teens (Sept. 18, 2014) GMNews.)
On July 17, 2014, the Dennis Township School District School Board approved a change in school schedules, delaying the middle school (grades 6-8) start time from 7:45 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. Superintendent Mark Miller offered this rationale for the change: “We deliberated conscienciously for a long time to determine the pros and cons of such an action[.] This was not a rash decision because we are concerned for the health, safety, and welfare of the children. Some of the students were required to wait in the dark to catch a bus at 6 a.m. and many of our younger students were riding the bus for more than an hour. Now that our student enrollment is much less, we no longer have a reason to stagger the busing.” Split sessions were instituted several years ago when enrollment was approximately 1,000 students. The district has nearly half the student population today. Many parents were concerned about the appropriateness of busing all grades together. Miller did not believe the students’ age differences would be problematic, but stated a bus aide would be hired should difficulties arise. The elementary school (grades 4-5) advanced its start time by 5 minutes to 8:40 a.m. The primary school (grades pre-K-3) begins at 8:50 a.m. (Press Release, Dennis Township School District Announces Time Change (Jul. 30, 2014) Cape May County Herald; Benson, Dennis parents question school schedule changes, combined bus rides (Jul. 23, 2014) Middle Township Gazette.)
The group EB Parents for Healthy School Start Times formed in 2013 in order to advocate for later secondary school scheduling in the East Brunswick Public Schools District. The district’s junior and senior high schools begin at 7:26 a.m. The EB Parents urge starting morning classes at 8:30 a.m., or later. In September 2014, school board president Brad Cohen stated he would consider the issue after “taking an in depth look at all the studies and making sure that such a change is scientifically valid. ‘I think it’s a very big initiative for a very large school district to accomplish,” Cohen said. “… We need to really look at these studies and investigate them and see if they’re valid before we try to implement something that’s going to be very difficult to implement.’” Mr. Cohen did not elaborate on the nature of his proposed scientific validity investigation. According to the district’s school hours webpage, the district’s elementary schools begin at 9:10 a.m., Hammarskjold Middle School begins at 8:03 a.m. (Grossman, Later school start time sought for teens (Sept. 18, 2014) GMNews.)
Ridgewood High School co-principal Jeff Nyhuis has organized a pilot program which calls for morning classes to be delayed by one hour to 8:47 a.m. several times per academic quarter. The program, if implemented, would provide teachers with time to collaborate across departments and give students a chance to catch up on work or “some well-deserved sleep.” A late start day in May of 2012 drew generally positive reviews from teachers and students. Parent and local pediatrician Anne Robinson has been speaking with Nyhuis for more than two years about a permanent later start time and changes to the homework policy. Following a 2010 screening of the film “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture,” the school stopped assigning homework for the December and February breaks. Nyhuis advised that politics and students’ after-school schedules precluded any possibility of later start times on a full-time basis. Nonetheless, the idea of “putting students’ wellness first” has garnered the school a spot in an upcoming documentary follow-up to the film. Middle schools in the Ridgewood Public Schools district begin at 8 a.m., elementary schools at 8:45 a.m. (Herzog, Ridgweood High School student wellness programs will be documented in film (Jun. 1, 2012) NorthJersey.com.)
NEW HAMPSHIRE — On October 13, 2016, Superintendent James Morse and the Oyster River Cooperative School District School Board will host a presentation on school start times. The district is considering a plan to delay the 7:35 a.m. middle (grades 5-8) and high school start time to 8:15 a.m. Oyster River has spent two years considering options for later start times, aiming to balance sleep needs with busing schedules, after-school care, student jobs and extracurricular activities. The plan would require younger and older students to share buses since the board intends to leave the 8:45 a.m. elementary school start time intact. The district may need two or three new buses at a cost of about $75,000 to accommodate the unified bus run. The board is expected to make a decision before Thanksgiving. (Conley, Oyster River district considers later school start times (Oct. 2, 2016) fosters.com.)
NEW YORK — In July 2017, the Guilderland Central School District School Board approved a resolution calling for “any and all changes to state law, regulations and state policies that encourage and incentivize… later school start times.” For 10 years or so, the board has sought unsuccessfully to delay its 7:30 high school start time. Apparently now the district is hoping the state legislature will facilitate implementation of healthier school scheduling. If adopted at a regular meeting of school board members across the state in the fall, the Guilderland School Board’s proposal becomes a legislative priority of the state School Boards Association. “We just keep trying,” said Guilderland school board member Barbara Fraterrigo, who spoke on behalf of the board and has been interested in the issue for a decade. “It’s like turning the Titanic; you have to do it in little steps.” The district’s middle school begins morning classes at 8:45 a.m.; four elementary schools begin at 7:50 a.m., one elementary school (Westmere) begins at 7:45 a.m. (Matson, Should high school start times be later? (Jul. 9, 2017) The Daily Gazette.)
On September 29, 2014, Sag Harbor Schools Superintendent Katy Graves announced an ad-hoc start time committee would be formed to develop “multiple plans” for later school scheduling. The bell schedule reflects the district’s middle and high schools begin morning classes at 7:25 a.m. A report will be due to the board by December 1, 2014. Although the school board appears to be standing by the science behind later start times, the district will have to contend with athletics and bus schedules in order to make the changes. In 2015, the district delayed all start times by 10 minutes, pushing the elementary school start time to 8:45 a.m., and the middle and high school start time to 7:35 a.m. On July 5, 2017, the board voted to further delay the middle and high school start time by another 15 minutes to 7:50 a.m., and to push the elementary school start time later by 5 minutes to 8:50 a.m. (Winkler, Sag Harbor School Board Votes To Make Start Times Later (Jul. 11, 2107) 27east.com; Winkler, Parents Air Concerns About Later School Start Times, And Bus Trips, At Sag Harbor Schools (Apr. 4, 2017) 27east.com; Menu, Later Start Times Back on the Agenda in Sag Harbor (Jan. 18, 2017) Sag Harbor Express; Melillo, Sag Harbor May Move Forward With 15-Minute Later Start For Upcoming School Year (Feb. 4, 2015) 27east.com; Korb, Sag Harbor Schools To Present Ideas For Later Start Times (Dec. 7, 2014) Southampton Patch; Raebeck, Sag Harbor School District Will Look Into Later Start Times (Oct. 1, 2014) Sag Harbor Express.)
On January 4, 2017, the New Paltz Central School District School Board reviewed the results of an online district-wide survey to help decide whether to delay the 8 a.m. high school start time and 7:55 a.m. middle school start time. The press reports that high school students supported the later start times but were concerned about the impact on afterschool programs and their ability to care for younger siblings. Fifty-seven percent of middle school parents supported delaying the start time to 8:30 a.m. or later and there were “similar results” among high school parents. School staff responded “less favorably” to the proposed delay. Alex Guzman and Kate Fishman, two high school seniors attending the board meeting, reported getting between five-to-seven hours of sleep because of challenging coursework, including a number of Advance Placement classes. The mother of two high school students, Teresa Thompson, protested that the district “already has one of the latest high school start times in the state of New York[.] Changing things now to a later start time for high school students will severely impact after-school sports, clubs and activities[.]” (Actually, data for 2011-2012 show that 7:59 a.m. is the the average New York middle/high school start time.) Additional community meetings are planned. The district’s two elementary schools begin morning classes at 9:15 a.m. (Lenape) and 9:25 a.m. (Duzine). (Kemble, New Paltz schools to discuss proposed new starting times (Jan. 22, 2017) Daily Freeman News; McMahon, New Paltz joins growing number of districts to consider starting school later (Jan. 5, 2017) N.Y. Upstate; Liu, New Paltz school district debates later start times (Jan. 4, 2016) Times Herald-Record; Staff, New Paltz seeks feedback on later start times for school day (Oct. 15, 2016) Hudson Valley One; Nani, Hudson confidential: New Newburgh ethics board to elect officers (Oct. 6, 2014) Times Herald-Record.)
In 2014, Liverpool Central School District Superintendent Mark Potter assigned five Liverpool teachers to study whether later secondary school scheduling would be beneficial to students. The teachers’ review was undertaken as part of the OCM BOCES Central New York Leadership Development Program. Liverpool High School begins at 7:40 a.m., the middle schools at 7:19 a.m. (Chestnut), 7:50 a.m. (Liverpool), and 7:55 a.m. (Soule). Elementary schools begin at 9 a.m. (Elmcrest, Long Branch, Morgan Road, Willow Field), 8:25 a.m. (Soule Road), and 8:20 a.m. (Liverpool, Nate Perry). The teachers assigned — Elmcrest Elementary third grade teacher Jamie Durgey, Liverpool High School special education teacher Jennifer Fragola, Liverpool High School Spanish teacher Amy Pento, Liverpool Middle School science teacher Barbara Salvagni, and Liverpool High School biology teacher Maura White — began the project by reviewing the scientific evidence. According to Fragola, “It was new to all of us, so we had to do our research[.]” Pento told the press, “We were curious. None of us were strong advocates or opponents in the beginning[.] We all kind of came along together. [¶] The evidence is undeniable if you let yourself read it all[.]” On January 11, 2016, a Modified School Start Time Committee endorsed later start times. Committee member Mike DeLucia reported, “We have achieved consensus that it would be in the best interest of the LCSD students that the board of education pursue the development of a plan to modify the school start times district-wide, allowing for a later start time at the high school and potentially adjusting the times for other levels as deemed appropriate[.]” On June 20, 2016, the Modified School Start Time Committee presented two schedule change options for the board to consider. Board member Stacey Balduf challenged the committee’s claim that 85 percent of Liverpool adolescents would remain sleep-deprived under the district’s current schedule. Illustrating Twain’s enduring wisdom, Balduf stated, “I don’t buy the research[.] I’ve attended the meetings and it seemed a little one-sided.” While other board members appeared more supportive, no changes are anticipated before 2017-2018. The district has additional concerns to consider, including whether bus routes should be altered, whether additional buses may be needed (at $125,000 each), whether public input should be sought, etc. (Casey, ‘Does the squeeze equal the juice?’ — L’pool schools weigh start time options (Jun. 20, 2016) EagleNews; Casey, Liverpool schools to explore later start time for high school (Jan. 20, 2016) EagleNews; Hall, The Big Sleep: Local schools begin to investigate later start time (Oct. 15, 2015) EagleNews; Hall, The sleep factor: Local district investigates later start times (Oct. 15, 2015) EagleNews.)
In May 2016, the Rondout Valley Central School District announced that an ad-hoc committee had been formed to explore the possibility of a later start time for students in grades 4-12. The existing bell schedule provides for a 7:55 a.m. high school start time (although “morning activities” begin at 7:30 a.m.; i.e., “check in with teachers & counselors, get breakfast, hand in bus passes, acquire pre‐signed passes, etc.”), a 7:38 a.m. junior high (grades 7-8) and intermediate school (grades 4-6) start time, and an 8:50 a.m. start time for the two elementary schools (grades K-3). School board President Rebecca Versace stated, “Many of our students in grades 4 to 12 are picked up as early as 6:30 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. arrival time[.] Such early start times appear to contradict with what the [American Academy of Pediatrics] is suggesting regarding children and adolescents’ natural sleep cycles. The research is showing that those schools who have changed to a later start time are reporting positive results, including increased participation in class, [improved] alertness, higher academic performance and a reduction in discipline issues.” The committee reports that chronic sleep loss can contribute to anxiety, depression, suicide, poor attention and problem solving, reduced impulse control, low tolerance for frustration, increased risk-taking and drug use, and additional violence and bullying in school. The committee will meet at on June 16 to begin evaluating the potential impact on parents, transportation routes, and athletic schedules. (Kemble, Rondout Valley considers starting school day later (May 25, 2016) Daily Freeman.)
On March 15, 2016, the Rhinebeck Central School District School Board voted 7-1 to delay the middle and high school start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. beginning in September 2016. The district website reports that the new schedule is based upon “compelling research in the national medical community[.]” The new start time is intended “to provide additional sleep for secondary-level students and an improved instructional climate at BMS and RHS as a result.” The district will collect data during the school year to determine whether the new schedule should continue beyond 2016-2017. Parent responses to the proposed change “were, while not unanimous, overwhelmingly positive.” The district has posted its School Start Time Presentation and School Start Time FAQ to its website. The authors of these documents cite the results of Owens,’ et al., 2010 study of a Rhode Island boarding school’s 30 minute start time delay (discussed, infra) as evidence of the benefits to be obtained. Remarkably, however, the district fails to note that the boarding school shifted its start time from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., not 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Rhinebeck students would do well to achieve the dismal baseline levels noted in the study; e.g., only 16.4% percent of boarding school students captured at least 8 hours of sleep before the start time shift. The elementary school start time will be delayed by 5 minutes to 9 a.m. (Kemble, Rhinebeck Board of Education OKs later school start times for 2016-17 (Mar. 16, 2016) Daily Freeman.)
On November 3, 2015, Stony Brook University Associate Professor of Preventative Medicine Lauren Hale gave a presentation to the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District School Board, advising that it is physiologically better for teenagers to start their days later. Dr. Hale, who is conducting a study of 1,000 teenagers around the country, said the average teenager needs between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep, although the average student only gets a little more than seven hours per night. And while many adults might tell the kids to go to bed earlier, Dr. Hale explained, their bodies simply cannot fall asleep early since their circadian rhythms are pushed back much later at that age. “That is a clinically significant difference[.] You see differences in performance and achievement with less than eight hours.” Dr. Hale continued: “Some people say, ‘Oh, if schools start later, they’ll just go to bed later,’ but that’s not what the science shows[.] If school starts later, they fall asleep at the same time because that’s what their bodies are telling them to do, and then they wake up later, which means they get longer sleep duration and more of that important REM sleep.” On January 28, 2016, a committee comprised of parents, teachers and administrators, held their first meeting to discuss whether the district could push back the middle and high school start times. Shoreham-Wading River High School begins morning classes at 7:20 a.m., Albert G. Prodell Middle School begins 5 minutes earlier, at 7:15 a.m. The district is considering switching elementary and secondary bus schedules to start the middle school and high school at 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The district’s elementary schools, Miller Avenue School (K-2) and Wading River School (3-5), both start the school day at 8:50 a.m. According to Superintendent Steve Cohen, “The younger kids are up and at it early, but they’re cooked by the early afternoon[.] It’s actually better for them to start the day earlier and better for their older siblings to start the day later. So that all fits.” [Not exactly, Dr. Cohen; see, § IV, supra.) Cohen stated that if all schools started late, the district would need to invest in more buses, but the potential schedule flip would avoid that problem while also complementing the needs of each age group. Sports scheduling may pose another potential roadblock since practices would last later into the evening and students travel to other districts for games organized by Section XI. However, high school Principal Dan Holtzman reported, “We’ve talked to Section XI[.] All we would need to do in that regard is request later start times on our games. In the event we had a game out in … East Hampton, we would have to let the kids go a little earlier, which we do already.” The superintendent acknowledged that a decision to alter start times would be a “huge change,” so before anything becomes official, the committee will examine all angles and determine whether the later start time is logistically viable. The committee will likely present its findings in the spring, but no changes would take effect until at least the 2017-18 school year. (Lisinski, Citing research, SWR considering later start times (Jan. 31, 2016) Riverview News-Rev.)
In January 2016, Plattsburgh City School District Superintendent James Short announced that a committee comprised of parents and middle and high school staff had begun addressing the prospect of delaying the 8:05 a.m. Plattsburgh High School start time by approximately 15 to 40 minutes. The committee is expected to present its findings to the school board in the spring. Stafford Middle School begins morning classes at 8:05 a.m.; the elementary schools begin at 8:15 a.m. (Oak Street) or 8:25 a.m. (Momot, Bailey Avenue). (Denyer, Plattsburgh high schoolers could see change in start time (Jan. 19, 2016) WPTZ News 5.)
In June 2015, the Dobbs Ferry School District reported that to increase student sleep, it would delay 2015-2016 middle and high school start times by 34 minutes, from 7:38 a.m. to 8:12 a.m. “The research is what it is,” Superintendent Lisa Brady said. “You really don’t hear people saying we think kids should get less sleep.” Brady prepared a letter for parents explaining the basis for the new schedule. Brady notes that making the start time change was “somewhat easier” at Dobbs Ferry because the district does not bus middle or high school students. Apparently the district will retain its 8:20 a.m. start time for kindergarten through second grade, and 8:30 a.m. start time for grades three through five. (Ganga, Dobbs Ferry to start school day later next year (Jun. 2, 2015) lohud.)
In the fall of 2014, Waldorf High School delayed the start of morning classes from 7:50 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. Administrators reports a 35% decline in tardiness from the 2013-2014 school year. Teachers say the students are more likely to be prepared to learn. “They’re more awake and more of them come to school having eaten breakfast, which educators say makes a huge difference. … [K]ids love the change.” Waldorf’s “Lower School” (i.e., grades 1-8), begins morning classes at 8 a.m. Early childhood programs begin at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. (Riley, Saratoga school pushes back start time, sees results (Sept. 21, 2015) WNYT.com.)
In October 2014 it was reported that the Onteora Central School District could be looking at going with later start times by 2015, beginning the school day somewhere between 8:45 and 9 a.m. Middle and high school classes begin at 7:40 a.m. Bennett Intermediate begins at 9 a.m., Phoenicia Primary School at 9:10 a.m., and Woodstock Primary at 8:45 a.m. Ulster County’s start time research paper has been posted here. The document concludes: “The research on later school start times is compelling and clear. Now education stakeholders in Ulster County must come together to decide whether this is a change that we want to embrace and if so, how we should go about doing that. While decisions must be locally based and supported, regional implementation can facilitate the process. [¶] The School and School District Structure study group hopes that the issue of later school start times will be the subject of thoughtful, measured deliberation at the reconvening of A 2020 Vision for Public Education in Ulster County in December, 2014.” (Nani, Hudson confidential: New Newburgh ethics board to elect officers (Oct. 6, 2014) Times Herald-Record.)
In October 2014 it was reported that the Kingston City School District was studying pushing back start times for classes (NFI). School board members reported that they were looking into the subject, though they were far from making a decision. According to School Board President Nora Scherer, “Many of our fellow boards in the mid-Hudson Valley are discussing this as well[.]” Board member James Shaughnessy pointed to a paper that recommended delaying start times of middle and high school students to combat teen sleep deprivation. “Adolescents stay up later at night and the benefits of them getting an extra half hour of sleep in the morning I think is important[.]” Concerns were raised about how a later start time could affect after-school schedules, interruption of daycare provided by older students to younger siblings, and the logistics and cost of transportation. According to the 2014-2015 bell schedule, Kingston High School and J. Watson Bailey Middle School begin morning classes at 7:50 a.m., M. Clifford Miller Middle School begins at 7:55 a.m. The district’s seven elementary schools begin at 8:45 a.m. (Nani, Hudson confidential: New Newburgh ethics board to elect officers (Oct. 6, 2014) Times Herald-Record.)
In August 2014, Lansing Central School District Superintendent Chris Pettograsso announced that she wants more information going out to the public before a start time change is made. “There’s still a lot of confusion[.] We decided to put it on hold until we could communicate more.” About 300 people responded to a district survey of public opinion. According to Pettograsso, “The response we had to the survey was that people do believe kids are waking up too early[.]” For now, there will be more public events to air the issue, such as the monthly “Soup with the Super” sessions starting in October. The district website reflects a 7:40 a.m. high school start time, 7:38 a.m. for the middle school, and 9 a.m. for the elementary school. In November 2013, school board member Karen McGreevey asked her fellow board members to review school schedules in order to optimize student performance during the school day. McGreevey inquired, “Is it possible for the district and the School Board and the District Shared Decision making team to make looking at the way we schedule our school day in the elementary, middle and high schools a priority this year? One idea is looking at the middle school and high school starting later.” McGreevey said that Shared Decision Making teams in the district have wanted to explore changing the school day for years, but it has never been seriously tackled in the district. She said there have been conversations about the possibility of all three schools starting and ending at the same time, among other approaches. Superintendent Pettograsso said that a January district-level Shared Decision Making team meeting can be used to discuss the subject. “If all students went at the same time bussing is the issue,” Pettograsso said. “If you increase the school day teacher contracts are the issue because you are increasing the hours they are contractually obligated to work. Ithaca is the only one that has switched their schedule, and there are certainly lots of things we can share about why they’re able to switch their schedule.” McGreevey said she wants to explore possible changes that will make students more productive and improve student achievement. “The cost of busses and scheduling the busses seems to be the common road block for previous administrators, teachers, and board members to figure out how we can best utilize the time that we have to teach our children and meet all of the standards that are asking us to do more,” McGreevey said. “But we still have the same amount of time. How do we make the most of the time that we do have with them?” (Hart, Schools Hold Off On Later Start Time (Aug. 24, 2014) ithaca.com.)Veaner, Lansing Schools To Consider Changes to School Hours (Nov. 29, 2013) The Lansing Star.)
In a September 21, 2012 blog entry [since deleted], South Orangetown Central School District Superintendent Ken Mitchell, Ed.D., notes the school board is evaluating a possible delay in start times for adolescent students. During the 2012-2013 school year, South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School both begin morning classes at 7:35 a.m.; elementary school grades 2-5 begin at 9:10 a.m.; grades K-1 begin at 8:30 a.m. Attached to the superintendent’s blog post is a “review” of literature pertinent to school start times and adolescent sleep. The following is an excerpt from the superintendent’s September 21, 2012 blog post: “After reviewing a significant body of research on the relationship between adolescent sleep and school start times, we believe that the community needs to understand the health and educational benefits that a later start time would bring to our adolescents. Attached is a summary of the research on sleep and adolescent health and performance in both school and other areas. There is also information about the opposition to changes and why school districts often fail to implement later starting times. [¶] Part of our work as a community will be to explore the information about adolescent sleep and schools to see whether we can make a rationale and objective decision about any changes. I encourage you to review the literature we have posted and perhaps gather your own and send it our way. Ultimately, we will have to make a decision that weighs not just opinions but the evidence about the health and safety of our students and whether or not we have the resources and systems in place to make it work.” In a March 8, 2013 blog post, the superintendent reports that beginning in the fall of 2013, the high school will commence morning classes at 8:15 a.m., with the middle school to follow suit within a year or two.
The Malone Central School District is considering delaying middle and high school start times from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., 8:30 a.m., or 8:45 a.m. for 2013-2014. An online survey invites community members to select the schedule they prefer. The proposed schedules include start times as early as 7:30 a.m. for elementary school students. The district has provided a science-free list of pros and cons for each scheduling option.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, Northeastern Clinton Central School District will adopt a two-tiered busing schedule, dropping off middle and high school students by 8:50 a.m., with classes beginning at 9:04 a.m. The previous drop-off time for all students was 8 a.m. According to Superintendent Gerald Blair, the change was made to save money (by implementing tiered busing) and to benefit older students, “who are better prepared for school if they are able to get more sleep in the morning.” Elementary students will now arrive via bus at 7:45 a.m. for 8 a.m. classes. In September 2012, the board pushed middle and high school start and end times back seven minutes later to reduce students’ idle time on buses. (Levingston, School start times pushed back at NCCS (Sept. 30, 2012) Press Republican; Levingston, New bus schedules, start times for NCCS students (Jul. 26, 2012) Press Republican.)
The Corinth Central School District has announced a delay in the 2012-2013 middle and high school start time to 8:26 a.m. The previous start time for middle schoolers was 7:45 a.m., high schoolers, 7:35 a.m. The press notes that the delay was undertaken to allow additional planning time for instructors. The elementary school will begin at 8:30 a.m. (Aquije, Corinth Schools to have later start time (Aug. 10, 2012) Poststar.com.) As of this writing, this district webpage (near page bottom) notes additional “advantages” to the later start time, including coordination of classes with other districts, research showing students get more sleep and have more success in school, and data suggesting students are less likely to be tardy.
On December 12, 2011, by a 5 to 4 vote, the Glens Falls City School District school board decided to retain its May 2011 plan to delay high school start times. In May 2011, the board voted 5-4 to delay Glens Falls Senior High School start times from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. following an extended study by a start time committee (although 8:26 a.m. was the start time actually implemented). Two of the board’s previous “yes” votes came from members who have been replaced. The four “no” voting members remain on the board. The district has posted a start time news bulletin with quick facts and links to resources. The board president has authored a memo [no longer available] explaining the board’s decision. Pamela Thacher, Ph.D., and other researchers from St. Lawrence University have initiated a study of the Glens Falls start time change. In the spring of 2013, teachers reported “the kids are much more engaged in their early-morning classes, with an alarm clock and a period bell ringing later than they used to.” Attendance has improved. Students report gaining an additional 20 minutes of sleep per night. According to Thacher, “Disciplinary issues decrease, students stress and mood levels can improve, and in general what we see is a better more relaxed learning environment[.]” Assistant Principal Elizabeth Collins, reported “Students are much more alert in their first period class and they’re more engaged in the topic[.]” In addition, there are fewer disciplinary issues now and the overall mood of students has been better. Students report feeling less stressed or depressed. Fall sports practice happens under less daylight, but the district says the early results are positive enough that they’re going to keep the later day through next year. (Students learn with later school day (May 31, 2013) CBS 6; Researchers study high school start time (May 31, 2013) CBS 6; Aquije, Researchers to study later start at high school (Jun. 10, 2012) PostStar.com; Aquije, Glens Falls schools keep later start time for 2012 (Dec. 12, 2011) PostStar.com; At Glens Falls, the high school start time remains an issue (Nov. 23, 2011) PostStar.com; Aquije, Glens Falls school board affirms move to later start in 2012 (May 10, 2011) PostStar.com; Aquije, Glens Falls High School considers later start time for teens (Dec. 5, 2010) PostStar.com.)
NEW ZEALAND — In 2006, Wellington High School pushed back the start time for year 12 and year 13 students (U.S. juniors and seniors) by 90 minutes to 10:30 a.m. (O’Keefe, Later school start times for NZ teenagers (Jul. 5, 2013) Sciblogs.) The start time delay was the subject of a study published in 2013 which compared student sleep data from 1999 with data from 2008. “Students with the later start time were less likely to report sleep loss on school nights and were less sleepy than their counterparts nine years earlier, despite lower perceived sleep need and an increase in the number of technologies in their bedrooms. The data suggest that high levels of technology use may be a particular problem for the younger Year 9 students who do not have the benefit of the delayed school start time.” (Borlase, Gander, & Gibson, Effects of school start times and technology use on teenagers’ sleep: 1999–2008 (Jan. 2013) 11 Sleep and Biological Rhythms 1, p. 52.)
NORTH CAROLINA — In August 2014, the Durham Public Schools School Board discussed a district report analyzing the impact of a 30 minute delay in the schedules of all students; i.e., moving most middle and high schools to 8 a.m. and elementary schools to 9:30 a.m. The report cited a number of barriers to making the change, including after-school programs, concern about elementary school children arriving home later, impact on parents’ work schedules, and transportation, including the lengthening of bus route times due to traveling in heavier late-afternoon traffic. “The board agreed that public opinion about the proposed change is probably more important than research showing that later start times allow students to get more sleep, which in turn, leads to better academic performance.“ According to school board Chairwoman Heidi Carter, “[W]hat we have to do is to convince ourselves and also convince all of the stakeholders, which includes teachers, principals and school board members, administrators and parents and students and businesses and child-care providers and coaches and basically all of these stakeholder groups[.] We have to raise awareness about this issue. [¶] We’re not recommending any change in start times for the 2015-16 school year and probably not even after that[.] It would take a substantial amount of time to do the outreach.” In November 2014, the board set a goal of starting middle and high school classes no earlier than 8 a.m. for the 2016-2017 school year. In June 2015, school officials presented the board with three options as well as possible variations: (1) Start all schools 30 minutes later. This option would not cost any more money. But it would reduce time for after-school activities, and some school officials have concerns about later start times for elementary school students. (2) Start elementary schools first, followed by high schools and middle schools. This option would reduce the need for before-school care and provide additional time for buses to arrive at schools on time. The disadvantages include a $454,400 increase in transportation costs, older siblings not being home in time to care for younger siblings, safety concerns about elementary students waiting for morning buses in the dark and interruptions to after-school activities. The option only partially satisfies the 8 a.m. goal as Durham School of the Arts and The School for Creative Studies would be moved to a 7:30 start time to meet busing challenges. (3) Start middle schools early. Start high schools later, and stagger elementary schools. A second version of this option includes lengthening the school day to seven hours a day for all schools, which has an associated cost of $227,000. The first version of this option would cost no more money. Both would keep middle school students on a 7:30 a.m. start time and get older siblings home after their younger brothers and sisters. Officials are concerned about the impact on after-school activities and later start times for some elementary schools. Riverside and Jordan High football coaches expressed concern that a 9 a.m. high school start time would result in players getting home at 8 p.m. with homework still to do. For 2014-2015, seven of the district’s 11 high schools began at 7:30 a.m., except J.D. Clement Early College which began at 7:20 a.m., and Performance Learning Center, 8 a.m. On August 27, 2015, the board voted unanimously to delay seven of its high schools to 9 a.m., implementing the change a year later; i.e., in the fall of 2016. The 2016-2017 bell schedule shows that the district’s seven high schools will begin morning classes at 9 a.m., except that JD Clement Early College will begin at 8:50 a.m., and Performance Learning Center at 9:05 a.m. Holton Career Center will retain its 10:30 a.m. start time and Middle College High School will advance by one hour to 11 a.m. The district’s four “secondary” schools will either retain present start times (i.e., Second Chance Academy, 7:30 a.m.; School for Creative Studies, 9 a.m.), or see modest delays (i.e., Lakeview Learning Center, 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m.; Durham School of the Arts, 8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m). Seven middle schools will retain a 7:30 a.m. start time, Sheperd Middle School will retain its 7:40 a.m. start, and two middle schools will shift start times: Little River (K-8) will advance by 95 minutes to 7:25 a.m., Neal Middle School will delay by 10 minutes to 7:30 a.m. For 2014-2015, 25 of the district’s 29 elementary schools began morning classes at 9 a.m., with the four remaining schools starting at 8:30 a.m. (Eastway, Y.E. Smith), 8:45 a.m. (R.N. Harris), and 9:15 a.m. (Sandy Ridge). For 2016-2017, fifteen elementary schools will advance to 7:45 a.m. and the district’s only K-8 school, Little River, will advance to 7:25 a.m. The remaining elementary schools will start the school day at 8:30 a.m. (Eastway, Eno Valley, Glenn, Hillandale, Hope Valley, Southwest), 8:45 a.m. (YE Smith), 9 a.m. (RN Harris), and 9:15 a.m. (Burton, Forest View, Morehead, Pearsontown, EK Powe, CC Spaulding). Board Chair Carter stated, “It is with the understanding that this board sees this as a medium-size step towards the ideal schedule[.] In the meantime, we will begin looking for identifying additional sources of funding,” or creating efficiencies in the system to put middle school students on a later start schedule as well. (Clark, Durham Year-Round Students Head Back To Class, Some With Earlier Mornings (Jul. 18, 2016) WUNC; Bridges, Durham school board votes to push high school start times back (Aug. 28, 2015) News & Observer; Bridges, DPS Board plans to vote on changing school start times (Aug. 24, 2015) News & Observer; Bridges, Durham school board explores changing school start times (Jul. 7, 2015) News & Observer; Childress, No late start times for the 2015-16 school year (Aug. 17, 2014) The Herald Sun.)
Columbus County Schools will delay high school start times by one hour to 9 a.m. in order to implement the STEM System (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). District K-8 schools and middle schools begin at 8:10 a.m., elementary schools at 8:05 a.m. (Staff, High school to start an hour later in Columbus County (Aug. 13, 2012) WECT.)
To save money on transportation, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools School Board approved a new bell schedule delaying the start time of Community House Middle school by 75 minutes to 9:15 a.m. High school start times remain at 7:15 a.m.; some district middle schools begin at 8 a.m. (SW Editor, New bell schedules begin as school year opens (Aug. 25, 2011) South Charlotte Weekly.)
OHIO — In June 2012, Pickerington Local School District Interim Superintendent Jim Sotlar announced that 2012-2013 middle school start times would advance to 8:40 a.m. while elementary school start times would advance to 9:10 a.m. in response to complaints that middle school 9 a.m. and elementary school 9:40 a.m. start times were later than the beginning of most parents’ work days. District high schools and junior high schools will retain their respective 7:20 a.m. and 8 a.m. start times. In February 2016, the district announced that beginning in the fall of 2016, the junior high school start time would be advanced to 7:20 a.m. and, based upon “significant research,” the high school start time would be delayed to 7:55 a.m. Remarkably, the district claims the earlier junior high school start time “will improve student achievement by allowing the school to incorporate a ‘team teaching’ approach, more teacher collaboration and planning.” Notably, the district reports that the new start times are responsive to a 2015 teacher contract adding 30 minutes of instruction to the school day. (Gilchrist, Central Ohio school districts weigh later starts to school day (Jun. 27, 2016) The Columbus Dispatch; Ellis, District alters school start times for 2012-13 (Jun. 13, 2012) This Week Community News.)
On January 15, 2016, StartSchoollater Hilliard initiated a petition to delay start times for Hilliard City Schools students in grades 6-8. The district’s three middle schools begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m., the sixth grade schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Station) and 7:45 a.m. (Tharp), the two high schools begin at 7:40 a.m., and the fourteen elementary schools begin at 8:50 a.m. Hilliard Assistant Superintendent Leslie McNaughton said, “We felt a responsibility, based on the most-recent research, to review it[.]” Two committees met for five weeks in May to study when the school day should begin. One committee, composed of 32 teachers and administrators, concluded the status quo should be maintained. A second committee, composed of 28 parents and other community members, favored delaying only the sixth grade schedule by 25 minutes. Delaying all Hilliard schools’ schedules 10 to 15 minutes is estimated to cost more than $275,000. Shifting the high schools to 8 a.m., the elementary schools to 9 a.m. and the middle and sixth-grade schools to 8:15 a.m. would cost about $919,000, the task force found. Those options were removed from further consideration. The district is considering a less expensive alternative at $92,000; i.e., moving the middle schools and sixth-grade schools to 8 a.m. and delaying some elementary schools 9:15 a.m. Superintendent John Marschhausen, his assistant superintendents, and transportation supervisors will further discuss the task force findings and recommendations. The press reports “[a]ny change would be made administratively and would not require the assent of the school board.” (Gilchrist, Central Ohio school districts weigh later starts to school day (Jun. 27, 2016) The Columbus Dispatch; District: Corvo, No snap decision on start times (Jun. 22, 2016) Hilliard Northwest News; Pushing Back The Bell On School Start Times (Mar. 4, 2016) 10TV.)
On April 13, 2015, a committee presented the New Albany Plain Local Schools school board with four options to revise start times and busing procedures. At the time, New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School began morning classes at 7:30 a.m., the K-1 elementary school began classes at 8:55 a.m., and the 2-5 elementary school began at 9:05 a.m. The four options (noted here) were posted at the district website and the community was given the opportunity to provide feedback. The school district has posted the fall 2015 schedule at its website, showing that the middle and high schools will begin at 8 a.m., and that K-1 will begin at 9:05 a.m. and 2-5 will begin at 9:20 a.m. The district states the changes were necessary due to “[r]eductions in the school district[.]” (Wince, Committee presents options for new start times (Apr. 21, 2015) New Albany News.)
In February 2015, it was reported that the Bexley City School District school board has been discussing ways to delay the 7:54 a.m. high school start time by 30 minutes. The middle school also begins morning classes at 7:54 a.m. The district’s three elementary schools begin at 8:25 a.m. (Dunlap, Mitchell joins board for talks on testing, start times (Feb. 17, 2015) Bexley News.)
In response to the elimination of high school busing, the Winton Woods City School District will delay the 2012-2013 start time for Winton Woods High School from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. A zero period, beginning at 7:10 a.m., will be added to the schedule. Students at the Academy of Global Studies will be required to attend zero period classes, advancing their start time from 7:30 a.m. The Winton Woods Middle School start time will remain at 7:30 a.m. (Cleary, Winton Woods High School to Have New Start Time for 2012-2013 (May 15, 2012) Fox19 West Side.)
Robert Lee, Ph.D., superintendent of Kenston Local School District, has announced that beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, middle and high school start times will be delayed 30 minutes to 7:50 a.m. Lee cited improving student achievement and well-being as the basis for the change. “The district’s other three lower-level schools would start 10 minutes later than they do now, between 8:45–8:55 a.m.” (Bonchak, Kenston to push back school day next year (Apr. 30, 2012) News-Herald; Attina, Kenston to push back school starting times (Apr. 20, 2012) Cleveland.com.)
The Licking Heights Local School District is considering two possible plans to change school schedules in conjunction with the district’s planned building reconfiguration. One plan would delay middle and high school start times by 45 minutes, from 7:18 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., respectively. The other plan contemplates a 30 minute delay from the present schedule. The district website reflects a 7:25 a.m. start time for middle and high school students in 2014-2015. (Klimack, New time schedule possible for Licking Heights schools (Mar. 8, 2012) Newark Advocate.)
On January 17, 2012, Beavercreek City Schools delayed the start time of Ferguson Middle School from 8:20 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. in response to budget cuts which reduced busing services. (Sedlak, Some lament Beavercreek school district’s reduced bus service (Jan. 18, 2012) Dayton Daily News; Beavercreek Schools Transportation Changes [the high school start time has been advanced].)
The superintendent of Perry Local Schools announced that start times at Edison Junior High School would be delayed to 8:40 a.m. from an unstated “extremely early” start time “because research is showing that, educationally … it’s better for them to start later.” The bell schedule reflects a 7:30 a.m. high school start time. (Pustay, What’s new: Final touches being put on Perry High (Aug. 20, 2011) IndeOnline.com.)
Morning classes at Westlake High School will begin at 7:55 a.m. for 2011-2012, 30 minutes later than the previous year. The change was made possible by budget cuts which eliminated busing. The Community Advisory Committee had previously found “advantages” to later star times, but busing conflicts precluded the change. (Spirgen, Westlake High School to Start Half Hour Later This Year (Aug. 1, 2011) Westlake Patch.)
To promote sleep sufficiency and better serve the learning needs of students, Perrysburg Schools will delay middle and high school classes by 20 minutes, to 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively. (Ottney, Perrysburg, Maumee schools to adjust start times (Jul. 29, 2011) Toledo Free Press.)
In April 2009, Hudson City Schools Superintendent Steven L. Farnsworth proposed later start times for Hudson’s middle and high school students “to support and promote student academic achievement and wellness.” The district’s Start and Stop Time Committee webpage shows that in 2010/2011, middle and high schools were to be delayed by 30 minutes, from 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., to 7:50 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively. District elementary schools previously started between 8:30 a.m. and 9:10 a.m., now all begin at 9:10 a.m. The superintendent had proposed starting all grade levels between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
OKLAHOMA — On December 11, 2012, the Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education approved a new schedule for 2013-2014 which will delay junior and high school classes by one hour to 9 a.m. The middle school will delay morning classes by 35 minutes to 8:30 a.m. The elementary schools will begin 55 minutes earlier, at 8 a.m. District officials reported the change was made to improve academic performance and to potentially improve attendance and reduce tardiness. (Rountree, Class starting times adjusted for next school year in Stillwater (Dec. 11, 2012) News Press.)
OREGON — To permit students to obtain assistance from teachers before class, La Grande School District High School will delay Tuesday through Friday morning classes by 10 minutes to 8:20 a.m. beginning in the fall of 2013. On Mondays, classes begin at 9:10 a.m. Classes at the district middle school begin at 9:39 a.m. on Mondays, and at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. The elementary schools begin at 9:10 a.m. on Mondays, 8:10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. (Mason, Changes set for next school year (Apr. 29, 2013) The Observer.)
In order to add additional instructional time to the school day, beginning in the fall of 2012, Tillamook School District #9 will delay high school start times from 8:15 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. An optional 7:45 a.m. zero period will be added to the schedule. The junior high school start time will be advanced by 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Superintendent Randy Schild explains, “The change is driven by the fact that we can generate an additional one hour of instruction per day. By creating that additional time, we believe it will give us opportunities that we don’t have now. [¶] There are some things that aren’t perfect with the plan … but we believe it will be better for our kids than what we have now, and it will help us to get to where we need to be (academically).” South Prairie Elementary will advance from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.; East Elementary and Liberty Elementary will advance from 8:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. (Bell, Tillamook School District sets new start times for 2012/2013; ratifies teacher contract (May 23, 2012) Headlight Herald; see also, Hurliman, New school times would put bedtime at 6:15 p.m. (Jun. 6, 2012) Headlight Herald [criticizing new elementary school start times as too early]; Primary Schoolchildren That Sleep Less Than 9 Hours Do Not Perform as Well Academically, Study Suggests (Sept. 13, 2011) Science Daily.)
Following a one-year study by the Guiding Team for Instructional Time, the Corvallis School District will push back high school start times to 8:15 a.m. four days a week and 9:15 a.m. one day, in order to improve academic achievement and to allow students more sleep time. (Hampton, New school start time pushes sports practices late into evening (Jul. 25, 2011) Corvallis Gazette-Times.)
PENNSYLVANIA — In February 2018, the Seneca Valley School District reported considering a 35-minute delay in the 7:34 a.m. secondary school (grades 7-12) start time for the 2018-2019 school year. The district reports that it has been “reviewing the biology of adolescent sleep and its related impact on a student’s academic achievement … for nearly two years. … The research surrounding the topic is quite clear that schools need to look at shifting their start times to no earlier than 8 a.m.” The schedule currently under consideration would also delay the elementary school (grades K-6) start time by 20 minutes to 9 a.m.
On November 9, 2017, in the first of two public forums intended to address means of reducing student stress, North Allegheny School District Superintendent Robert Scherrer gave a presentation on grade weighting and school start times followed by a “Q&A session comprised of a panel of college admissions counselors and experts in the field of sleep and school start times.” The second public forum will take place on November 13, 2017. Thereafter, electronic surveys will be sent to parents, staff members, and students with responses to be gathered through November 22, 2017. High school classes start at 7:25 a.m., middle school classes at 8:10 a.m., and elementary school classes at 9 a.m. The online survey was completed by 50 percent of the staff and 25 percent of parents. (The student response rate is not reported.) The majority of respondents favor a later high school start time (i.e., 80% of parents, 63% of students, 70% of staff), but 65% of all respondents oppose switching the starting times of the elementary and high schools. Thus, on December 13, 2013, the board dismissed the prospect of switching elementary and high school start times from among the later start time options. On January 24, 2018, the board considered a plan to delay the high school start time by 35 minutes to 8 a.m., advancing the middle school start time by 10 minutes to 8 a.m., and delaying the elementary school start time by 5 minutes to 9:05 a.m. Parent-speakers uniformly expressed support for later secondary school start times. Parent and clinical psychologist Jaclyn Herring said that letting students sleep in a little longer will benefit the health and well-being of the students: “I was invited to the school board retreat, along with two sleep researchers from the University of Pittsburgh[.] Peter Franzen, who is one of the sleep researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, actually showed a graph showing the benefit for every minute or every five minutes of sleep. [¶] [I]t’s undeniable that later start times for kids are very important[.]” One of the biggest challenges to shifting schedules would be adjusting the bus schedule and spending money to add more buses to the existing fleet. According to school board member Andrew Chomos, “From the information I have, I can’t give anybody in this room a guarantee that the busing situation will get your kid anymore sleep[.]” The board voted to table the matter pending the outcome of a transportation study. No future date has been set to revisit the issue. (Martines, North Allegheny School District puts hold on changing start times (Jan. 25, 2018) Trib Live; Wadas, North Allegheny School Board Tables High School Start Time Issue (Jan. 24, 2018) CBS Pittsburgh; North Allegheny School District vote to table the decision on a later school start time (Jan. 24, 2018) WTAE; Trozzo, North Allegheny won’t switch starting times for elementary, high school students (Dec. 29, 2017) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; North Allegheny addresses School Start Times & Grade Weighting (Nov. 11, 2017) Access McCandless.)
On October 2, 2017, Hampton Township School District Superintendent Michael Loughead gave a presentation to the school board concerning later school start time studies. Loughead stressed that he was only researching the benefits of later high school start times and that he was not ready to propose any changes. Morning classes begin at 7:30 a.m. for the district high school, 7:55 a.m. for the middle school, and 8:30 a.m. for the kindergarten and elementary schools. On January 22, 2018, University of Pittsburgh Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Peter Franzen presented the pertinent science and research to district officials. During the first week of February, the district announced the formation of a committee to determine whether there are academic benefits to delaying the start of the day for its high school students. Gail Litwiler, school board member and chair of the educational programs, presented the idea to other board members. A small committee comprised of district leaders and one or two board members will first “investigate” whether students may benefit academically from a delay in school start times. The process will include student input. Only if the committee’s research shows a benefit to students will the committee proceed to step two; i.e., assessing the logistics and possible scenarios involved in and implementing new student schedules. Loughead noted that while Professor Franzen’s presentation was “very compelling” and informative, it is important to investigate differing points of view. (Beneviat, Committee being formed to study school start times at Hampton (Feb. 8, 2018) Trib Live; Beneviat, Hampton explores benefits of later school start time (Jan. 28, 2018) Trib Live; Beneviat, Hampton, neighboring districts consider delaying start of school day (Oct. 9, 2018) Trib Live.)
In April 2017, Council Rock School District sent its Director of Special Services, Charles Lambert, to the first national Adolescent Sleep, Health, and School Start Times Conference in Washington, D.C. “As he listened to public health advocates discuss teenagers’ need for sleep and the importance of schools beginning classes later in the day, … Lambert … asked himself ‘How do I not know this stuff? [¶] There were hundreds of people gung-ho on the topic, and it’s just not getting out there,’ Lambert said of the medical information. ‘I go to social events and bring up the topic and people don’t know what I’m talking about.’“ Council Rock’s high schools begin morning classes at 7:33 a.m., middle schools begin at 8:05 a.m., and elementary schools begin at 9:10 a.m. According to Denise Brooks, vice president of the Council Rock School Board, “The reality is, it’s not a question of whether this is a good idea[.] I think people recognize kids are not getting enough sleep. There’s simply the practical matter. It impacts so much. Even if you had 100 percent agreement, actually implementing it is difficult.” School start times are scheduled to be addressed at the November 9, 2017 Academic Standards Committee meeting. (Weckselblatt, Medical issues stemming from teens’ lack of sleep being heard by school districts (Aug. 28, 2017) The Intelligencer.)
During the 2015-2016 academic year, Matthew Daniels, Chris Arencibia, and other members of the Chester County Intermediate Unit’s Student Forum launched an initiative to study and delay school start times. Daniels started a local StartSchoolLater student chapter to complement the local adult chapter. In 2016, the Student Forum presented its findings and research to the Chester County Intermediate Unit Board. As a result, Daniel’s school district, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, formed a school start time committee. According to Superintendent John Sanville, “Our students have really made a compelling case to our board and community on the benefits of a delayed school start time – clearly their work is supported by research[.] It’s one thing when you see the reports and hear AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] … talk about delaying school start times, it’s another thing when one of your students is right in front of you and talks about real-life experiences.” Daniels notes that “[m]ore and more students treat high school like a job. They get up super early and stay up late. It’s definitely not healthy[.] I’ve had friends fall asleep in class, and more extreme, at the wheel. [¶] There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be changed[.]” Beginning in the fall of 2017, the district will delay its middle and high school 7:35 a.m. start time by 25 minutes to 8 a.m. Elementary schools will delay 15 minutes to 9:10 a.m. (Weckselblatt, Medical issues stemming from teens’ lack of sleep being heard by school districts (Aug. 28, 2017) The Intelligencer; Maye, Unionville school directors approve measure that will give students more sleep (Apr. 26, 2017) Daily Local News; Maye, Unionville student pushes hard for delayed school start (Jul. 20, 2016) Daily Local News; Snider, The Start School Later Movement Is Ringing Through Pennsylvania (Jun. 7, 2016) Huffington Post; Devlin, Chester County Student Forum lobbying for more sleep (May 1, 2016) The Mercury News.)
In May 2016, five speakers — three parents, a physician, and one student – urged the Owen J. Roberts School District School Board to delay the 7:30 a.m. middle and high school start time to 8:30 a.m. or later. On September 26, 2016, Superintendent Michael Christian reported that a committee is being formed to study the possibility of implementing a later start time. Students who completed a study in 2015 for the Chester County Intermediate Unit will make a presentation at the next “board committee-of-the-whole meeting” on October 10, 2016. Parents have been invited via email to join the committee. Board members, school staff and members of student government will also participate. The district’s five elementary schools presently begin morning classes at 8:30 a.m. (March, OJR to study altering school start times (Sept. 27, 2016) The Mercury.)
On April 29, 2013, Blue Ridge School District Superintendent Robert McTiernan announced that beginning in the fall of 2013, middle and high school start times will be delayed by 30 minutes to 8:15 a.m. McTiernan stated the change was intended to address adolescent sleep and improve academic performance. In addition, the new schedule would eliminate 6 a.m. bus pick-ups and increase the district’s transportation reimbursement since there will be fewer “unloaded” miles. The elementary school will retain its 8:45 a.m. start time. (Wilson, Single bell change sounds few alarms (May 1, 2013) independentweekender.com.)
In June 2011, it was reported the Quakertown Community School District was unable to afford the $400,000 in transportation costs required to adjust middle school start times from 7:10 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. Start times were advanced in 2009 to save about $300,000 in transportation costs. In January of 2012, despite parents’ complaints about the early start times, the district remained unable to make the change, now estimated to cost about $900,000 in busing expenses. In March 2013, a group of parents urged the school board to switch the starting times of the middle and high schools because of concerns about younger children spending too much time at home alone. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows an 8 a.m. middle and high school start time; the elementary schools begin at 9:10 a.m. (Rizzo, Later starting time sought for Quakertown middle school students (Mar. 17, 2013) The Morning Call; Rizzo, Early budget shows difficulty Quakertown facing (Jan. 6, 2012) The Morning Call; Rizzo, Final Quakertown budget closes Haycock ES (Jun. 10, 2011) The Morning Call.)
On December 3, 2012, North Hills School District Superintendent Patrick Mannarino proposed new school schedules to reduce transportation expenses. Middle school start times would be delayed by 10 minutes to 7:50 a.m., elementary school students would start at 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., high school students would see their start time advance by 20 minutes to 7:20 a.m. According to 2014-2015 bell schedule, schools begin at the hours proposed by Superintendent Mannarino. (Cook, North Hills Superintendent Proposes Changes in School Start & Dismissal Times (Dec. 4, 2012) North Hills Patch.)
RHODE ISLAND — On July 18, 2016, the press reported that a survey of Westerly Public Schools parents, students, teachers and administrators found 58.7 percent of the 1,037 respondents favored changing Westerly High’s 7:20 a.m. start time. Superintendent Roy Seitsinger Jr. advises, “There have been interesting discussions about school start times held in Rhode Island and across the nation[.] We thought we would look into the topic for ourselves. This conversation will be ongoing, and there are no plans as yet to significantly change any school start times. [¶] We have initiated a conversation in our district to develop a sense of the issues, both pro and con, related to this topic[.] It is important to remember that although the research certainly indicates that school start times are worthy of examination, the times are embedded in a myriad of other societal time frameworks such as day care, athletic schedules, sibling care, and work schedules, so adjusting start times is complicated.” According to Westerly High Principal Todd Grimes, “There is research that says later start times do have benefits[.] I worked for a principal that talked about this eight to 10 years ago. We talked to two focus groups of students about this, and there were a lot of mixed answers. [¶] We’re not talking about a 9:30 a.m. start time, more like between 8 and 8:30, and we still had students who weren’t sure about that.” The district middle school begins morning classes at 8 a.m., the elementary schools and pre-school (morning session) begin at 8:45 a.m. No changes are anticipated before the fall of 2017. (Lemoine, Later starting times studied for high school (Jul. 18, 2016) The Westerly Sun.)
In January 2013, the Cumberland School Department School Committee tasked a Special Programs subcommittee with assessing the district’s prospects for implementing a later start time for its secondary school students. For 2012-2013, the high school begins morning classes at 7:15 a.m., the middle schools begin at 8:05 a.m., and the elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. The schedule approved by the school committee on July 14, 2016 shows no change in the secondary start times, and earlier starts for elementary students; i.e., 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. (Later school start times for sleepy teens? (Feb. 13, 2013) The Valley Breeze.)
In 2009, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Judith Owens persuaded the headmaster of St. George’s School to push back start times from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Researchers characterized the outcomes as “striking and broad in scope,” but still “far short” of “ideal[.]” As in the Minnesota longitudinal studies, fewer depressive symptoms were reported among students following the change, a “particularly noteworthy” finding given the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents. In addition, students reported feeling more motivated to participate in a variety of activities and were less likely to seek medical attention for fatigue-related concerns. Students got to bed 15 minutes earlier following the change to later start times, increasing their nightly sleep total by an average of 45 minutes. The percentage of students getting less than 7 hours of sleep decreased by 79.4%, and those reporting at least 8 hours of sleep increased from 16.4% to 54.7%. Students reported significantly more satisfaction with sleep. Alertness increased, daytime sleepiness and fatigue were reduced. Food services data showed a substantial increase in consumption of hot foods (i.e., eggs and breakfast meats) at breakfast (35 vs. 83 servings a month). Teacher-reported first class absences/tardies decreased by 45 percent. Grades rose slightly, but the differences were not statistically significant. Participation in after-school activities remained high. Despite “considerable resistance” from faculty and athletic coaches before the change, students and faculty voted “overwhelmingly” to retain the 8:30 a.m. start time. One faculty member wrote, “I have found the 8:30 start to be the single most positive impact to my general quality of life at [the school] since I started 12 years ago.” According to Dr. Owens, “At the end of the experimental period, there was not a single faculty member, student or administrator who wanted to go back to the old start time.” Patricia Moss, M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Head of School and Head of the Latin Department, stated, “The results were stunning. There’s no other word to use. We didn’t think we’d get that much bang for the buck.” (Owens, Belon, & Moss, Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior (Jul. 2010) Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Med. 164 Med. 7, 608-614; see also, Comer, Owens ’80 advocates later start for more sleep (Sept. 27, 2010) The Brown Daily Herald; Taboh, American Teenagers Dangerously Sleep Deprived: Tired teens physically, mentally, emotionally compromised (Sept. 9, 2010) VOA News; Freyer, Study at R.I. boarding school finds more sleep for teens equals better performance (Jul. 7, 2010) Providence J.; Gardner, Later Start Times May Foster Better Students (Jul. 5, 2010) U.S. News & World Rep.; Tanner, Study Shows Teens Benefit from Later School Day (Jul. 5, 2010) Assoc. Press.)
SCOTLAND — In June 2013, Councillor Nina Baker lodged a motion for the Glasgow City Council to investigate the “practicalities and benefits” of pushing back the start of the Glasgow school day to 10 a.m., a one hour delay. In her motion Dr. Baker stated, “A waking up time of 7am for a teenager is the equivalent of a 5am wake up call for an older adult.” The later start time would only affect S4 (10th grade) and up. Neil Shaw, head teacher of Boclair Academy in East Dunbartonshire, said he has worked in a number of schools with varying start dates, including one at 8:35 a.m., and did not see a difference in pupil performance. Educational Institute of Scotland Secretary Hugh Donnelly stated, “We would be interested in any research which might suggest a late start improves learning. [¶] The majority of teachers would suggest that the opposite is true. It is very unlikely that such an initiative would find favour with parents and teachers. [¶] Any such move would involve consultation with parents and teachers over a period time. [¶] We are baffled, yet curious and certainly unconvinced.” The UCL Academy in London, sponsored by the University College London, was the first in Britain to change its start time to 10 a.m. Pupil and teacher surveys “have so far been positive[.]” In 2009, Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside also reported positive changes following a one hour delay to 10 a.m. Councillor Baker’s motion was defeated. (McKay, Call to let school pupils stay in bed an extra hour (Jun. 26, 2013) The Herald Scotland; McKay, Councillor in ‘wake-up call’ on school start times (Jun. 26, 2013) Evening Times; Gault, 9am is too early for school day start – councilor (Jun. 25, 2013) The Scotsman; McCall, Glasgow pupils could start at 10am under plans to scrap early bell (Jun. 24, 2013) stv news; see also, Bradford, Half of teenagers sleep deprived, say experts (Aug. 25, 2013) BBC News.)
SOUTH CAROLINA — In the fall of 2014, Beaufort County School District delayed the start time at Hilton Head Island High School by 50 minutes to 8:35 a.m. The change was made based upon the “mounting body of research — and the number of sleepy students[.]” Teachers report decreased tardiness and sleeping in class. Students report feeling “much more alert and are (gasp) even finding time to eat breakfast before heading to class.” Other district high schools begin at 7:40 a.m. or 7:45 a.m. Middle schools commence during the 7 o’clock hour, with classes at Whale Middle School beginning at 7:15 a.m. Elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (Staff, Let teen students sleep; they’ll do better in class (Aug. 31, 2014) Island Packet.)
SOUTH KOREA — In August 2014, in an effort to promote sufficient sleep among students, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education proposed that schools in their districts delay the start of classes until 9 a.m. Typical Korean high schools generally start classes at 7:30 a.m. and finish late, up to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. for semi-mandatory supplementary study sessions. Most middle schools begin at 8 a.m., and elementary schools at 8:30 a.m., with variations by region. After the Provincial Office issued statements demanding that elementary, middle and high schools in Gyeonggi start the day at 9 a.m., the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association accused the education office of exceeding its authority, citing that the law entitled school principals to decide start times. The teachers’ organization vowed to seek legal and administrative recourse to oppose it. The Gyeonggi education office took a step back, indicating that the statement was more of a “recommendation rather than an enforcement.” In November 2014, Cho Hee-yeon, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), announced that next year, elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul will likely start at 9 a.m. students more time to “sleep and have breakfast with their families.” A later start to the school day was adopted by Lee Jae-jeong, superintendent of Gyeonggi Province, in September. SMOE’s adoption of the program will likely trigger other liberal education superintendents in 13 of 17 cities and provinces nationwide to follow suit. The office will collect opinions from teachers, students and their parents about the proposal until the end of the year. It is also planning to hold public debates on the issue. In addition, the Seoul office will consider measures to prevent students from taking private classes before 9 a.m. Although Cho said he is just “encouraging the schools to adopt the policy voluntarily,” the decision appears to be firm. After collecting opinions, Cho said he plans to map out the details of the policy by February before putting it into effect in March. In Gyeonggi Province, of the 2,250 elementary, middle and high schools, 90.1 percent have delayed their school starting time to 9 a.m., and 15 to 20 percent of those schools run voluntary morning programs, according to the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education. The policy has been received favorably by most students. But it has also drawn concerns from their parents over the students’ academic performance. Cho also suggested preventing teachers from giving homework to first- and second-graders in elementary schools over criticism that it hurts their creativity and makes them passive in learning. Instead, he proposed giving them two to three hours of “play time” to help them develop creativity. (Hoo-Ran, Let our teens get their sleep (Nov. 13, 2014) Korea Times; Min-ho, Seoul schools to start at 9 o’clock (Nov. 3, 2014) The Korea Times; Min-ho, Seoul schools to start at 9 o’clock (Nov. 3, 2014) The Korea Times; Eun-Jee, Talk of later start time in schools draws backlash (Aug. 20, 2014) Korea JoongAng Daily.)
TENNESSEE — In May of 2015, neurologist Beth Ann Malow, director of Vanderbilt’s Sleep Disorders Division, gave a presentation to the Williamson County Schools school board about the need to delay secondary school start times. With the exception of Hillsboro (8:15 a.m.), Fairview (8:20 a.m.), and Liscomb (8:30 a.m.), all elementary schools begin at 8:35 a.m. Middle and high schools begin morning classes between 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., with the exception of Hillsboro Middle (8:15 a.m.) and Renaissance High (8:15 a.m.). In January 2016, the board decided to engage the community over the course of the next year in a discussion about whether to delay middle and high school start times. Board and community members are considering flipping elementary and secondary school schedules. Some board members expressed concerns about later start times increasing traffic for parents commuting to work. Board member Anne McGraw reminded the board that while the other issues are important, they are not the focal point of the board. “As one of the parents told me today, ‘there’s not a single con that’s been listed that has to do with educating my kid[.]” Board member Robert Hullett was worried students would be losing family time, as well as time for sports and other after-school activities. “The 25-hour day is an illusion,” he said. “We talk about it as if we’re giving them an extra hour when, if anything, they’re going to lose it.” Board member Kenneth Peterson suggested that students are fine with having to get up early. “They’re okay, they understand[.] You have to get up and go to school. One day you have to go to work.” Three meetings with the community are scheduled in September 2016. Superintendent Mike Looney reports three options are being considered: (a) no change; (b) delay all start times by 30 minutes; or, (c) flip elementary and high school start times. After the community meetings conclude, the district will survey staff, students, parents, and community members before making a decision. Hanover Research prepared a school start times report for the district. (Marley, Later start times in WCS high schools could improve students’ health (Sept. 9, 2016) Williamson Herald; Balakit, Should Williamson teens start school later? (Sept. 6, 2016) The Tennessean; Hill, Williamson County Reviewing School Start Times (Aug. 31, 2016) WKRN; Stewart, School board to solicit community opinion on school start times (Jan. 17, 2016) Brentwood Home Page; Balakit, Williamson hears push for later school start times (May 15, 2015) The Tennessean.)
On February 23, 2015, the Germantown Municipal School District school board voted against delaying the 7 a.m. opening bell at Houston High School and Houston Middle School. The parent group Germantown Cares contends the 7 a.m. start time is “unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable.” Paul Leonard initiated a petition in support of an 8 a.m. or later start time. Buses begin collecting secondary school students as early as 5:52 a.m. Some students attributed being off the honor roll this year to the early start times, with student Julia Harris stating she sleeps from the time she arrives home until dinner. On the other hand, student Antonio Scott urged, “Houston High School annually produces some of the top test scores, athletic teams and fine arts performances in the state, all with a 7:00 a.m. start time. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it[.]” Later school scheduling would reportedly cost $400,000 annually in additional transportation expenditures. Board member Lisa Parker compared funding new start times to the federal government, arguing such a plan would be akin to “paying for things off a credit card, and you see what kind of fix that put this country in.” Parents and students began making financial donations to help pay for the time change. Kids gave up Christmas money, and parents wrote checks from their kids’ college funds. Teachers showed up in “large numbers” to express their support for maintaining the current bell schedule. The board’s decision angered some parents, who said this was not their idea of “local control” when they voted for the school district, and by messing with their children, the board has messed with them. On June 11, 2015, the board reconsidered its February decision, deciding instead to set aside $300,000 to eliminate the middle and high school 7 a.m. start time for the 2016-2017 school year in favor of unstated new start times. On January 21, 2016, the district announced its new start times: 7:45 a.m. at Houston High School, 8 am. at Houston Middle. The start time at Dogwood Elementary School will advance from 9 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and delayed at Riverdale and Farmington Elementary Schools from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (Roberts, Germantown announces new school starting times (Jan. 21, 2016) The Commercial Appeal; Pignolet, Germantown school board approves funding start time changes (Jun. 11, 2015) The Commercial Appeal; Carter, Germantown School District denies funding for two bell times (Feb. 24, 2015) News 3; Cook, Start Times Stay The Same For Germantown Students (Feb. 23, 2014) localmemphis.com; Parents Push For Later School Start Times In Germantown (Feb. 6, 2015) My Fox Memphis.)
In September 2011, Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller summarized for the school board CAREI’s longitudinal studies of Edina and Minneapolis schools, detailing some of the benefits found for the later starting students there. The 2011-2012 Kingsport schedule shows the district’s two middle schools begin morning classes at 7:45 a.m., the high school at 7:30 a.m. (Singleton schedule) or 7:45 a.m. (Block schedule), the eight elementary schools and one Pre-K school begin at 8:30 a.m. In October 2011, the tentative plan proposed beginning middle school students at 8:30 a.m. and high school students at 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. The 2015-2016 schedule shows no change in any school start times. (Wagner, Later start for Dobyns-Bennett students drawing support (Oct. 14, 2011) timesnews.net; Wagner, Kingsport BOE mulls later start time for middle schools, D-B (Sept. 16, 2011) timesnews.net; see also, Wagner, Kingsport BOE opposes state-mandated starting date (Nov. 3, 2011) timesnews.net [district may survey parents re flipping elementary school start time with middle/high school start times; many in attendance opposed the idea].)
The Howard School will retain its 9 a.m. start time after seeing improvements in attendance, graduation rates, and academic performance. The school’s principal reported, “Well, the nine o’clock start afforded us the opportunity to have students actually awake during first block. Attendance has gone up … just slightly, but grades and student achievement have been greatly affected, as well.” The Hamilton County bell schedule shows other district middle and high schools beginning as early as 7:15 a.m. (Mitchell, Howard to Keep 9 am Start Time & Stay With Goal of a Quality Education (Sept. 13, 2011) WDEF.com.)
TEXAS — In early 2017, the Desoto Independent School District reported that it was considering modifying school start times to accommodate adolescent sleep needs. The district presently begins pre-K classes at 7:45 a.m., K-8 classes at 8 a.m., and high school classes at 7:30 a.m. The schedule being considered would advance K-5 start times to 7:30 a.m. and delay high school classes to 8:30 a.m. The district has posted a school start time web page. (Johnson, DeSoto ISD Considers Change In School Start Time (Feb. 14, 2017) Focus Daily News; School Board Considers Changing DeSoto ISD Start Times (Feb. 13, 2017) CBS DFW.)
In November 2013, citing a a national trend for later high school start times, Garland Independent School District School Board President Larry Glick asked to place the issue of delaying the district’s 7:30 a.m. high school start time on the school board’s meeting agenda. Glick pointed to the 2011 Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD start time changes, noting “all reports there have been positive.” Garland ISD middle schools begin at 8:50 a.m., elementary schools start as early as 7:50 a.m. (Leszcynski, Garland ISD ponders later high school start times (Nov. 27, 2013) dallasnews.)
Parent Debbie Moore’s October 2012 online petition to delay the start of morning high school classes in the Arlington Independent School District has prompted school officials to include start times in a review of the district’s three-year strategic plan, “Achieve Today. Excel Tomorrow.” District high schools begin classes at 7:35 a.m., middle schools at 8:55 a.m., elementary schools at 8:20 a.m. School officials report no change will be implemented before 2014. Ms. Moore has been invited to participate in the district’s instructional model committee. Ms. Moore has also formed an Arlington Chapter of the national Start School Later campaign. (Walker, Two Arlington moms still pushing for later high school start time (Apr. 8, 2013) Arlington Citizen-J.; Walker, Arlington school district says it will include start times in planned review (Oct. 29, 2012) Arlington Citizen-J.; Walker, Arlington moms pushing for later high school start (Oct. 21, 2012) Star-Telegram; see also, Doost, Arlington Students Risking Their Lives On Walk To School (Feb. 20, 2013) CBS.)
In early November 2011, the superintendent of College Station Independent School District (CSISD) announced a tentative plan to delay middle school start times to 8:45 a.m. in order to eliminate certain bus routes and reduce future bus purchases, saving approximately $200,000 annually and an estimated $1.1 million over the next 3 years. CSISD middle schools currently begin between 8:20 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. On November 15, 2011, the board announced its decision to retain the current schedule for 2012-2013. The plan would have advanced high school start times to 7:25 a.m. (CSISD, CSISD Board of Trustees Decides to Keep Current School Start Times (Nov. 15, 2011) KBTX.com; Falls, CSISD Mulls Changing School Start Times for Fall 2012 (Nov. 2, 2011) KBTX.com; Superintendent’s Monday Message (Nov. 7, 2011) CSISD.)
To address budget cuts, for 2011-2012, the Ector County Independent School District will consolidate bus routes, delaying high school start times from 8:39 a.m. to 8:54 a.m. For 2015-2016, the district website reflects an 8:40 a.m. high school start time, 8:35 a.m. middle school start time, and 7:45 a.m. for elementary schools. Total district enrollment exceeds 30,000 students. (New School Things (Aug. 21, 2011) OA online.)
The Carrollton Farmers Branch Independent School District will push back high school start times from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. to improve academic performance and benefit students. Elementary school students will begin at 7:40 a.m., middle school students at 9 a.m. Officials state that the start-time changes cost the district nothing. (Zeeble, Carrollton-Farmers Branch Shifts School Start Times (Aug. 18, 2011) KERA News; Roth, New Start Times for C-FB schools (Jun. 8, 2011) Star Local News.)
UTAH — On March 9, 2015, physician John Hanrahan initiated an online petition urging the Park City School District to “start school … for teens after 8:30 AM.” In response, Superintendent Ember Conley is reported to have stated, “I know there’s research as far as the positive effects of later start times, especially for our secondary students[.]” For 2015-2016, Park City High begins morning classes at 7:30 a.m., Treasure Mountain Junior High at 7:35 a.m., Ecker Hill Middle School at 8:50 a.m., and the district’s four elementary schools begin at 8:10 a.m. (McPolin) or 8:15 a.m. (Parley’s Park, Trailside, Jeremy Ranch). Superintendent Conley, who has a daughter at the high school, says she is “absolutely in favor” of later starting times for teens but that there are “lots of moving parts” including bus schedules, staffing, athletics, clubs, and transportation costs. The district also needs a new building for 5th and 6th graders. Later school scheduling and busing students to the new building may cost between $750,000 and $800,000 for additional buses, maintenance costs, and driver salaries. Conley stated that the district considered making the change three years ago, but that after a year of study, it was the students who opposed the change. “Really the students weren’t in favor of it because many of them had jobs or sporting activities or siblings they needed to take care of[.]” Conley has assembled a committee of school administrators, staff and parents to research start times. According to a July 2016 district newsletter, an online survey found that 66 percent of the more than 2,900 survey participants indicated they were in favor of changing start times. Seventy-one percent supported moving the first classes at the high school and Treasure Mountain Junior High to after 8 a.m. It is anticipated that on August 23, 2016 the committee will recommend delaying the high school start time for the 2017-2018 school year to some time between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Many of the particulars, including transportation, have yet to be ironed out. Because the district utilizes a three-tiered busing system, committee member Todd Hauber, who also serves as the district’s business administrator, indicated the committee is looking at starting either the elementary schools or Ecker Hill Middle School before the high school. (Brown, Committee to recommend changing Park City school start times (Jul. 19, 2016) Park Record; Johansen, Guest editorial: Teenage brains aren’t wired for morning thinking (May 26, 2015) Park Record; Crow, Park City School District considers later start times, new school (Apr. 14, 2015) Good4Utah.com; Sabin, Parents push to change school start times as teens struggle with sleep (Apr. 8, 2015) Park Record.)
The Salt Lake City School District spent a year studying possible ways to delay high school start times, but scrapped the idea in 2000 after an estimate set the transportation cost at $2.1 million the first year and $727,000 every year after. Still, a task force found that there would be no additional busing cost to delay by 30 minutes the start times of all elementary, middle and high schools. In January 2016, the district announced it was considering pushing back the 7:45 a.m. start time at its three “comprehensive” high schools. Students, parents, and administrators will have an opportunity to vote on four options: 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., or no change. School board member Katherine Kennedy admits she does not have all the answers, but says she has followed the research and believes it clearly establishes that starting later will allow students to sleep more, reduce suicides, raise test scores, and improve student health. “The evidence is across the board[.]” West High sophomore Luis Lopez told the press, “For my first period, it’s math, and we’re usually always quiet, and not everyone’s fully awake at that time[.]” East High School senior Kasey Ferry reported, “Nobody does anything. I mean, we just don’t feel inclined to do it. We don’t feel like we have the energy necessary[.]” A fourth high school, Horizonte Instruction and Training Center (grades 9-12) begins morning classes at 8:20 a.m. Launched in 2012, the district’s fifth high school, Innovations Early College High School, allows flexible scheduling for students. Principal Kenneth Grover reports that most students arrive at about 8:45 a.m. “We almost see a direct correlation with the research[.]” With respect to earlier starting schools, Grover opines, “We as adults stand in the way of students succeeding[.] It’s clear we’re going against proven research. We know, but act opposite of our knowledge.” The middle schools begin at 8:50 a.m. (Hillside), 8:30 a.m. (Bryant), 8:25 a.m. (Northwest), and 8:20 a.m. (Clayton and Glendale). Nibley Park School (K-8) begins at 8:30 a.m. and the district’s 26 elementary schools begin at times between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. As to the district’s charter schools, the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (grades 9-12) begins instruction at 7:45 a.m., the Academy for Math, Engineering, & Science (grades 9-12) begins at 9 a.m. on Mondays, 7:45 a.m. Tuesday-Friday, and the Salt Lake Center for Science Education (grades 6-12) begins at 8:30 a.m. (Monsen, SLC School District proposes later high school start times (Jan. 21, 2016) Good4Utah; Moulton, Z’s to A’s: Do Utah students suffer from lack of sleep? (Aug. 11, 2013) Salt Lake Tribune; Winters, High school start times can make it tough to get both A’s and Zzzs (Mar. 24, 2011) Salt Lake Tribune.)
VERMONT — Scientific research persuaded the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union to push back start times at Brattleboro Union High School by one hour, to 8:45 a.m. (Cone, New school start time is OK’d for BUHS (Jun. 11, 2011) Brattleboro Reformer; WSESU 2011-2012 Start Time Memo.)
VIETNAM — Tuoi Tre News, based in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), reports that parents of elementary school children oppose the 6:45 a.m. or 7 a.m. local school start times, citing sleep deprivation and its impact on learning as their primary concern. Students awaken as early as 5:30 a.m. to ensure they will not be left outside the school gates. Sixth-graders may return home from school by 5:30 p.m., then engage in homework until 10 or 11 p.m. A “doctor” advised the newspaper that school hours in Vietnam are set in an “unscientific” manner and cause a lot of stress for students. Luong Le Hoang, from the Ho Chi Minh City-based Center for the Treatment of High-Pressure Oxygen, said that lack of sleep can harm one’s intelligence, hinder height development, and prevent effective learning in school. (Vietnamese parents oppose early school hours (Oct. 9, 2013) Tuoi Tre News.)
VIRGINIA — In the summer of 2014, the Wellness Council, a 125-member committee of school leaders, parents, students and community partners, attempted to persuade the Chesterfield County Public Schools School Board to initiate a comprehensive series of student health-related initiatives, including moving all school start times to 8 a.m. or later. “Healthy students learn better,” said Donna Dalton, the school system’s chief academic officer and one of the leaders of the Wellness Council. Eleven of the county’s 12 public high schools start classes at 7:20 a.m., Meadowbrook High starts five minutes later. Bus pick ups begin at 5:45 a.m. Four of 12 middle schools (Carver, Providence, Salem Church, Swift Creek) begin morning classes at 7:35 a.m., the balance begin at 8:25 a.m. Twenty-seven elementary schools begin at 9:15 a.m., 11 begin at 8:25 a.m. In May 2015, the district proposed three possible options for delaying high school start times: (1) push back 25 minutes to 7:45 a.m., requiring 8 additional bus runs at an initial cost of $680,000, and an additional $371,000 annually; (2) same as #1, but maintain support for before-school programs costing $1.7 initially and $1 million annually; (3) start high schools at 9:30 a.m. and elementary schools at 7:45 a.m., adding 55 bus runs, costing $4.6 million initially and $2.7 million annually. In September 2015, county staff recommended implementing a 25 minute delay in high school classes. Board members, however, were considering redrawing school boundaries, possibly negating planning for school start times changes. Countywide redistricting is intended to address school overcrowding in west Chesterfield County and may take years to complete. School Board member David Wyman expressed concern that redistricting might put the district through another two years of “analysis paralysis.” The board asked staff to continue looking for ways to allow students to sleep in later, suggesting they were open to making incremental improvements even if they weren’t ready to implement sweeping changes in bell schedules throughout the district. Sworn in as superintendent on June 23, 2016, James Lane began reaching out to parents in October 2016 to let them know of recent studies showing the need for adolescents to start school later. On February 14, 2017, the school board voted unanimously to delay the 7:20 a.m. high school start time (7:25 a.m. at Meadowbrook) to 8:30 a.m., beginning in the fall of 2018. Twelve of the district’s 13 middle schools will begin at 7:35 a.m., representing no change for 4 middle schools, and a start time advance of one hour for 8 schools. Only Tomahawk Creek Middle School will retain its 8:35 a.m. start time, apparently owing to long bus runs. The district’s 38 elementary schools, now starting morning classes at 8:25 a.m. or 9:15 a.m., will be staggered to 7:45 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 9:25 a.m., conforming to the three-tiered busing schedule. School Board Chair Javaid Siddiqi recognizes the new schedule is not “perfect,” but a “move in the right direction[.] Our target all along has been to move high school starting times. This is based on research that shows a scientifically proven sleep pattern that does not align with our current schedules.” The board’s vice chair, John Erbach, called the new starting hours “an imperfect compromise[.]” In a presentation to school leaders, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor of Psychology Suzanne Mazzeo noted that bus pick-ups commencing as early as 5:40 a.m. undermine adolescent health and achievement. Online petitioners and Start School Later Chesterfield urged implementatrion of healthy school hours. Dr. Judith Owens, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics “School Start Times for Adolescents” Policy Statement, commented via email: “The ‘compromise’ proposal is exactly that[.] The move to delay high school start times to 8:30 [a.m.] is right on target and to be congratulated. Middle schools starting at 7:30 [a.m.], not so much. Since the changes in sleep patterns in adolescents forming the rationale for these [school start time] changes is highly linked to puberty onset, middle school students are overwhelmingly similarly impacted.” The district projects annual transportation expenses totaling $1.9 million to fund bus fuel, maintenance, and 30 new drivers. Over the next decade, the district hopes to move to a two-tiered busing system that will allow all students to begin morning classes after 8:30 a.m. (Griset, Citizens split on new school start times (Feb. 22, 2017) Chesterfield Observer; Bryan, Chesterfield releases proposed school starting times (Feb. 7, 2017) WTVR; Freeman, Chesterfield parents weigh-in on pushing back high schools start times (Oct. 25, 2016) WTVR; Schmidt, Chesterfield proposes 9:30 a.m. start time for high schools (May 23, 2016) Richmond Times-Dispatch; Oliver, School start time decision delayed with redistricting under consideration (Sept. 25, 2015) Richmond-Times Dispatch; Oliver, Chestfield parents weigh in on proposed school start time changes (May 12, 2015) Richmond-Times Dispatch; McConnell, Schools’ Wellness Council weighs later start times, longer lunches (Jul. 2, 2014) Chesterfield Observer; Ramsey, Use of tobacco and e-cigarettes banned on Chesterfield school property (Jun. 24, 2014) Times Dispatch.) In 2014, researchers compared car accident frequencies among teen drivers in Chesterfield County with teen drivers in adjacent Henrico County for the school years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The counties are similar in socioeconomic and ethnic characteristics, and in the percentage of roads with traffic congestion. However, the high school day begins at 8:45 a.m. in Henrico, and, as noted above, at 7:20 a.m. in Chesterfield. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the weekday rate of accidents among 16- to 18-year-old drivers in Chesterfield County was 48.8 per thousand, compared with 37.9 per thousand in Henrico County. The following academic year (2010-2011) manifested the same trend, 51.9 per thousand in Chesterfield County and 44.2 per thousand in Henrico County. The crash rate among adults over the same period fluctuated between 13 and 14 per thousand, with no difference between the two counties. Police-reported crash causes showed significantly more instances of teen drivers from Chesterfield runnig off the road to the right — a common finding in crashes where inadequate sleep is suspected. (Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Lamichhane, Ware, McNallen, Leszczyszyn, Adolescent Crash Rates and School Start Times in Two Central Virginia Counties, 2009-2011: A Follow-up Study to a Southeastern Virginia Study, 2007-2008 (2014) 10 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 11, pp. 1169-1177; see, Hamiduzzaman & Phillips, High School Start Times and Death on the Road (2014) 10 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 11, pp. 1178-1179; News@ODU, Study: Teen Drivers and Early High School Start Times a Concerning Combination (Nov. 2014) Old Dominion Univ.; see also, Lamberg, Teen-Driver Crash Rate Lower When School Starts Later (Feb. 6, 2015) 50 Psychiatric News 3; Bakalar, For Teenagers, Early School Start Means More Car Crashes, Study Finds (Nov. 19, 2014) N.Y. Times; Nat. Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, Teens with earlier school start times have higher crash rates: Sleep loss during the school week may contribute to teen drowsy driving risk (Nov. 14, 2014) Am. Academy Sleep Med.)
York County School Division board member Cindy Kirschke raised the issue of exploring a later high school start time at a February 25, 2013 board meeting. Kirschke met recently with a group of parents, pediatricians and teachers to discuss how the 7:20 a.m. high school start time affects students. Kirschke stated that studies have shown teenagers need more than 9 hours of sleep but that many only get 7. Kirschke reports that York County’s high school start time means students are getting up at 5:30 a.m. to catch buses at 6:30 a.m. Kirschke would like to hear from parents concerning whether the high schools should delay morning classes. On June 3, 2013, the school board looked at six proposed schedules to delay the high school start time without any additional cost to the district. At a September 23, 2013 school board meeting, Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters Pediatrician David Holzsager reported that he’s been reading about later school day start times for about two decades, and he is in favor of the change. In addition, “I’ve listened to a lot of teenagers who come in my office and they complain about fatigue[.] I know that a lot of their problem is because they’re having to get up very early in the morning.” On December 9, 2013, the school board considered two proposed schedules, the first of which would delay the high school start time to 8:30 a.m., delay the middle school start time to about 9 a.m., and advance the elementary school start time to 7:50 a.m. The second proposal would delay the high school and middle school start times to 7:50 a.m. and 9:25 a.m., respectively, and schedule the elementary schools to start at 8:30 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. Surveys of parents and staff will be conducted at a later date. By June 2016, the school board had taken no action to modify school schedules. The press reported, “[s]chool start times have been put on the back burner by the York County School Board for years.” Parent Kathleen Howe has promised that a group of parents will continue to return to school board meetings until start times are changed. At a May 2016, school board meeting Howe asked the board, “Do we have to wait until a life is lost to make a change?” Howe continued, “They’re getting up for school around 5:15 to 5:30[.] It would be equivalent to an adult who works a 9-to-5 job going in at 4:30 a.m. and expecting them to be productive all day. … My youngest one doesn’t even speak to anyone in the morning.” Howe and other parents believe the early start times are unsafe, not just bad for academics. York County’s 7:20 a.m. start time means kids commute to school in the dark for much of the school year and drive to school tired. At earlier board meetings, parents discussed groggy students falling into holes while walking by the roadside in the darkness of early mornings, kids turning to caffeinated drinks to get through the morning, and kids falling asleep in classes. Once again, the board decided to draft a survey for parents, staff and students “after an undefined fact-finding period to gauge public opinion.” The district’s school hours page reflects 8 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. middle school start times; 8:41 a.m. and 8:56 a.m. elementary school start times. (Bell, York County parents say they’ll keep fighting for a later school day (Jun. 6, 2016) Daily Press; Holland, York County parents will keep fighting for a later school day (Jun. 1, 2016) examiner.com; Neeham, York County to Bring Later School Start Times Issue to Public (Dec. 10, 2013) Williamsburg Yorktown Daily; Needham, Citizens Speak in Favor of Later School Start Times; YCSD Board Unsure (Sept. 24, 2013) Williamsburg Yorktown Daily; Editors, A later start to school days could improve our teens ability to learn (Sept. 21, 2013) Daily Press; Kerr & Williams, York School Board weighs later start time for high school (Jun. 6, 2013) Daily Press; Kennedy, York SB Member Wants to Explore Later H.S. Start Time (Mar. 11, 2013) WYDaily; Kerr & Williams, Do York high schools start too early? (Feb. 28, 2013) Daily Press.)
Richmond Public Schools will conduct four public meetings in January 2015 to discuss adjusting school schedules to comport with research showing that teens need more rest and are more productive when they start their school day at a later time. The district is considering delaying start times for its eight middle schools (now 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., and 8:10 a.m.) to 8:30 a.m., and five high schools (now 7:25 a.m.) to 9 a.m., and advancing the start time (now 9:05 a.m.) for its twenty-five elementary schools to 8 a.m. District officials are attempting to address parents’ concerns that younger kids would be home alone too long before their older high school siblings. According to school board member Kimberly Gray, “We are trying to close the gap on making sure that we have after-school enrichment programs and after care that is affordable for our families.” On March 2, 2015, the school board voted to implement a modified start time plan, delaying the high school start time by 35 minutes to 8 a.m. (except Richmond Community High School, which will begin at 7:45 a.m.), delaying all middle school start times by 20-60 minutes to 8:30 a.m., and retaining the 9 a.m. elementary school start time. Superintendent Dana Bedden, Ed.D., prepared a six-page document explaining the rationale and particulars of the start time change. (Staff, Richmond school leaders change school start times (Mar. 2, 2015) CBS 6; Brown, Richmond School Board invites parents to attend meetings about school start times (Jan. 20, 2015) CBS 6.)
On September 9, 2014, the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools school board discussed the possibility of delaying the district’s 7:20 a.m. high school start time. Superintendent Steve Constantino said administrators were examining the issue, but wanted input from board members as to the direction they should take. The district operates a three-tiered busing system, sending high school students and Toano Middle School students on the first tier for 7:20 a.m. classes; two middle schools (Hornsby and Berkeley) middle schools, along with D.J. Montague, James River and Stonehouse elementary schools are on the second tier for 8:05 a.m. classes; six elementary schools comprise the third tier, commencing morning classes at 9:20 a.m. Board member Oscar Prater advised that teenagers could act on their own to address the situation, without assistance from the board. “If they went to bed earlier, they’d get more sleep,” he said. Other apparently more knowledgeable board members stated later start times would likely benefit high school students, although they were unclear how to accommodate such a delay without affecting middle and elementary schools in the district. Board member James Nickols said the district had considered delayed start times in the past. Without adding additional buses, Nickols said previous proposals included combining middle and high school students into one bus tier, or switching elementary and high school start times. Neither of those plans was implemented, however. Nickols said some parents criticized putting middle and high school students on the same bus. At the same time, some critiqued the possibility of elementary school students arriving at their homes hours before an adult would be there to supervise them. “Ultimately, it came down to how many buses we had[.]” At roughly $100,000 per additional bus, it would cost nearly $3.2 million to accommodate delayed high school starting times with a bus schedule that minimized the effects on middle and elementary school students. Board member Heather Cordasco agreed that changing high school start times would be a difficult task, but said she had seen the benefits of additional sleep firsthand with her teenage son. (Brickey, WJCC School Board Debates Later Start Time for High Schools (Sept. 12, 2014) Williamsburg Yorktown Daily.)
To give adolescent students an opportunity to obtain sufficient sleep, for 2014-2015, Charlotsville City Schools will delay middle school start times by 50 minutes to 8:30 a.m. High school students will begin 5 minutes later, at 9:05 a.m. Elementary school schedules will be advanced by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. The school hours webpage shows Walker Upper Elementary beginning morning classes at 8:30 a.m. District officials report that the new schedule is also practical because all elementary students live in neighborhoods adjoining their elementary schools, while the older students live farther away from the schools they attend. (Owens, Charlottesville students facing new schedule (Aug. 11, 2014) The Daily Progress.)
Fairfax County Public Schools has considered delaying its 7:20 a.m. high school start time on 8 occasions over more than a decade. County buses pick up students as early as 5:45 a.m. In August of 2011, the district launched an online survey in which votes favoring a start time delay garnered more responses than any other subject with 2,600 votes. A school representative, however, stated the survey was not secure, meaning nothing prevented individuals from voting more than once. In response to the online survey, one school board member stated, “Nothing is going to happen right now, but it’s not an issue that’s going to go away.” A 2009 county health youth survey showed 90 percent of Fairfax County secondary school students were not getting enough sleep. For a decade or more, Phyllis Payne, M.P.H., and Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal (SLEEP), have pressed the district for later school scheduling. SLEEP‘s petition for later start times has garnered over 9,000 signatures. With half of the school board’s 12 incumbents not seeking re-election, SLEEP surveyed board candidates as to their plans to address “healthier” start times. The election saw six new members seated on the board, prompting an April 12, 2012 vote on a measure to declare later high school start times (after 8 a.m.) as a goal. The measure passed on a 10-2 vote. A 2011 district survey of students in grades 8, 10 and 12 found two-thirds slept 7 hours or less each school night. Among seniors, 84 percent routinely slept less than 7 hours each night. That prompted the school district to partner with the Children’s National Medical Center’s Division of Sleep Medicine to develop a plan for later school scheduling. In nearby Arlington, the high schools begin at 8:19 a.m., and in Loudoun high schools begin at 8:55 a.m. or later. With 194 schools and 130,000 students to manage, Fairfax is looking to retain an outside consultant to assist in addressing transportation issues. In the fall of 2013, the district implemented a plan allowing seniors to start school late. To participate, students must be on track to graduate and get permission from their principal and parents. A physician must also endorse the change. The seniors can drop as many as two first-period classes so long as they do not need the credits to graduate. And they need to find their own way to school without relying on buses. About 650 students (5% of the class of 2014), began the program, with numbers steadily growing. According to the district bell schedule, middle school start times range from 7:25 a.m. to 8:05 a.m., and elementary school start times range from 8 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. The West Springfield High School website notes that the school will advance its 2012-2013 start time from 7:30 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. four days per week, and delay to 8 a.m. on Wednesdays. On October 23, 2014, the board voted to implement high school start times between 8 a.m. and 8:10 a.m., while advancing most middle school start times to 7:30 a.m. For middle school students at Hayfield, Lake Braddock and Robinson secondary schools, the day’s first class will begin after 8 a.m. The plan is to implement the new start times in 2015. According to the most recent bell schedule, all high schools implemented 8:10 a.m. start times, with the exception of the alternative schools (8 a.m.); all middle schools begin at 7:30 a.m., middle school students at Hayfield, Lake Braddock and Robinson secondary schools, begin morning classes at 8 a.m.; elementary schools begin between 8:30 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. (Shapiro & Wiggins, Later school start times in Fairfax could set a trend as experts call for more teen sleep (Oct. 24, 2014) Wash. Post; Blad, Virginia District’s Plan to Start School Later Will Cost $5 Million (Oct. 24, 2014) Education Week; Shapiro, Garza recommends later start time for Fairfax high schools (Jul. 15, 2014) Wash. Post; Shapiro, In Fairfax County, extra sleep is a privilege for some students (Sept. 29, 2013) Wash. Post; Elliot, Education chief: Maybe start school later in day (Sept. 23, 2013) State J. Register; Clarkson, Resetting the Clock: High School Start Times (Apr. 1, 2013) Wash. Parent; Larson, Spartan Spree Kicks Off School Year at West Springfield (Aug. 21, 2012) Burke Patch; Hendry, Consultant Next Step in Start Time Discussion (Jun. 12, 2012) Huntington-Belle Haven Patch; Strauss, Fairfax asleep on high school start time (Jun. 13, 2012) Wash. Post; Williams & Hendry, Board To Take Up Later Start Times Monday (Jun. 8, 2012) Vienna Patch; Edit. Board, Fairfax revisits high school start times (Apr. 18, 2012) Wash. Post; St. George, Fairfax School Board wants to change school start time (Apr. 12, 2012) Wash. Post; Brown, Fairfax takes small step in debate over high-school start times (Jun. 12, 2012) Wash. Post; Hendry, Board to Revisit Later School Start Times (Apr. 4, 2012) Fairfax Station Patch; Group Pushes Later School Start Time (Apr. 2, 2012) One News Page; Fairfax County School Board Considers Later Start Times (Apr. 2, 2012) NBC Wash.; Brown, Fairfax reopens debate over high school start times (Apr. 1, 2012) Wash. Post; Klimko, FCPS Says Schools Survey Lacks Credibility Because of Security Issue (Sept. 30, 2011) Centreville Patch; Klimko, SLEEP Pressures Candidates on School Starting Times (Sept. 19, 2011) Centreville Patch; Klimko, Student Sleep Issue Keeps Resurfacing, Survey Shows (Aug. 12, 2011) Fairfax City Patch; Chandler, Board Rejects Change of High School Bell Times (Mar. 20, 2009) Wash. Post; see also, Lavaas, Commentary: Teens Deserve Sleep Before School (Jun. 19, 2013) The Connection.)
WASHINGTON — On March 19, 2014, Seattle School District #1 passed a resolution moving Seattle Public Schools to examine the feasibility of later school start times for adolescents. On July 2, 2014, the Seattle Public Schools School Board voted 6 to 1 to study the possibility of a later start time for high school students and an earlier start time for elementary school students. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows 10 of the district’s 14 high schools beginning classes at 7:50 a.m., with 2 beginning at 8:30 a.m., and two beginning at 8:40 a.m. Middle schools begin morning classes at 7:50 a.m. K-8 schools begin at 8:40 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., except South Shore K-8 which begins at 7:50 a.m. Elementary schools start at 8:40 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. The school district may spend up to $500,000 looking at the possibility of a start time change. The board has been looking at changing start times for two years (and has posted its efforts here and here). If approved, a new schedule could be implemented for the 2016-2017 academic year. High school teacher Cynthia Jatul started pushing for a change when her daughter was in the sixth grade. Jatul supports the board’s ruling, but does not believe the research should be so costly. “What are we going to get for $500,000?” As a taxpayer I’d like to know what we are going to get for $500,000.” The district reports that its analysis will consider how new start times would affect athletic programs, daycare providers, and student employment opportunities. In 2012, the district announced it was considering a plan to reduce its existing twenty-one different school start times to six in order to save transportation costs for the 2012-2013 school year. (See, bell schedule (2011-2012) Seattle Public Schools.) The district website notes the board directed the transportation department to evaluate delaying secondary school schedules by a minimum of 10 minutes. At a May 2, 2012 board meeting, however, a proposal was introduced which would have advanced K-8, middle and high school start times by as much as one hour. Jatul’s petition drive against the proposal garnered over 2,600 signatures (now over 4,500). On May 16, 2012, the board approved a scaled back proposal to save money in transportation costs by increasing the standard ride time from 25 to 45 minutes, and delaying bell times at four to six elementary schools. At the request of Start School Later Seattle, the district surveyed parents to determine whether they would approve a 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. elementary school start time so that high school students may begin later. Notably, Start School Later proposes that no student at any grade level begin morning classes before 8 a.m. (See, e.g., Flyer (2011) Start School Later.) Nathan Hale High School previously delayed its start time to 8:30 a.m. (now 8:40 a.m.) based on adolescent sleep research and feedback from parents who said it would be better for students. Dean of Students, Mike Linett, described the change as a “rewarding experience” for both teachers and students at the school. Students are more awake and teachers no longer adjust curricula for the first few hours of school. “We have since increased attendance, increased achievement and created a better learning environment.” According to the Seattle Times, Professor “Michael Vitiello, an expert on aging and sleep at the University of Washington, spoke out in favor of Nathan Hale’s schedule change in 2003 and he supports the renewed districtwide effort now. [¶] ‘Because the science is so overwhelming and the potential upside is so great, this is something that we clearly owe the secondary students of the Seattle school district,” Vitiello said.” Within the first two months of 2014, both the Seattle teachers’ union and Seattle school nurses’ association passed resolutions supporting later start times for adolscents. The Seattle Council PTSA passed such a resolution in October of 2014. On November 18, 2015, the school board voted 6-1 to approve a schedule for 2016-2017 delaying most middle and high school start times to 8:45 a.m., but advancing start times at most elementary schools and three K-8 schools to 7:55 a.m. The dissenting vote came from board member Stephan Blanford, concerned that the new schedule benefited most, but not all, schools. The new schedule will advance start times at Broadview-Thompson, Madrona, and South Shore K-8 schools from 9:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m., while delaying most K-8 starts from 8:40 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (Licton Springs, Pathfinder, Salmon Bay, Tops, and Hazel Wolf), or from 9:30 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. (Catherine Blaine, K-8 Stem, and Orca). Most elementary school start times will be advanced from 8:40 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m.; some will see 5 minute delays, 9:30 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. (Adams, APP@Lincoln, Hay, Lafayette, Laurelhurst, Loyal Heights, Thurgood Marshall, North Beach, and View Ridge). The Seattle teachers union supported the changes. “The proposal to change bell times is the result of a research-based community initiative,” the union said. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Seattle Public Schools was reported to be the 87th largest public school district in the U.S. HuffPost Parents posted a video about the schedule change on Facebook, here. (Cornwell, Seattle Public Schools approves later school start times for teens (Nov. 18, 2015) The Seattle Times; Brand, Seattle School Board approves later school start times (Nov. 18, 2015) K5; Stokes, Later School Start Time Advocates Hope For Change As District Task Force Starts Work (Nov. 13, 2014) KPLU; King 5 News, Seattle Public Schools to invest big money in start times study (Jul. 2, 2014) King5.com; Dornfeld, Sleep-Deprived Teenagers? Starting School Later Could Help Them Catch Up (Feb. 14, 2014) KUOW.org; Higgins, Seattle petition urges later start times for high schools, middle schools (Feb. 1, 2014) Seattle Times; Staff, Sound Off for June 17th: Should school start an hour later? (Jun. 17, 2013) KXLY.com; Rosenthal, Seattle School Board OK’s scaled back bus plan (May 16, 2012) The Seattle Times; Mosely, Seattle schools shifting bus schedules for thousands of students (May 4, 2012) King5.com; Followup: Seattle Public Schools now wants your opinion on transportation plans that could change ‘bell times’ (May 4, 2012) W. Seattle Blog; Seattle Public Schools start times back in play – board meets tonight (May 2, 2012) W. Seattle Blog; Amodei, Powering up your teen’s brain (Feb. 26, 2008) ParentMap.)
In September 2014, Dr. Richard Simon, a sleep medicine specialist, addressed a group of about 40 parents and students at Pioneer Middle School in the Walla Walla Public Schools District. Speaking at the invitation of “The Moms’ Network of Walla Walla” (recently paired with StartSchoolLater), Simon recommended that school start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for teenagers. Pioneer and Garrison middle schools begin morning classes at 8:10 a.m., Walla Walla High School begins at 7:30 a.m., and the elementary schools begin at 7:55 a.m. (Blue Ridge), 8 a.m. (Sharpstein), 8:12 a.m. (Green Park), 8:15 a.m. (Edison), and 8:25 a.m. (Berney, Prospect Point). Simon, a long time advocate for later secondary school scheduling, advised that the earlier secondary start times in the Walla Walla Valley and across the nation coincide with a shift in sleep cycles for teenagers that causes them to become “night owls,” thus creating “the absolute perfect storm for human dysfunction.” Beth Swanson, founder of the Mom’s Network, reported intending to meet with district representatives to discuss delaying school start times. The high school offers students an option to begin school in second period instead of first and stay until seventh period rather than sixth. About 50% of district high schoolers utilize the late start schedule. The superintendent stated there were no immediate plans to consider later start times. Simon, who practices at Providence Medical Group’s Sleep Disorders Center, said there is compelling evidence that sleep deprivation is associated with a host of common teenage problems — depressions, drug and alcohol abuse, moodiness and others. Earlier start times may benefit adults’ schedules and sleep patterns, but “I just think the balancing act ought to be more in the favor of our students who are learning, than the adults, because we can adapt a little easier than the kids can.” Simon stated he has brought the issue of later start times to school administrators before. “In my opinion it’s never been seriously considered[.] We’ve talked about it — I’ve spoken with them before and they all say it’s a good idea, but the practicalities of life get in the way.” More than a year later, on November 10, 2015, the district invited Simon to speak to the community. Having studied sleep research for over 20 years, Simon explained that when school starts later, “suicidal thoughts among teenagers less[en] … because they actually can sleep more, visits to the councilors office decline[.]” On November 24, 2015, following two community meetings, the district posted an online survey as part of “a Sleep Study on the benefits and implications of changing Walla Walla High School’s starting time.” The proposal being considered would push the high school start time to 8:30 a.m. for 2016-2017. Ted Cohan, executive director of business services for the district said the committee studying the issue would likely have a recommendation for the school board by January. “We have to make sure it’s something the community wants[.]” (Beaver, High schools across state consider later start times — could Tri-Cities be next? (Nov. 28, 2015) Tri-City Herald; Parents Share Opinions on Proposed Walla Walla Student Sleep Study (Nov. 19, 2015) NBC Right Now; Walla Walla considers later high school start times (Nov. 19, 2015) examiner.com; Maynard, Walla Walla Public Schools Conducting Sleep Study to Determine if High School Students Should Start Later (Nov. 9, 2015) NBC RightNow; Wenz, Sleep doctor throws support behind later school starts (Oct. 2, 2014) Sleep Rev.)
In 2003, in order to save $400,000, Issaquah School District No. 411 advanced the high school start time by 14 minutes to 7:25 a.m. In 2005, the district considered a plan to delay middle and high school start times, but found the change cost prohibitive. Parent Randy Nevin, a member of the district’s 2005 Bell Times Study Committee stated, “Their brains are not awake at 7:25 in the morning[.] They’re just not there.” More than a decade later, the district’s four high schools still begin at 7:25 a.m., the five middle schools still begin at 7:40 a.m., and the fifteen elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. or 9:15 a.m. On April 1, 2015, Allison May and physician Dea Eisner Barnett started an online petition urging the district to delay the middle and high school start times to 8:30 a.m. or later. Notably, the petitioners contend the district need not study whether such a change is needed, but instead should determine how to make it happen. Dr. Barnett writes that nearby districts (i.e., Bellevue, Mercer Island, Seattle and Northshore) “have all committed to looking at ways to push the start times of their secondary schools to 8:00 or later. Unfortunately, Issaquah School District has been reluctant to do the same, citing the fact that they considered it a decade ago and concluded at that time that no changes should be made to the schedule.” In May 2015, district spokesperson L. Michelle responded to the petition, writing in an email: “We are open to re-examining this issue, but it is important to recognize that it is not an easy change to make and there are high costs associated[.] The major obstacle is transportation and the expense of eliminating our multi-tiered bus system, which saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year. … [¶] It is a very complicated issue[.]” Dr. Barnett has periodically attended school board meetings to “champion the cause” of Start School Later Issaquah. At an October 28, 2015 school board meeting, it was announced that in January 2016 the district will undertake a survey to determine whether the public perceives a start time change as desirable. Superintendent Ron Thiele reported, “There certainly is a lot of energy around it[.]” (Corrigan, District to seek public input on school start times (Oct. 30, 2015) The Issaquah Press; Barnett, LETTER—Late start for teens (May 5, 2015) Issaquah Reporter; Nash, More sleep for teens in Issaquah School District (May 2, 2015) Issaquah Reporter; Solomon, Later start times endorsed for some Issaquah schools (Feb. 2, 2005) Seattle Times; Issaquah School Dist. Bell Time Study Committee, Presentation of 2005 Final Committee Report [no longer available at district website].)
On March 11, 2015, the Spokane Public Schools school board voted unanimously to delay the start time for the district’s 6 middle schools by 15 minutes to 9 a.m., to advance the start time for its 34 elementary schools by 30 minutes to 8:30 a.m., and to retain the 8 a.m. start time for its 8 high schools. The schedule change is the result of the district’s decision last year to extend K-6 students’ school day by 30 minutes. According to board member Rocco Treppiedi, “The goal was to extend the elementary school day. It is sort of sin we didn’t do that sooner[.]” Hans Van Dongen, Director of Washington State University’s Sleep and Performance Research Center, contends the district’s new start times have “the biology backwards[.]” District officials respond that the 8 a.m. high school start time is close to the national average. “We don’t have a 7 a.m. start time for high schools; our high school starts at a reasonable time,” claims Treppiedi. Board President Jeff Bierman argues the improved academic achievement associated with later high school scheduling is insufficient to justify a delay. “It’s not like you are seeing test scores going from 30 to 75 percent[.] If it was, the conversation would be different.” Superintendent Shelley Redinger believes “there are too many moving parts” to start high schools later — such as athletics and bus schedules. Redinger asserts that the unwillingness of the other districts in the region to change high school scheduling precludes later start times at Spokane. “We’re not in a position where we can say, ‘We’re sorry. You go to Spokane Public Schools so you can’t play sports[.]’ ” The schedule changes are expected to reduce afternoon bus wait-times for middle school students, now as long as 45 minutes. In addition, the new schedules and revised bus routes should allow more students to arrive in time for breakfast. In addition, the typical walk to a bus stop next year will be three- to six-tenths of a mile, compared with one- to two-tenths now. The district last changed school start times in 1989. (Lawrence-Turner, New start times for Spokane schools approved (Mar. 12, 2015) Spokesman Rev.; Lawrence-Turner, Sleep researcher says Spokane high schools should start later (Mar. 8, 2014) Seattle Times.)
In 2012, the Northshore School District rebuffed pleas from the Parent Advocates for a Later Start (PALS) to delay the 7:10 a.m. 2012-2013 high school start time with a series of excuses reasons concerning “variables, fiscal concerns, complexity of the system and number of stakeholders impacted[.]” The board “expressed a desire for later high school start time options to remain a consideration in future decisions, wherever relevant.” In January 2015, apparently later start times became relevant as the board decided to implement high school start times no earlier than 8 a.m. for the 2017-2018 school year. A start time task force has been charged with developing a plan for implementation. A community survey found that after learning about the pros and cons of later start times, including benefits to students, extra costs to the district and the impact on the availability of elementary school music, overall community support for later start times increased from 63 to 69 percent; support from parents and staff increased from 77 to 80 percent. Schedules posted in 2015 show high schools beginning at 7:20 a.m., middle schools at 8:05 a.m., and elementary schools at 9:10 a.m. (Gerdeman, NSD School Board Agrees To Later Start Times for High Schools (Jan. 15, 2015) Woodinville Weekly; PALS, Is the Northshore School District high-school start time of 7:10 a.m. too early? (May 18, 2012) Bothel Reporter.)
In December 2013, Andrew Smith, a parent and anesthesiologist who studies natural sleep and chemical unconsciousness, urged the Bellevue School District to consider delaying the start of morning classes. After corresponding with board members, Dr. Smith returned to the board on September 16, 2014, to inquire about progress on the issue. The board reported that it was considering a later high school start time and that a steering committee would be formed to explore possible means and hurdles involved in making the change. District high schools begin at 7:30 a.m., except International Daily School, which begins at 7:45 a.m. The middle schools begin at 7:40 a.m. (International Daily School), 7:45 a.m. (Chinook, Highland, Tillicum), 8 a.m. (Big Picture), 8:30 a.m. (Tyee), and 8:45 a.m. (Odle). Elementary schools begin between 8 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. Superintendent Tim Mills, who previously worked for a school district in Oregon that had a later start time, said he saw the benefits of a later class schedule, including higher grade-point averages and more alert students. According to Mills, the North Clackamas School District had instituted a staggered delayed start time for all its K-12 schools, with elementary classes starting at 8 a.m., middle school at 9:15 a.m., and high school classes starting at 8:30 a.m. “We’re at the formation of a study of how that would look like for our district[.] We have to be very thoughtful[,] looking at all sides of this to determine if it’ll work in Bellevue.” Mills reported the change worked in Clackamas because the community believed that it was best for students. Dr. Smith heads the Bellevue Chapter of Start School Later. (Stilts, Bellevue School District exploring later start time for high schoolers (Oct. 6, 2014) Bellevue Reporter.)
Following issuance of the American Academy of Pediatrics adolescent school start time Policy Statement in August 2014, the press began inquiring whether leaders of early starting schools contemplated any scheduling changes. In the Vashon Island School District, where middle and high school classes begin at 8 a.m., later than in previous years, Superintendent Michael Soltman stated that the district looked into implementing a common start time, but the expense of adding the required buses was prohibitive at $250,000 to $300,000. Parents of elementary school students expressed concern that flipping school schedules would have young children waiting for buses in the dark. District nurse Sarah Day offered “strong support for later start times,” from her perspective as a mother and as a school district health professional, where she said she sees many district students who are fatigued and struggling with considerable stress. “I am very concerned about the mental health of kids in our district. Stress and fatigue add to that,” she said. “I support the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, absolutely.” Math teacher and coach Andy Sears noted that gym and field space for the island’s athletes is limited, and if the high school were to push back its practice times, that would also affect community sports activities, potentially making them end too late for younger kids. He also noted the large number of off-island students who attend the high school, and he wonders if later high school practices would mean those students would get home too late in the evening. “We have to make it so that students can learn some things out of the classroom as well,” he said. Superintendent Soltman and school board members Bob Hennessey and Laura Wishik also said they would be open to further discussion, and Hennessey noted he is willing to explore the subject with the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association, regarding how later start times might affect sports games. “We have long known this to be true,” Vashon High School Principal Danny Rock said about the benefits of later starts. “We do not structure school as a society based on what we know will help students learn. We have not structured school to meet their physiological needs. We have compromised our students’ physical needs for other needs and values.” Rock added he believes the 8 a.m. start time is a good compromise currently, but he is open to conversation about it. The tardy bell for elementary school students rings at 9:10 a.m. (Riemer, As school begins, many consider the science of teen sleep (Sept. 17, 2014) Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.)
In April 2013, Everett Public Schools surveyed parents concerning possible start and dismissal time changes intended to reduce traffic congestion and save approximately $163,000 in transportation expenses. Media outlets offer varying reports as to whether three or four options were proposed, the number of schools affected, and the duration in minutes schedules would be advanced or delayed. The range of proposals reported include advancing middle and high school start times by 10-20 minutes, delaying middle school start times by 10-20 minutes, and/or, delaying elementary school start times by 10-20 minutes. The district’s 2012-2013 school hours page reflects that high schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Cascade, Everett, Henry M. Jackson), and 8:20 a.m. (Sequoia); middle schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Evergreen), 8:10 a.m. (Gateway), and 8:15 a.m. (Eisenhower, Heatherwood, North); elementary schools begin at 8:35 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. (Editorial, Don’t change start times (May 15, 2013) Herald Net; Salyer, ‘Early to rise’ may be holding back high school students (May 12, 2013) HeraldNet; Salyer, Everett parents want school times that benefit own families (May 1, 2013) HeraldNet; Van Winkle, Everett School District publishes school start and stop time survey results (Apr. 28, 2013) News of Mill Creek; Whitney, 5,000 respond to school schedule survey (Apr. 24, 2013) Tribune; Salyer, Survey ends soon on Everett school schedule (Apr. 13, 2013) HeraldNet; Manning-Smith, Traffic issues could force Everett schools to ‘shake up’ start times (Apr. 9, 2013) KOMO News; Salyer, Hours may change at some Everett schools (Apr. 2, 2013) HeraldNet; Whitney, Proposal changes school start, end times (Mar. 20, 2013) Tribune; see also, Morgan, Add more periods for flexibility (May 21, 2013) Herald Net; cf. Milton, High school students would benefit from later start times (Apr. 10, 2013) News Tribune [proposing Tacoma Public Schools delay 7:35 a.m. high school start time].)
On June 11, 2012, the Olympia School District school board approved a new bell schedule delaying start times at Reeves and Washington middle schools, from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and 8 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., respectively. The start time at Jefferson/Marshall middle school will remain at 8 a.m. Start times at the high schools will advance by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Elementary schedules will be both advanced and delayed, with start times ranging from 8:40 a.m. to 9:25 a.m. The board anticipates the new schedule will save $160,000 in transportation expenses. (Pemberton, Most Olympia schools to get new start times (Jun. 14, 2012) The News Tribune.)
On May 21, 2012, the Port Angeles School District school board approved a timeline to consider delaying start times from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The High School Start Times Task Force recommended the 45 minute shift, anticipating improvements in attendance and academic performance. The Task Force noted that Bainbridge High School and several Seattle high schools already use a delayed schedule. The board will take up the matter again on July 9, 2012, with a final decision expected by November 26, 2012. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows Port Angeles High begins at 7:45 a.m. (9:20 a.m. on Wednesdays), Lincoln High at 8:45 a.m., the middle school begins at 8 a.m., and the elementary schools start at 7:45 a.m. (Rice, Port Angeles accepts timeline for later school start (May 22, 2012) Peninsuladailynews.com [the statement to the effect that the board is considering “moving the morning bell … ahead one hour[,]” appears to be an error].)
Castle Rock High School is delaying the starting bell until 8:50 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday to provide time before school for students to get help with homework. (Garrison, Earlier start times set to kick in for Longview schools (Aug. 13, 2011) The Daily News.)
Relying upon “clear and overwhelming” evidence of “sleep-deprived” adolescents, Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Shonny Bria announced middle and high school students would begin school days 30 minutes later, at 8:15 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively. (Njus, Battle Ground Schools to shift start time so students can get more sleep (Jul. 14, 2011) OregonLive.com.)
Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Baker prepared a webpage, video, and three page summary addressing considerations pertinent to determining 2011-2012 start times for all district schools. Baker noted the goals as follows: “Provide an earlier elementary school start time other than 9:30 a.m. and resolve transportation issues of buses picking up students late, and; Explore a later high school start time other than the current 7:45 a.m.” The district settled on a 2011-2012 bell schedule which retains the 7:45 a.m. high school start time, but allows for some “flexible scheduling with some students starting second period [8:45 a.m.] and ending seventh period or through online learning.” Middle school start times were delayed from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., and elementary school start times advanced from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
WISCONSIN — On June 6, 2016, the Madison Metropolitan School District School Board will receive a “brief overview” of the evidence supporting the need for later secondary school scheduling followed by a discussion among board members about possible next steps to implement a later middle school start time. According to the school hours webpage, ten of the district’s 12 middle schools begin morning classes at 7:35 a.m.; two middle schools begin later, at 8:13 a.m. (Wright) and 8:25 a.m. (Badger Rock). Buses begin collecting middle schoolers as early as 6:35 a.m. School board treasurer T.J. Mertz has been advocating later start times for over a year. Mertz reports being “overwhelmed” by positive feedback from parents. Mertz aims to move back start times roughly half an hour, but is willing to work within the logistical possibilities. Mertz emphasized that this is the beginning of a process that could take roughly 14 months to implement if approved. Modifying the busing schedule appears to be the largest impediment to change. The district’s five high schools begin morning classes during the 8 o’clock hour; i.e., 8:12 a.m. (West High), 8:14 a.m. (Memorial High), 8:15 a.m. (East High), 8:18 (La Follette High), and 8:45 a.m. (Shabazz High). Twenty of the district’s 32 elementary schools begin morning classes at 8:30 a.m., the remaining 12 begin at 7:45 a.m. In December 2016, the district reported its survey (n = 10,000) found broad support for later middle school scheduling among parents (78%), staff (71%), and students (75%). Transportation costs associated with changing only the middle school start times (i.e., without flipping elementary and middle school schedules) are estimated at 2$ million annually as 50-55 additional bus runs may be required. (Jones, Later middle school start times costly, but supported by parents, students, faculty (Dec. 8, 2016) Channel 3000; Hinton, Madison District Considers Later School Start Times for Middle School Students (Jun. 17, 2016) Education Week; Speckhard, Madison School Board to discuss later middle school start times (Jun. 4, 2016) The Cap Times; Rickert, Shift to later school starts moving about as fast as a teenager at dawn (Jun. 4, 2016) Wis. State J.)
Parents speaking at a community forum in April 2013 at Shawano Community High School in the Shawano School District urged the district to start secondary school students later. In 2013, classes at the middle and high schools started at 7:30 a.m. Elementary school students started at 8:15 a.m. The parents proposed that the elementary schools should be in session first. One parent pointed out that studies show the earlier the start time for teenagers, the harder it is for them to focus in school. Attention, memory retention, decision making and creativity can be impacted, he said. Another parent, who supported the switch, was concerned students have to be out at the bus stop by 6 a.m. “I don’t think a 12-year-old should have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to get ready for school[.]” Superintendent Todd Carlson explained the district does double bus runs to reduce the number of buses used to transport students. He estimated at least six more buses would be needed if the district went to single runs before and after school. Carlson explained the rational for the present schedule: “The thought behind it was to have older siblings at home when the younger ones get home instead of the younger ones arriving first and perhaps having latchkey child at home without supervision[.]” In 2014, a Community Health Action Team spearheaded by ThedaCare sent a letter to the board asking it to consider pushing back the schools’ start times to later than the current 7:45 a.m. In July 2014, the board announced plans to form a committee to review school start times for middle and high school students. (Arndt, District plans to review school start times (Jul. 15, 2014) Wisconsin-Buzz; Pulaski, School start times among parents’ concerns (Apr. 23, 2013) Shawano Leader.)
In February 2012, it was reported that the Eau Claire Area School District Parent Advisory Council proposed pushing back high school start times by an hour or two. The bell schedules posted at the district website show middle and high schools starting at 7:42 a.m., elementary schools at 8:40 a.m. Superintendent Ron Heilmann noted that the idea is to allow high school students time to sleep in so they can be more alert during school. “The research is very clear about the adolescent brain, especially as they get into middle school and high school, that starting slightly later, there does seem to be pretty clear research evidence that there is a benefit.” The superintendent noted the decision will be made by the board of education. At a July 2013 school board meeting, board member Wendy Sue Johnson stated that if attending school later in the day would help students learn more effectively, the district should consider later start times. “From the research, it seems older kids in middle school and high school could benefit significantly from starting later in the day,” Johnson said. “It would be a big undertaking, but if we’re looking to prepare all kids and doing everything to meet all their needs, we should at least take a look at it.” Board member Chris Hambuch Boyle said she too would like the district to look into the issue, although she’s not convinced it would be worth it. “I think the conversation is well worth having … but I think as you look at the study, you got to look at the big picture. [¶] These are really conversations communities have to have because there are huge changes when you do that sort of thing and there are economic considerations as well.” Johnson said she’d like the Eau Claire school board to consider whether it’s worth it to swap start times for elementary and high school students. In October 2014, the board again discussed the possibility of delaying middle and high school start times. Johnson reported that three board members expressed interest in the change, four “weren’t quite sure at this time.” The board would like feedback from the community and plans to continue discussing the matter. No change would occur before 2015-2016. (Schmidtke, Committee recommends Eau Claire School District to explore later school start times (Mar. 2, 2015) WQOW.com; Curran, Eau Claire schools may start later (Oct. 7, 2014) WQOW; Swedien, Eau Claire school board members say district should consider later start (Jul. 28, 2013) Leader-Telegram; District looking into starting high school two hours later (Feb. 16, 2012) WEAU.com; Wiebold, Proposal could change start times for Eau Claire schools (Feb. 16, 2012) WQOW.com.)
For 2013-2014, the School District of Delavan-Darien is considering adding time to the school day and delaying middle and high school start times by 10 minutes to 7:30 a.m. The school board is considering extending the high school day by 15 minutes, the middle school day by 14 minutes, and the elementary school day by 30 minutes. Elementary school schedules would advance by 5 minutes to 8:15 a.m. According to Superintendent Robert Crist, “Extra instructional minutes means extra time for learning for our students. … We want all our students to achieve to their maximum potential and these added minutes will help us achieve that goal.” Crist believes the proposed new time schedule is better than what the district has currently, but it could be better. “Ideally, I’d like to see adolescent middle and high school students starting later in the mornings, with elementary students starting about when they do now. … Studies have shown that adolescent students perform best when their brains receive enough sleep and sufficient time to ‘wake up’ before the school day. Also, starting later would improve the safety of our students who must to leave for school or wait for the bus in the dark.” Crist reported that busing costs limited the district’s options. (Staff, Delavan-Darien students may have longer school days next year (May 22, 2013) Walworth County Today.)
On May 10, 2011, following “months of debate,” the School District of Greenfield school board voted not to change the district’s school start times, retaining the current 7:10 a.m. high school start time and 7:42 a.m. middle school start time. (District elementary schools begin at 8:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.) The plan calling for the high school to begin at 8:10 a.m., middle school at 8:25 a.m., and elementary schools at 7:30 a.m., received zero votes. The plan calling for the high school to begin at 7:45 a.m., middle school at 7:30 a.m., and the elementary schools at 8:45 a.m., received 2 votes. Reasons in opposition to changing start times include busing costs ($208,000), the concern that primary school children would wait for buses in the dark, and the impact on extra-curricular participation, after-school jobs, and families that rely on older students to watch younger sibling. In defending the high school’s 7:10 a.m. start time, School Board President Bruce Bailey asserted, “Students need to ‘join the real world,’… and get used to rising early to be successful, …” In October 2012, board member Cathy Walsh, a member of the committee which previously recommended a start time delay, requested that the subject be added to the board’s future agenda. Dolores Skowronek, MLIS, who serves on the board of directors of the national advocacy group Start School Later, also served with Walsh on the start time committee and noted that the preliminary report card from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) gave the high school a grade of 59.6 in student achievement. As defined by DPI, the score correlates to “meets few expectations.” Skowronek attributed the low grade at least partially to the school’s early start time. School records show 9,671 documented instances of first-hour tardies at the high school for the 2011-2012 academic year. In March 2013, the school board voted 4-3 to delay 2013-2014 high school start times by 20 minutes to 7:30 a.m., and to advance the middle school start time by 12 minutes to 7:30 a.m. Two elementary schools were moved to 8:45 a.m. from 9:15 a.m., conforming start times with the district’s two other elementary schools. Wisconsin has its own StartSchoolLater Chapter. (Cotey, Greenfield High School Classes Will Start Later in 2013-14 (Mar. 28, 2013) Greenfield Patch; Cotey, School Start Time Change Gaining Steam? (Jan. 23, 2013) Greenfield Patch; Cotey, School Start-Time Debate Making a Return? (Oct. 23, 2012) Greenfield Patch; Stingl, Greenfield mom pushes later school start for groggy teens (Mar. 6, 2012) J. Sentinel; Cotey, Greenfield School District Decides to Keep School Start Times the Same (May 10, 2011) Greenfield Patch; see also, Skowronek, Start School Later Reference List.)
The Racine Unified School District will delay 2012-2013 middle school start times by 10 minutes to 8:35 a.m. for Gilmore Middle School, Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School, McKinley Middle School, Mitchell Middle School and Starbuck Middle School. The district start/end time schedule indicates that Walden III Middle School will retain its 7:10 a.m. start time, and REAL Charter School will begin at 7:15 a.m. The change is expected to allow the district to better utilize the city bus for the middle schools. For high schools, the start/end time schedule shows the following: Walden III High, 7:10 a.m.; Case, Horlick, Park, and REAL Charter School, 7:15 a.m; Keith R. Mack Alternative Program, 8 a.m. Elementary school start times range from 7:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. (Lockwood, Several Area Schools Will Have A New Start And End Time This Fall (Jul. 1, 2012) Caledonia Patch; Lockwood, Some Racine Unified School Day Schedules Will Change Next Year (Mar. 22, 2012) Caledonia Patch.)
By 4 to 3 vote, the Whitnall School District school board approved a measure to delay high school start times from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. and middle school start times from 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. for 2012-2013. The director of special education and human resources noted the current high school start time is “very early for teenagers to get up, be motivated and be listening.” Superintendent Lowell Holtz, apparently unaware the earliest start time proposed for this population by any expert is 8:30 a.m., stated, “Our sole purpose for doing this is not to inconvenience anybody, but to provide improved educational opportunities for our kids.” Many parents expressed dissatisfaction the plan also provides for middle and high school start times to be delayed by an additional hour twice monthly. The late start days are intended to permit professional learning communities among teachers and administrators. (Cotey, Whitnall School Board Split on 2012-13 Calendar (Jan. 23, 2012) Greenfield Patch; School schedules may get a wake-up call (Jan. 17, 2012) Franklin Now; Cotey, Should Whitnall Change its School Start Times? (Dec. 13, 2011) Greenfield Patch.)
The Menomonee Falls School District is considering a plan to delay the start time of North Middle School from 7:30 a.m. to 7:59 a.m. in an effort “to ease transportation of students” as the high school start time advances. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows a 7:49 a.m. start time for North Middle. (Engelking, Rise and Shine! School Could Start Earlier Next Year at MFHS (Nov. 28, 2011) Menomonee Falls Patch.)
The School District of River Falls adopted a citizen’s group recommendation to “[c]reate a more effective school start time for all students.” A committee composed of staff members, parents, high school students, community members, and administrators researched the start time issue, finding, “consequences to students for sleep deprivation associated with starting school at 7:30 AM. The consequences include: impairments of mood, attention, and memory; behavior control; lower academic performance and motivation to learn; and health-related effects, including weight gain, lack of exercise, use of stimulants, and more vehicle accidents.” An October 2011 survey of parents found 7:45 a.m. to be the most preferred start time. On November 28, 2011, the board voted to delay both the middle and high school start times from 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Board member Barb Kolpin was the only “no” vote. Kolpin believed the change did not “go far enough. It’s not a big enough step to meet the needs of our adolescents.” Board members acknowledged the start time committee was constrained by the directive not to add to existing transportation costs. Board member Manny Kenny “conceded the 15-minute later start was only ‘incremental,’ but added that even such a baby step was going in the right direction.” (Pfuehler, River Falls students gain more sleep-in time (Dec. 1, 2011) Pierce County Herald; Westerhaus, School District of River Falls; Your Schools: School district’s parents should look for, complete sleep survey in October (Sept. 19, 2011) River Falls J.)
WYOMING — On May 9, 2012, the Teton County School District No. 1 school board voted unanimously to delay 2012-2013 start times for Summit High School and Jackson Hole High School to 8:55 a.m. from 7:40 a.m. and 7:35 a.m., respectively. Jackson Hole Middle School will change from 7:40 a.m. to 9 a.m. Superintendent Pamela Shea, Ed.D., stated the change was undertaken to improve academic outcomes and the mental health of adolescent students. Start times at two elementary schools will advance; Colter by 30 minutes to 8:15 a.m. and Wilson by 5 minutes to 8:25 a.m. Start times at the remaining elementary schools will not change; Jackson (8:30 a.m.), Moran (8:30 a.m.), Kelly (8:30 a.m.), and Alta (8 a.m.). The Stop and Start Times Task Force prepared a report and addressed obstacles to the change. The effect of the delays at Jackson Hole High School were examined by CAREI in a study published here. (Schaeffer, Schools to start later (May 11, 2012) jhnewsandguide.com; Shaeffer, School days could shift (Mar. 17, 2012) jhnewsandguide.com; see also, Assoc. Press, Teton Students Take Part In Nationwide Sleep Study (May 29, 2012) LocalNews8.com.)
This site’s lists of schools delaying, or advancing start times, or going nowhere, etc., offer only a limited accounting of nation-wide start time activity. The lists are derived from Google alerts, rather than data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Moreover, this site is a one person, weekend-only project, leaving me generally far behind the pace of Google alerts.
As noted in the main text (see, § IV, supra), the National Sleep Foundation reports “individual schools or districts in 19 states have pushed back their start times, and more than 100 school districts in an additional 17 states are considering delaying their start times.” It appears, however, that this information has not been updated in many years. In August of 2012, Kyla Wahlstrom reported that “more than 250 schools throughout the country have changed to a later school start time.” (But see, Wolfson & Richards, Young Adolescents: Struggles with Insufficient Sleep, publish. in, Sleep and Development (Oxford Univ. Press, El Sheikh edit. 2011) p. 275 [noting need for “empirically based monitoring and reporting system” to track start time changes; reported delays in start times may be as short as 7:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. versus 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.]; see also, Owens, Drobnich, Baylor, & Lewin, School Start Time Change: An In-Depth Examination of School Districts in the United States (Dec. 2014) 28 Internat. Mind, Brain, and Ed. Society 4, pp. 182-213.)
Recently, CDC scientists utilized National Center for Education Statistics data to determine national and state average middle and high school start times. (Wheaton, Ferro, & Croft, School Start Times for Middle School and High School Students — United States, 2011–12 School Year (Aug. 7, 2015) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64 Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Rep. 30, pp. 809-813.)