Schools Recently Going Nowhere

October 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

“To do nothing is really to do harm.”Judith Owens, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Associate Professor of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital, lead author, American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, School Start Times for Adolescents. (Park, School Should Start Later So Teens Can Sleep, Urge Doctors (Aug. 25, 2014) Time.)

CALIFORNIA — In July 2014, Adelanto High School in the Victor Valley Union High School District announced that it would advance its start time from 8:10 a.m. to 7 a.m. for 2014-2015. Victor Valley High School and University Preparatory also start at 7 a.m. The opening bell at the Cobalt Institute of Math and Science rings at 7:42 a.m., and the Goodwill Education Center begins morning classes at 8 a.m. Zero period at Silverado High School starts at 6:58 a.m., first period at 8 a.m. Hook Junior High School and Lakeview Middle School both begin at 9 a.m. In August 2014, employee-district negotiations resulted in retention of Adelanto’s 8:10 a.m. start time. When asked about the district’s early school scheduling, Superintendent Ron Williams stated, “I break-tradition -- thereaganwinghaven’t looked at the research in a while, but I know based on previous research, teens would fare a little better …. But we also have to think about tradition.” District spokesperson Barbara Morrow Williams stated that school start times are determined by the “transportation requirements of each site, including mandated transportation arrangements for special-needs students.” (Self, Back to school: Local teens early to rise (Aug. 9, 2014) Daily Press; Self, Changes coming to Adelanto High School (Jul. 21, 2014) Daily Press.)

In 2011, Temecula Valley High School students formed a “Sleep Club.” The club’s purpose is to advocate for later start times at all Temecula Valley Unified School District high schools. Temecula Valley Unified high school classes begin at 7:30 a.m. four day a week and 8:30 a.m. one day. Teachers and students say it’s a “common occurrence” for students to nod off in class. “One [additional] hour of sleep does so much for the body,” said club President Jason Luque. “It doesn’t just affect school, it affects our entire attitude. You see students every day looking to see when they can take a nap. We want to change that where there’s no more sleepy period.” Faculty advisor Cara Ramsay notes, “A lot of kids came initially because they thought they could nap in here, which in and of itself says something. … The number one obstacle [to implementing later start times] is the logistics of getting kids to school. In a time when we’re worried about kids in California not having the necessary skills to compete, we make it harder on them. Why? Because we can’t change bus schedules? It’s counterproductive to what we’re doing in education.” Club secretary Maile Schoonover, a senior, recognizes that any change in the school schedule will take place after she graduates. “My brother is a junior,” she said. “I’d like to leave school knowing he’ll be able to score higher on tests and be more prepared for college.” A research report and proposal to delay start times were provided to the school board in March. The board approved an online parent survey re support/disapproval of later high school start times and earlier elementary school start times. Middle schools presently begin at 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., elementary schools at 8:55 a.m. Two plans are currently being considered to change start times, each of which would advance middle and elementary school start times to 8 a.m. The first proposal would begin high school classes at 9 a.m.; the second would allow high school students requiring flexible scheduling to begin classes at 7:45 a.m., all others would begin at 8:45 a.m. A poll found seventy-three percent of parents support delaying the high school start time. On March 5, 2013, a district spokeswoman announced that excessive transportation costs would preclude any change in the high school start time. (Sanders, High School Won’t Alter Start Time, District Decides (Mar. 7, 2013) U-T San Diego; Avants, School Start Times Topic of Temecula Parent Survey (Aug. 31, 2012) Temecula Patch; Klampe, TEMECULA: Board approves later start for Bella Vista Middle School (Jul. 18, 2012) Press-Enterprise [2012-2013 Bella Vista Middle School start times delayed by 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m., saving about $100,000 in transportation expenses]; 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.)

Teachers at Rio Americano High School in the San Juan Unified School District voted against a proposal (57% to 43%) to delay start times from 7:50 a.m. (zero period begins at 6:50 a.m.) to 8:20 a.m. The school’s (now expired) Later Start Times Information page noted the teachers’ assent was needed by contract to “any change of five minutes or more[.]” A straw poll taken in December 2011 found over 60% of faculty favored the change. Parent group STEPS (Support to Engage Parents and Students) had pressed for later start times since February 2011. In the weeks following the straw poll, teachers opposed to the change “attacked the research” proffered by STEPS. Computer Sciences teacher Tom Sullivan focused on another problem, stating, “I 5 freeway to sacramentohave to commute a lot to get here, and I’d just be sitting in traffic longer.” Physical Education teacher Brian Davis, on the other hand, commented, “Whatever is best for the kids.” (Hartman, Proposal to Change School Start Time (Jan. 27, 2012) The Mirada.) Physics teacher Dean Baird, who compiled the school’s now expired “Later School Start Time Resource Page,” notes the “status quo” is “[m]uch more powerful than academic and medical research.” (Baird, What time should high school start? (Jan. 29, 2012) The Blog of Phyz.) Math instructor “Darren” questions “why only teachers got a vote on this, and not our administrative, clerical, custodial, or food service staffs.” (Darren, The Furor Over Start Time (Jan. 29, 2012) Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher.) A survey found “overwhelming” opposition among parents. Students also “generally” favored retaining the 7:50 a.m. start time. (Hartman, Proposal to Change School Start Time, supra, The Mirada.) This outcome appears consistent with literature noting teachers often oppose later start times due to concerns they may have to commute during peak traffic (Bronson & Merryman, Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children (Twelve Books 2009) p. 37), or may have less time with their families. (Eight Major Obstacles to Changing School Start Times (2011) National Sleep Foundation.) In addition, “vehement” opposition from parents prior to the change (see, 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, p. 62), has been followed by overwhelming approval after implementation. (See, Later Start Times for High School Students (Jun. 2002) Univ. Minn. [92% parental approval after more than 50,000 children changed start times in Minneapolis and Edina].) Similarly, students often oppose later start times prior to making the change, but approve the later start once implemented. (See, § IV.A.) Middle schools in the San Juan Unified School District begin as early as 7:23 a.m.; other high schools as early as 7:45 a.m., zero period, 6:50 a.m. A local parent advocacy group continues to press for later high school scheduling.

Rancho Santa Fe School District Trustee Todd Frank would like to explore the possibility of pushing the current Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. start time back to 9:15 a.m., the current Monday start time, five days a week for all kindergarten through 8th grade students. Frank stated that his own children had to rise at 5:45 a.m. to make their morning extracurricular activities and they are tired, but on Mondays they feel much better. Frank indicated parents had approached him asking about later start times. Superintendent Linda Delaney responded, “We’ve tried things.” The current schedule “works the best, our kids do a lot.” The board decided to table the issue until another meeting and determine whether they should do a parent survey about this and other issues. On February 2, 2012, the board decided to leave the schedule without undertaking the survey. The superintendent reported that Mr. ”Frank agreed start times should remain as they are.” Mr. Frank, however, abstained from the vote confirming the schedule. (McCormac, Board decides school start times will remain (Feb. 6, 2012) The Coast News; McCormac, School board to examine start times (Jan. 23, 2012) The Coast News; Billing, Trustee proposes later start time for Rancho Santa Fe School (Dec. 14, 2011) Ranch Santa Fe Rev.)

CANADA — The Waterloo Catholic District School Board considered and then rejected a plan to align bell times and bus schedules with the Waterloo Region District School Board for 2012-2013. High school start times would have been delayed from 8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. to sometime between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. The plan was expected to save $1 million in transportation costs. Nearly 7,000 parents raised objections to the proposal as it would have started some primary school students before 8 a.m., concerning many that young students might have to walk to school in the dark during winter months. Parents also complained older children would be unable to watch younger siblings after school if elementary school ended first. Many students also voiced opposition to the proposal, noting the proposed schedule would interfere with work or extracurricular activities. (Rutledge, No changes to bell times at Catholic school board (Feb. 13, 2012) Cambridge Times; Youth Editorial Board, Should school bell times change? (Feb. 11, 2012) The Record; Board seeks input on bell time changes (Jan. 5, 2012) Cambridge Times; Hicks, Catholic board looks to align bell times with public school board (Jan. 4, 2012) The Record.)

On February 13, 2012, following the decision by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board not to delay start times, the Waterloo Region District School Board decided 6-5 against pushing back high school start times to sometime between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Waterloo Region District high schools presently begin between 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Prior to the decision rejecting the plan, a district spokesperson commented, “There is research that supports later start times for adolescents. Ask any educator. In the morning, kids aren’t necessarily at their most spry.” The plan was expected to save the district as much as $1.3 million in transportation costs. Cameron Heights high school student, Abigail McLellan, told the committee that her survey of 200 schoolmates showed strong support for later bell times. Elementary school start times would have been advanced to as early as 8 a.m. (Hicks, Bell tolls for plan to change school start times (Feb. 13, 2012) The Record; Youth Editorial Board, Should school bell times change? (Feb. 11, 2012) The Record; Hazzard, Proposed school bell times will hurt co-op students (Jan. 25, 2012) The Record; Hicks, Public board puts off issue of later start times at high school (Jan. 23, 2012) The Record; Rutledge, School bell time study could see later start for teenagers (Dec. 8, 2011) Cambridge Times; Hicks, Later starts for high school students under study (Dec. 1, 2011) The Record; see also, D’Amato, ‘Walking zombies’ will benefit from later high school start times (Dec. 2, 2011) The Record.)

CONNECTICUT — In November 2013, Ridgefield Public Schools considered a plan to send middle schoolers to class on the present high school schedule; i.e., at 7:25 a.m. rather than 8 a.m., a 35 minute advance. High schoolers were start on the middle school schedule, at 8 a.m. rather than 7:25 a.m., a 35 minute delay. In December 2013, however, the matter was dropped following a survey showing overwhelming disapproval from parents, teachers, and students. (Coulter, Survey: Most oppose school time change (Dec. 13, 2013) The Ridgefield Press; Coulter, Start times: Middle schools as the earliest? (Nov. 15, 2013) The Ridgefield Press.) After 50,000 children changed start times in Minneapolis and Edina, 92% of parents approved of the change. (Later Start Times for High School Students (2002) Univ. Minn.) Like their parents, students may also initially oppose later school scheduling, but in each jurisdiction implementing later start times, surveyed students have overwhelmingly approved the new schedule. (See, § IV.A.) As discussed, supra  teachers are well known opponents of later school scheduling. (See, § IV.) Obviously, the plan was fundamentally flawed insofar as middle school students also benefit from later school scheduling. (See, e.g., 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.) The proposed 8 a.m. high school start time is still 30 minutes earlier than the earliest start time suggested by any sleep expert for middle or high school students (see, infra, Appendix C, Start Time Recommendations, etc.), and one hour earlier than suggested by Brookings Institute economists. (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; see, 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 [students beginning classes at 8 a.m. show marked deficiencies in first period courses and were more likely to be absent from first period courses relative to other periods].)

FLORIDA –In August of 2014, Walton County School District Superintendent Carlene Anderson was asked whether the district would be delaying secondary scheduling in light of the AAP Policy Statement recommending 8:30 a.m. or later middle and high school start times. Walton County high school classes begin at 7:35 a.m. (South Walton High, Seacoast Collegiate High) or 7:45 a.m. (Walton High, Freeport High, Paxton School). Middle school classes begin as early as 7:27 a.m. (Freeport Middle) and 7:45 a.m. (Walton Middle, Paxton School). Anderson stated that no one has approached her about changing the start times and the school board has shown no interest in the matter. “We’re not taking any steps toward any changes at this time,” Anderson said. (Tammen, Okaloosa school start times among earliest in nation (Aug. 25, 2014) nwfdailynews.com.) Other district middle schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (Seaside Neighborhood School) and 8:48 a.m. (Emerald Coast). Elementary schools start at 7:45 a.m. or 8 a.m. Wise Pre-K begins at 7:30 a.m.

In December 2013, in response 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., Pinellas County Schools School Board Chairwoman Carol Cook said the bill raises questions over who controls area schools — the school board or the Legislature. “They already tell us what day we need to start, and now they’re telling us what time we need to start[.] I believe more and more they are overstepping their boundaries and not letting school boards make the best decision to meet the needs of their communities.” Most district high schools begin at 7:05 a.m. Changing bus schedules could have big repercussions, said Michael Bessette, Pinellas’ associate superintendent of operational services. When the school district in 2005 considered starting high schools at 9:15 a.m., more than half of the parents polled preferred the 7:05 a.m. start times, Bessette said. The school district also found that pushing back the bus schedule forced middle school students to start at about 10 a.m. and get out about 5 p.m. According to Representative Gaetz, “Kids don’t freaking learn at 7 in the morning, and it’s such an obvious fix. In the state of Florida, we spend oodles of money perfecting the content we deliver to students, but if they’re not ready to receive that content, it’s like spending a bunch of money to purify water to pour in a bucket when there’s a hole in the bottom of the bucket.” On June 12, 2011, by a 5-2 vote, $573,000 in additional transportation costs was cited by the school board as a reason not to retain a 7:20 a.m. start time in favor of the new 9:30 a.m. start time at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School. The bell schedule indicates most other district middle schools begin at 9:30 a.m., except that Clearwater Fundamental begins at 8:15 a.m., Madeira Beach Fundamental at 7:45 a.m., and three K-12 schools, Calvin Hunsinger, Hamilton Disston, Richard L. Sanders, at 7:05 a.m. On January 10, 2012, Superintendent John Stewart, Ed.D., recommended the current bell schedule remain in place for 2012-13, a point which continues to distress many Thurgood Marshall parents. The board voted unanimously to approve the recommendation. (Dawson, Districts skeptical of later start times (Dec. 4, 2013) The Tampa Tribune; Catalanello, Stewart could remain as Pinellas school chief through 2012-13 school year (Jan. 11, 2012) Tamba Bay Times; Pinellas promises meeting with Thurgood parents over start times (Jan. 7, 2012) Tampa Bay Times; Thurgood parents rallying again over start time (Jan. 6, 2012) Tampa Bay Times; Catalanello, No Go on earlier start times for Thurgood Marshall (Jun. 15, 2011) tampabay.com.)

On January 10, 2011, pediatrician Lynn Keefe made a presentation to the Okaloosa County School District school board requesting a delay in high school start times to 9 a.m. from the current 7 a.m. start. On November 14, 2011, Dr. Keefe, together with physicians Eleanor McCain and Deb Simkin, addressed the school board a second time. Dr. McCain asked, “Why am I still here talking to you about this problem? The only conclusion I can (draw) is that you don’t believe the medical data.” Dr. McCain noted it has historically been difficult for society to accept new knowledge that challenges traditional beliefs, but the changes, once made, have always been for the better. “Worldview and beliefs do evolve over time as our knowledge expands.” To illustrate her point, Dr. Simkin, a local psychiatrist, touched on all the innovations in science that have allowed doctors and scientists to study the human brain and how it works. Dr. Simkin explained that research has shown, time and time again, that most teenagers cannot get enough sleep with early school start times because their bodies typically don’t allow them to go to bed earlier than 10:30 p.m. Starting school around 7 a.m. contributes to a whole host of preventable physical and mental problems from obesity to depression to substance abuse problems. Simkin noted medications exist to correct all these problems, but an easier and healthier remedy exists. “The only way to fix the problem, whether you go to sleep earlier or not, is to have later start times.” As noted, supra, on September 23, 2013, Representative Matt Gaetz, a resident of Fort Walton Beach where the high school begins at 7 a.m., introduced a bill in the Florida Legislature prohibiting schools from opening before 8 a.m. Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson says she believes later start times are the healthiest choice, but that the district cannot do it with the current number of buses. Additional buses cost a cost of a hundred thousand dollars each and she believes the districts would need 10 more. Gaetz, a Republican, stated, “It’s preposterous for any school district to say well yes, we know we have children in the classroom that can’t reach their potential and can’t retain information, but because we can’t get the bus schedule right, we’re just going to keep things how they are[.]” Gaetz says making sure students succeed is important to Florida’s economic future. Dr. Keefe continues to meet with the district transportation staff and others in an effort to get high schools later start times. Okaloosa County has its own StartSchoolLater Chapter. (Nielsen, Matt Gaetz Files Bill for Later High School Start Times (Sept. 25, 2013) Sunshine State News; Schorsch, Matt Gaetz files bill for later high schools start times (Sept. 24, 2013) Saint Peters Blog; Okaloosa County School Start Times (Sept. 23, 2010) ABC 3; Tammen, Area doctors press for later start for high schools (Nov. 15, 2011) NewsHerald.com; Tammen, Pediatrican addresses school board over start times (Jan. 11, 2011) NewsHerald.com; see also, Keefe, ‘Let’s sleep on it’ is not an acceptable answer; early school start times are hurting our students (Mar. 12, 2012) theDestinlog.com.)

ILLINOIS — In August 2014, Edwardsville Community Unit District 7 Schools Superintendent Ed Hightower said that if the district would implement a later, common start time for all students, the district would have to buy about 50 buses. That’s because the current staggered, three-tier schedule allows the same fleet of buses to be used more than once in the same morning. Adding the buses would cost $2.5 million. Making the elementary or middle school students the earliest would mean young children would have to arrive at bus stops in the dark. With the current schedule, older siblings are able to arrive home before younger siblings and supervise them. “It’s not even close to being practical, feasible or reasonable,” said Hightower, who sent a letter to all district parents on the issue last week. “If money was not an issue, then yes, we would have been doing that for a number of years.” The district’s two high schools begin morning classes at 7:10 a.m. (Edwardsville High South) and 7:20 a.m. (Edwardsville High). Students attending zero period classes begin 50 minutes earlier. The two middle schools (grades 6-8) begin at 8 a.m. The district’s 10 primary and elementary schools span grades K-5 and begin morning classes at 9:15 a.m. Parent Elise Rebmann, an advocate for later secondary school scheduling, contends, “It’s like smoke detectors. You’d find the money if you knew how important it is[.]” According to James Walsh, executive director and senior scientist at St. Luke’s Sleep Medicine and Research Center, “Everything we know about the brain’s timing system in teenagers argues that we ought to start school later[.]” (Bock, Should school districts adapt to teen sleep patterns? (Aug. 11, 2014) St. Louis Post Dispatch.)

On February 21, 2012, the Belvidere School District again voted down a plan to delay start times for all students as follows: primary, from 7:40 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.; middle, from 8:38 a.m. to 8:58 a.m.; secondary, from 7:55 a.m. to 8 a.m. Many parents expressed concerns about elementary school children boarding buses as early as 6:30 a.m. Other parents indicated later start times would preclude them from getting their kids to school before work. (Kravets, UPDATE: No Change to Belvidere School Start Times (Feb. 21, 2012) WIFR.COM; Kravets, Belvidere Schools Eye Start Time Change (Feb. 21, 2012) WIFR.COM.)

IOWA — In March 2015, Sioux City Community Schools Director of Communications Alison Benson reported that the district briefly discussed a later start time in 2007 but the concept was quickly shot down when parents overwhelmingly opposed the idea. For 2014-2015, the district’s 3 high schools begin morning classes at 7:55 a.m., the 3 middle schools begin at 7:45 a.m., and 16 elementary schools begin at 8:35 a.m. North High School Assistant Principal Jen Gomez says students with packed schedules are susceptible to stress and fatigue, but most know it comes with the territory of being involved. Gomez does not believe that moving school to a later start time would solve those problems. “You’re always going to have pros and cons with anything regarding starting time[.] I still think you’re going to see kids getting the same amount of sleep but you’d just be postponing things an hour or two.” (Butz & Forbes, Sioux City students losing sleep over academics, activities (Mar. 14, 2015) Sioux City J.)

KENTUCKY — In July of 2017, a spokeswoman Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest school district in Kentucky, reported that no changes to the 7:40 a.m. middle and high school start time are being considered. District elementary schools begin morning classes at 9:05 a.m. (Ross, Why are teens going to school so early? Research shows educators may need a wake-up call (Jul. 19, 2017) courier-journal.)

Do not enter signMASSACHUSETTS — In August 2016, Somerville Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper reported that the district has no current plans to formally evaluate shifting the 7:55 a.m. high school start time, but she is open to having initial conversations about the move and would consider investigating it formally down the line. The district’s K-8 schools begin at 8:10 a.m., its alternative high school begins at 8 a.m., and its alternative junior high begins at 8:20 a.m. Skipper’s primary concerns revolve around logistics. “One of the challenges is meeting the needs of all students[.] A later start time would then mean that they’re getting out later. That cuts into areas such as sports. We also have a number of students who have work obligations in the after-school hours. A number of our students are caretakers, helping out with an elderly relative or with their siblings. Time is finite, so these are all the things you have to look at.” Somerville High School’s 2013-2014 Student Health Survey found that about a third of students reported experiencing depression in the previous year. Another third described themselves as overweight. In 2015, the school had over a 24 percent chronic absenteeism rate, about six percent higher than the state average, according to information provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Pediatrician Terence McAllister, who helped spearhead the Massachusetts Medical Society’s school start time resolution, explains that as high school start times have gotten earlier, students have suffered. “School start times over the past 15 to 20 years have been pushed earlier and earlier with the expectation that adolescents would just go to bed earlier and could still get the same amount of sleep and would be fine[.] The problem is, the science shows that adolescents’ natural body rhythms just don’t work that way. They’re naturally driven to stay up later and to sleep later.” McAllister is aware of the issues that a later start time would pose, but believes that school administrators will have to tackle the challenges head-on. “They’re very valid concerns, the logistics of switching school times is a huge hurdle to overcome[.] But when you look at the downside of making these kids sleep deprived, it’s something that’s truly necessary. The science really backs that up. [¶] These would be really big changes in the traditions that a lot of schools have, but again, when the school start times the way they are now are not healthy, are not good for adolescents, then we have to find some sort of solution, even though it will be very difficult[.]” McAllister homeschools his son, in part because the public school in their district starts at 7:15 a.m. (Karasin, Sleep, Science and the Somerville Public School Schedule (Aug. 4, 2016) Scout Somerville.)

Start School Later has introduced a petition in Massachusetts calling for middle and high school classes to commence no earlier than 8:30 a.m. “Local reaction from school officials and at least one parent is fairly tepid to a proposal that high school and middle school students in Taunton [Public Schools] and across the state begin their school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m.” Taunton High School begins morning classes at 7:30 a.m., Martin and Parker Middle Schools begins at 8:20 a.m., and elementary schools begin at 9 a.m. Nancy Everidge, President of the 561-member Taunton Teachers Association, believes that “[l]ogistically it could be difficult[]” to start school later. Ms. Everidge contends that implementing a uniform start time would stress the district’s three-tier busing system. Ms. Everidge believes “ ‘[i]t may be the case’ that a fair number of students don’t get enough sleep, … [b]ut … everyone’s internal clock is not identical. ‘Some students … can manage to get up and go early, and others have to pull themselves together. Some thrive on it and some don’t.’ ” Taunton Police Sergeant Kevin Medas, whose two sons attend Taunton High School, said his oldest boy probably would appreciate starting his school day an hour later. “He is sleep-deprived[.]” But Medas believes eliminating the three-tier system isn’t a good idea. “It really depends on what they do on the other end[.] Will there be enough time in the school day?” Medas says his 16-year-old son, a junior, gets good grades, is active in sports, has a part-time job bussing tables at a restaurant and is so bushed by the time he gets home he takes a two-hour nap before dinner. “He loves school and loves doing all the things teenagers do,” Medas said, adding that his household has its own “three-tiered shower system. [¶] I’m up at 5:30 a.m. and get them up by 6 a.m.[]” Medas’ 15-year-old son doesn’t seem to mind getting up early and being in class by 7:20 a.m. Schools Superintendent Julie Hackett said a sweeping change in class hours would be “challenging, because it would impact the entire district.” Hackett said she understands the concern of pediatricians and some parents, but at the same time warns that starting school later could disrupt after-school activities such as sports practices and affect the ability of some students to work part-time jobs. Nineteen-year-old Devyn Faria of Raynham, a junior at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, said he’s in favor of starting the school day later and says he knows classmates who “are always tired in class. [¶] I think it would be good to have this[.]” School committee member Jordan Fiore reports that instituting a system requiring middle and high school students to start classes at the same time will “complicate things on both ends.” Fiore believes safety concerns would increase, especially during winter when daylight savings is not in effect. Students who stay later for after-school events, he said, most certainly would be walking home in darkness. He also said running school buses on the same non-staggered schedule would make things tougher overall, in terms of traffic and for drivers commuting to and from work. “It creates too many complications,” he said. “It sounds like a nice idea,” Fiore said, “but if the kids are sleep-deprived then they should start going to bed earlier.” (Winokoor, Later school start times wouldn’t work in Taunton (Mar. 15, 2015) Taunton Daily Gazette.)

A few years ago, Lincoln School students (grades 5-8) were allowed to enter the building at 7:45 a.m., so that classes could begin promptly at 8 a.m. Other than that, Principal Sharon Hobbs cannot remember a time when the school talked about starting at different times. Hanscom Middle School (grades 4-8), and all other Lincoln Public Schools (Hanscom Primary School, Lincoln Primary School, Lincoln School, grades K-4), also begin morning classes at 8 a.m. According to Hobbs, “The drawback for us of starting later would be that we would need to end later as well, which would make athletics difficult. As it is, we have one of the later finishing times for middle schools in the area, which can be a challenge for away games[.]” Lincoln School (grades 5-8) dismisses students at 2:50 p.m., except on Wednesdays, when classes conclude at 12:35 p.m. (Tuoti, Group pushes for later start to school day (Apr. 10, 2015) Wicked Local.)

In December of 2010, the Lexington Public Schools Committee held a discussion about delaying the current 7:45 a.m. high school start time after receiving letters from parents on the subject. Committee member Jessie Steigerwald noted that information from studies and students shows that “even 30 more minutes of sleep makes a huge difference.” Steigerwald also observed that local schools making the change had seen “higher attendance records, fewer students sleeping through first period and little effect on sports.” Two students expressed support for making the change. The Committee Chairman commented it would be a large undertaking, “but this is a year or two process before we can really examine this. We have an awful lot on our plate this year, my preference is add it to our list ….” Superintendent Paul Ash said examining different start times would be a lot of work for the committee, something members might not have time for in the coming months. “I’m convinced this would require a massive amount of work, and implementing the change would be huge. I’m not aware there is any evidence that this produces a positive change in learning. It could have a positive effect, but is it worth the time? I think it’s not something we should look into right now.” School representatives advise that Clarke and Diamond middle schools begin at 8 a.m. and 8:05 a.m., respectively, for the 2011-2012 year. (Pickering, School Committee Discusses High School Start Time (Dec. 15, 2010) Lexington Patch; Lexington High School, Schedule.)

In 2009, the Silver Lake Regional School District formed a Sleep Needs Study Committee to evaluate the possibility of moving back start times for all district schools by 45 minutes. The Committee webpage notes the new start times would be 8:05 a.m. for the middle school, 8:15 a.m. for the high school, and 9 a.m./9:15 a.m. for the elementary schools. The Committee was said to be “preparing a powerpoint presentation on the issue of adolescent sleep needs and the options the Silver Lake District may take with regard to this scientific data.” The 2011-2012 bell schedule for Silver Lake Middle School notes a 7:35 a.m. start time, suggesting a 15 minute delay was undertaken. As of this writing, the only high school bell schedule posted notes a 7:30 a.m. start time, but the schedule is from the 2010-2011 academic year. Dennett Elementary similarly posts only a 2010-2011 schedule (in the school handbook), noting an 8:20 a.m. start time. The Halifax Elementary 2011-2012 parent-student handbook notes an 8:30 a.m. start time. As of October 2014, the high school bell schedule shows a 7:30 a.m. start time, the posted middle school student handbook (from 2013-2014) shows a 7:35 a.m. start time.

MICHIGAN — Sparta High School and Sparta Middle School in the Sparta Area Schools District begin morning classes at 7:20 a.m. Bus pick ups begin after 6 a.m., meaning many students awaken at 5 a.m. In May of 2016, Superintendent Gordie Nickels reported that because of a change in bus routes, it’s been this way for nearly 10 years. Superintendent Nickels, on the job for the past three years, says he cannot recall anyone calling for a later start time. “I don’t think it’s ever come up[.]” Ridgeview Elementary (K-2) starts the school day at 8:35 a.m., Appleview Elementary (grades 3-5) begins at 8:20 a.m. (Roelofs, Asleep at the desk: How school begins for many Michigan teens (May 31, 2016) MLive.com.)

nowhere road signMISSOURI — In 2013, at the urging of parents, St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams proposed a delay in the 7:10 a.m. middle and high school start time. The suggested delay in start times to approximately 8 a.m. would have ended the school day at 3 p.m. rather than 2:07 p.m. Parents and staff objected to the later end time as creating conflicts with work and athletic schedules. St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “it was the unpopularity of the change that led Adams to drop the recommendation.” The change would allegedly have required an additional 94 buses at a cost of $5.7 million. (Bock, Should school districts adapt to teen sleep patterns? (Aug. 11, 2014) St. Louis Post Dispatch.)

NEW HAMPSHIRE — In early 2013, Hampton School District considered adopting an unstated common start time for its kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools for 2013-2014. Middle schoolers presently begin classes at 7:40 a.m. while the younger students begin at 8:30 a.m. Committee members reported a common start time would reduce traffic congestion and simplify pickups for families. Superintendent Kathleen Murphy advised that a new schedule would serve middle school students who learn better later in the morning, as well as benefit younger students by starting them earlier, since they learn better in the morning. In April 2013, school officials announced the common start time would be rejected. A survey of parents and teachers found overwhelming disapproval of the plan. Parents were concerned about busing kindergarten students with middle school students for “developmental[]” reasons. In addition, bus rides would likely have increased to more than 40 minutes. (Reid, Hampton schools reject common start time (Apr. 10, 2013) Seacoastline; Reid, Hampton debates unified school start time (Mar. 19, 2013) Seacoastline.)

In 2012, the Rochester School Department appointed an ad hoc committee to determine whether secondary school students may perform better if start times are delayed. For the 2012-2013 school year, Rochester Middle School and Spaulding High School begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m. Spaulding High School social studies teacher Sarah Quinn stated, “Nothing gets done in ‘A block’ because they’re too tired. You can see kids really struggling to stay awake. Teenagers need about nine-and-a-quarter hours to sleep, and a majority in the United State get about eight hours. I don’t know if this would totally fix that problem (but) I think it would be a step in the right direction.” SAU #64 Superintendent Jay McIntire reported being “particularly interested in the idea of starting school later because some Spaulding High students in Wakefield leave town as early as 5:50 a.m. to get to Rochester on time. McIntire said working parents consequently get up early to spend time with their children, and they end up losing hours of rest as well.” In March 2013, after a survey found that just slightly more than half of all parents favored later start times and 27% reported that starting school later would have a significant negative impact on their schedules, the start time committee recommended start times remain status quo. On April 11, 2013, the school board accepted the committee’s recommendation. (Markhlevskaya, School Board accepts resignation of Spaulding principal, others Also agrees not to change school start time (Apr. 12, 2013) Foster’s Daily Democrat; Markhlevskaya, Committee: Don’t alter Rochester school start times (Mar. 27, 2013) Foster’s Daily Democrat; Allen, School districts eye later start times (Dec. 2, 2012) Foster’s Daily Democrat; Allen, Rochester panel wants to study data if students will perform better with later start (Oct. 2, 2012) Foster’s Daily Democrat.)

NEW JERSEY — In April 2017, the New Jersey Department of Education issued its report on Later School Start Times. At page 4, the report notes that 93% of districts targeted by the survey responded, and that of those, approximately 14% had middle or high school start times at 8:30 a.m. or later. Approximately 91% of the remaining districts with earlier start times reported they were not considering any schedule changes.

A group of parents, led by Cindy Botwinick, is urging Toms River Regional Schools to push back the start times for Intermediate North and the township’s three high schools, saying students are sleep deprived and not performing at their best. The township’s 3 high schools begin morning classes at 7:15 a.m., The intermediate schools begin at 7:50 a.m. or 7:55 a.m. All elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m. or 9:25 a.m. Tammi Millar, spokeswoman for the district, said any change in start times would require an in-depth study. “The district has begun this process and will be discussing our preliminary findings during the December 2014 committee meetings[.]” The meetings will be announced on the district’s website. Until then, Botwinick is circulating a petition among Toms River parents to gather support for the initiative. Botwinick reports that her son stands outside in the dark at 6:30 a.m. each morning to catch the school bus. Apparently seeking only modest change (i.e., an earlier start than suggested by any expert, supra, Appen. C, Start Time Recommendations, etc.), Botwinick is reported to have stated, “We need to push back our start times by half an hour[.] We know it’s not OK anymore.” After an “exhaustive study,” Toms River school administrators found that a change would require the district to buy more buses for its 165-vehicle fleet and hire additional staff to bus their 15,000 students. According to Superintendent David Healy: “We certainly didn’t dismiss concerns and questions[.] It’s just cost prohibitive. [¶] There was a lot to consider, and we did. We did a very thorough assessment into every possibility, and every single one of them w[as] cost prohibitive.” (Oglesby, NJ high schools start too early, and here’s why (Apr. 26, 2017) APP; Carino, Toms River mom leading push for school-time change (Dec. 3, 2014) Asbury Park Press; Oglesby, Parents seek later Toms River school start times (Dec. 1, 2014) Asbury Park Press.)

The Cinnaminson Township Public Schools District has considered switching the schedules of elementary and secondary school children “for many years,” according to Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi. The superintendent reports, “The problem is and always will be, until all schools that could possibly be in some form of competition, athletic or academic, agree to a change in hours, it will not work[.]” In addition, Illuzzi notes difficulties juggling transportation, including scheduling for private and parochial school students. High school classes begin at 7:35 a.m.; the middle school advisory period begins at 8:07 a.m., classes begin at 8:21 a.m.; intermediate school begins at 8:36 a.m.; elementary school at 9:06 a.m. (Giordano & Burney, A later start time for schools in N.J.? (Oct. 11, 2014) philly.com.)

Can't do list mintsocialSuperintendent Mark Silverstein reports Glassboro Public Schools has looked into later starts, but scrapped the idea because of busing issues. Child care and extracurriculars are also concerns. According to Silverstein, “There is no easy answer[.] I’d like to see it happen, but I don’t know how to solve those other issues….” The last posted schedule show a 7:50 a.m. high school start time and 7:28 a.m. intermediate school start time. Bowe School begins at 9 a.m., Rodgers School-Genesis (pre-K and K) at 8 a.m. No start time is posted for Bullock School. (Giordano & Burney, A later start time for schools in N.J.? (Oct. 11, 2014) philly.com.)

Rebecca Morton, communications coordinator for the Freehold Regional High School District, stated in September 2014, “While the research is clear on the benefits, delaying the start of the school day is not feasible at the moment due to conflicts in busing schedules and after-school activities.” The district’s high schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Freehold, Howell, Manalpan), or 8:25 a.m (Colts Neck, Freehold Township, Marlboro). (Grossman, Later school start time sought for teens (Sept. 18, 2014) GMNews.)

NEW MEXICO — In October 2014, Superintendent Sue Cleveland stated she has ruled out later secondary school start times as “not practical” in the Rio Rancho Public Schools District. The bell schedule reflects that classes at Rio Rancho High and Cleveland High begin at 7:20 a.m., middle school classes begin at 8:10 a.m., elementary school classes begin at 9 a.m., except at Colinas del Norte and Puesta del Sol, where classes begin at 7:30 a.m. Superintendent Cleveland recognizes the value of later start times, but line-of-morning-buses-via-rutheh-filesreports that one of the biggest hurdles is the district’s three-tier transportation system, which “drives the whole conversation.” The transportation department employs a three-tier system to transport a large percentage of the district’s 17,000-plus students to elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city. Cleveland stated, “That early start time causes so many problems[.] If you swapped it, elementary students would be (waiting for their buses) in the dark. Another concern is that the older children would not be home in time to care for their younger siblings. “The first two periods of the day are problematic[.] (Students) are tired and it’s hard to pay attention.” To attain later start times, the superintendent believes the district would have to spend more money on buses and less money in the classrooms. (Herron, Teens, sleep and school (Oct. 5, 2014) Alberquerque J.)

In March of 2010, Albuquerque Public Schools announced plans to adjust start times for high school students from 7:30 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. to comport with adolescent sleep patterns. Middle school start times vary from school to school and were to be set at 9:15 a.m. Elementary school start times, now set at 8:45 a.m. or 9:15 a.m., were to be advanced to 7:30 a.m. A decision on the plan has been “postponed because time and energy needs to go toward dealing with a $43 million budget shortfall.” The 2014-2014 bell schedule shows high schools continue to start at 7:30 a.m.; middle schools begin between 8:04 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. (except Washington, 8:49 a.m.); elementary school start times range between 7:43 a.m. and 9:07 a.m. (Albuquerque Public Schools, APS Postpones Decision on Changing School Start Times (Mar. 30, 2010) Press Release; APS Bell Schedules; APS Proposes New School Start Times (Mar. 8, 2010) KOAT Albuquerque.)

NEW YORK — The Bedford Central School District Board of Education decided against delaying start times until 9 a.m. or 9:15 a.m. for Fox Lane middle and high school students because the additional buses needed to make the change would cost about $1 million dollars or more. Presently, high school classes begin at 7:45 a.m. and middle school classes begin at 8:05 a.m. If other districts in the area were to make the change, it would be affordable for Bedford. One school board member stated, “it is ‘disappointing that this is where we get stuck in the conversation,’ noting that the start times issue deals with children’s well-being.” (Auchterlonie, Bedford BOE Decides Against Flipping School Start Times (Sept. 23, 2011) Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch.)

NORTH CAROLINA — The Brunswick County Schools Board of Education voted 3-2 to delay 2011-2012 start times for middle and high school students to 8:50 a.m. and 8:55 a.m., respectively, utilizing 30 fewer buses and saving $525,000 in annual transportation costs. Elementary schools advanced start times from 8 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. A district spokeswoman commented, “Adolescents are just physiologically wired to do better later in the mornings and elementary, younger children, are alert and ready to learn very early on in the day. So we feel like it is a cost savings but at the same time it is actually in the best interest of the way children learn.” On April 3, 2012, the board voted 3-2 to restore the single-bell schedule, advancing middle school start times from 8:50 a.m. to 8:10 a.m., and high school start times from 8:55 a.m. to 7:50 a.m., while delaying elementary school schedules from 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Parents opposed the 7:45 a.m. primary school start time as it compelled young children to wait for buses in the dark. Other parents argued the later release times (high school, 3:50 p.m.; middle school, 3:55 p.m.) cut into student-athletes’ school days. The $525,000 thought saved in transportation costs will now have to help pay health and unemployment benefits to former full-time bus drivers who will be laid off. New buses will also have to be purchased. Superintendent Edward Pruden, Ed.D., expressed his disappointment to the board. He said he felt the “silent majority” who had filled out surveys in favor of the staggered schedule had been ignored, as well as the studies that showed students responded better to the later start times. Pruden added that the best interest of the children had been overlooked. Pruden had recommended that the board leave the staggered schedule in place, noting that teachers and parents reported improved student behavior and performance. In April 2013, the board decided it could save transportation costs by returning to a staggered schedule, but will survey parents before determining which plan to implement: (a) delay high school start times to 8:45 a.m. and middle school start times to 8:50 a.m., advance elementary school start times to 7:20 a.m.; (b) retain the 7:50 a.m. high school start time, advance the middle school start time to 7:55 a.m., and delay the elementary school start time to 8:50 a.m. In May 2013, after 54% of parents responding to the survey favored starting secondary school students first, the board approved the following start times for 2013-2014: high schools, 7:45 a.m.; middle schools, 7:55 a.m. and 8 a.m.; and, 8:45 a.m. for the elementary schools. (Catlett, Brunswick Co. school leaders approve change in school start times (May 8, 2013) WWAY; Curran, Brunswick board of ed mails surveys seeking input on staggered start times (Apr. 16, 2013) Port City Daily; Curran, School start times set for next year (May 8, 2012) Brunsick Beacon; Gonzalez, Brunswick schools facing expensive policy change(Apr. 28, 2012) StarNewsOnline; Gonzalez, Flip-flop on school start times brings unexpected expenses (Apr. 23, 2012) StarNewsOnline; Gonzalez, Brunswick board votes to change back school day hours (Apr. 3, 2012) StarNewsOnline; White, Brunswick County Schools prepares for staggered schedules (Aug. 12, 2011) News14Carolina; Harden, Staggered schedules mean a more balanced budget for Brunswick Co. Schools (May 11, 2011) WWAYNewsChannel.) While experts report that the sleep cycles of primary school children comport with start times as early as 7:30 a.m. (Start School Later in the Morning, Say Sleepy Teens (May 21, 2007) Science Daily), as a practical matter, children awaiting buses in darkness may be placed in harm’s way. (Delisio, It’s About Time (and Sleep): Making the Case for Starting School Later (Jun. 3, 2003) Ed. World.) Brookings Institute economists observe that implementing start time changes at the regional level may eliminate some conflicts. (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., p. 10.) “[P]airing the growing body of medical research with the educational outcomes seems to be the logical path to argue for changing to later start times. [¶] Incorrect assumptions, the use of only partial facts, and hasty implementation are frequent reasons that cause the defeat or demise of a local decision to change the start time.” (Wahlstrom, School Start Times and Sleepy Teens (Jul. 2010) 164 Archives Pediatrics & Adolescent Med. 7, p. 677.) Political considerations may outweigh science and reason. (Wahlstrom, The Prickly Politics of School Starting Times (Jan. 1999) 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, pp. 344-347.)

OHIO — On May 26, 2015, Lakewood City Schools Assistant Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio fielded three questions from The Lakewood Observer concerning the district’s plans, if any, for later secondary school scheduling: (1) “Given all of the recent research regarding adolescent sleep cycles pointing to the fact that teenagers biologically need more sleep and shouldn’t start school any earlier than 9am, and that this change would likely produce an increase in test scores as it has been shown that teenagers perform better with a later starting time and more sleep, is the District considering changes to the start time of the school day?” (2) “Why or why not?” (3) “Is this decision made by the Administration, Board of Ed, or does it have to do with teachers’ contracts?” (According to the most recently posted bell schedule, the district high school begins morning classes at 8 a.m., the three middle schools begin at 8:30 a.m., and the eight elementary schools begin at 9 a.m.) Ramsey-Caserio distilled the inquiry into her own single question: “Will A Later Start Time For Adolescents Increase Student Achievement Scores?” The assistant superintendent then offers a meandering, citation-free, four paragraph array of excuses and misinformation to explain the district’s do nothing approach. She begins with this answer to her own question: “The jury is presently out on this question.” Actually, the jury has been in for awhile. (See, § III.A., supra.) Ramsey-Caserio moves on to the science. “There are those who believe that adolescent body clocks don’t allow students to be ready to sleep until 11pm, and as such, they should be permitted to begin school later.” Yes, those people would be physicians and scientists. And Brookings Institute economists. (Appen. C.) “There are others who still believe that the early bird gets the worm and that early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.” These are pleasant proverbs, but there is good evidence they do not apply to adolescents. (Am. Lung Assoc. of New England, School Daze: A Wake Up Call (Sept. 2008) Healthy Air Matters, p. 4.) Thereafter, apparently referring to herself and her fellow administrators as a “group,” the assistant superintendent opines that well-organized students are also well-rested students. “This group talks about students properly balancing their schedules to allow for sufficient rest.” (Ramsey-Caserio, Ask Roxann: Can Our Teenagers Get More Sleep? (May 26, 2015) Lakewood Observer.) Organization has nothing to do with managing a schedule in conflict with an immutable adolescent circadian rhythm. “You can’t train your system to get up at a practical time. It’s biological, just as your heartbeat, your liver function and a bunch of other things that all sync to natural biological time and that is not in your control. [¶] Anything you do to change the rhythmic systems of your body means your organs become desynchronised with each other and this is where people get ill and there is no fixing it by giving someone an alarm clock. [¶] Your body is not watching your wristwatch.” (Paton, School introduces ‘no mornings’ policy for tired teenagers (May 9, 2014) The Telegraph.)

On November 19, 2012, the Rootstown School District Start Time Committee recommended a one hour delay in the present 7:30 a.m. middle and high school start time in order to address sleep deprivation among adolescents. The Committee also recommended a one hour advance in the present 8:30 a.m. elementary school start time. Psychotherapist Stacy Simera had previously presented her research to area school administrators (Simera’s slideshow here), proposing precisely the wait signschedule recommended by the Committee. On February 11, 2013, the school board voted unanimously to end any discussion of later start times until: (a) the county or state issues recommendations for delayed school scheduling; or, (b) a simple majority of households support such the change. The board retained its authority to adjust start times to minimize transportation costs. Ms. Simera has launched an online petition seeking formation of later start time committees in Portage County and Northeast Ohio schools. Ohio has two StartSchoolLater Chapters: Statewide and Northeast. (Sever, Rootstown School Board Says ‘No’ To Change Of Class Start Times (Feb. 14, 2013) Record-Courier; Gallick, Committee Recommends Later School Start Times in Rootstown (Nov. 20, 2012) Record-Courier [subscription required]; Smith, Rootstown mom makes case for changing school start times (Jul. 22, 2012) recordpub.com.)

After completing an English paper concerning adolescent sleep patterns, in February 2012, Bowling Green High School senior Josh Flick presented his findings to the Bowling Green City Schools School Board, urging a delay in the school’s 7:50 a.m. start time. Board President and former school principal Eric Myers agreed that late starts would benefit teenagers. Myers noted two obstacles: starting later would interfere with current athletic practice schedules; elementary parents would object because their children would be starting school earlier and getting out earlier, causing day care complications. The 2014-2015 bell schedule reflects a 7:50 a.m. middle and high school start time. (Waddle, Senior student addresses school board about sleep schedules (Apr. 30, 2012) Journalism 4200 Public Affairs; Collier, Waking up is hard to do (Feb. 29, 2012) FoxToledo.com; Dupont, Teens losing sleep over school (Feb. 27, 2012) Sentinel-Tribune.)

OREGON — The Lake Oswego School District will be closing two schools. Associated changes include starting high schools later and elementary schools earlier. “The later start time could be better for high school students who naturally need more early morning sleep.” As of 2014-2015, the district’s two high schools were retaining their 7:35 a.m. start time. The two junior high schools begin at 7:55 a.m. (Randall, Next phase of school-closure plan begins (Oct. 19, 2011) Portland Tribune.)

PENNSYLVANIA — On August 12, 2015, West Chester Area School District Superintendent Jim Scanlon authored a blog post acknowledging the AAP and CDC school start time policy statements, but lamenting “[u]nfortunately, it’s not an easy fix.” The district’s three high schools begin morning classes at 7:30 a.m., middle schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (J. R. Fugett) and 8:05 a.m. (E. N. Peirce Middle, G. A. Stetson Middle), elementary schools begin at 8:40 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. The superintendent discusses logistical hurdles to later school scheduling and notes that to begin all of the district’s 16 schools at 9 a.m. would add $30 to $40 million in transportation expenses to the budget. Such a budget increase would require voters to approve a 19% tax increase.

In the fall of 2011, an ad hoc committee of the Derry Township School District School Board decided that the Hershey High 7:38 a.m. start time will not change to “accommodate adolescent sleep cycles.” The committee concluded the change would be too disruptive, cost more money and take too much time away from school for student-athletes and teacher-coaches. Dr. Michael Bruno, a Professor of Radiology and Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and parent of a Hershey High student, was among those encouraging district officials to consider a start time change. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows a 7:38 a.m. middle and high school start time, and 8:40 a.m. for the elementary and intermediate schools. (Shade, Derry Township School Board panel favors retaining Hershey High School’s start time (Sept. 25, 2011) pennlive.com.)

RHODE ISLAND — Barrington High School formed a committee to determine the feasibility of delaying morning classes from the present start time of 7:40 a.m. to at least 8 a.m., possibly 8:20 a.m. or 8:30 a.m., in order to benefit “student achievement.” Principal Joseph Hurley stated the data supporting the change is “indisputable,” but cautioned that implementing a new schedule LAUSD file photowould affect every student in the district. Transportation is perceived as the biggest hurdle. At a public forum held on January 26, 2012, the School Committee Chairman noted the committee had not made any decisions about changing start times. Seven possible start time plans are being considered. Featured speakers Richard Millman, Professor of Medicine at Brown University, and Lisa Bogan, a Connecticut League of Women Voters start time specialist, each gave presentations at the meeting. Professor Millman stated there are three age groups with varied sleep requirements and those from puberty until the mid 20’s require 9 to 10 hours of sleep to be fully rested. “High school kids get about 7 hours on average. When sleep deprived, performance goes down, moods are affected with more depression and substance abuse and driving can become dangerous.” Lack of sleep also leads to a weakened immune system. Professor Millman advised that the only way to improve on these symptoms is for students to get more sleep. The professor cautioned, “Changing start times is not a license to have kids go to bed later.” (Studies show kids generally heed this admonition.) Millman proposed a one hour start time delay. Ms. Bogan told the gathering, “You have to keep your eye on the prize. Remember the greater good when considering making changes to start times. This is about high school kids, not about you.” Consistent with literature noting teacher disapproval of later start times (Bronson & Merryman, Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children (Twelve Books 2009), p. 37; Eight Major Obstacles to Changing School Start Times (2011) Nat. Sleep Foundation), a survey of teachers reflects overwhelming disapproval of a start time change. Parents split with 40% in favor, 44% against, and 16% with no opinion. (Barrington Schools (Spring 2012) Survey Results Presentation; Barrington Schools (Spring 2012) Survey Data Summary.) Elizabeth Henderson has authored a (science-free) petition opposing the change. A school representative advises that Barrington Middle School begins morning classes at 7:50 a.m. (Morse, School start time decision delayed (May 10, 2012) EastBayRI.com; Rupp, School Start Time Survey Results (May 8, 2012) Barrington Patch; Warren, School Start Times Discussed, Debated In Barrington (Jan. 28, 2012) EastBayRI.com; Duffy, Sleep On It — Bhs Students Respond To A Possible Change In The School Start Time (Jan. 25, 2012) Barrington Time; Editorial, Academics Should Drive School Start Time Debate (Jan. 24, 2012) Barrington Times; The Barrington Public Schools Health and Wellness Committee, Changing School Start Times: A Good Idea for Barrington?; Rupp, Moving School Start Time Ramps Up (Dec. 1, 2011) Barrington Patch; Rupp, Moving School Start Time Gets Push (Oct. 21, 2011) Barrington Patch.)

SOUTH CAROLINA — In September of 2016, when asked by the media about the prospect of starting school later, District Five Schools of Spartanburg County Superintendent Scott Turner said he’s seen some of the studies promoting later start times, but said issues with parents’ schedules, bus routes and extracurricular activities would greatly complicate district and school activities. District 5 elementary schools begin at 7:40 a.m., intermediate schools at 7:50 a.m., middle schools at 7:45 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., and high schools at 8:10 a.m. “In a perfect world, I’d love to start later,” Turner said. “I know sleep is an important thing, but you’d only be shifting the times of your sleep pattern if you go to bed and get up later. If we have to start elementary school later, because of bus schedules, high schools have to start even later. It’s like a balloon, if you squeeze it on one end, it’s going to come out somewhere else.” (Fox, School start times at odds with teens’ biological sleep needs (Sept. 24, 2016) GoUpstate.com.)

Spartanburg School District 4 Superintendent Rallie Liston said during his career in education, pushing back school start times hasn’t come up often. He said learning to be up early because of an important responsibility is a good life lesson for students. “I had to drink a second cup of coffee myself. I think a lot of people have to be at work at 7 or 8 (a.m.) in the real world,” he said. Dr. Cora Breuner, chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Adolescence Committee, said that argument is flawed because teens have different sleep needs than adults. “It makes no sense,” she said. And, she added, “they’re not going to always go to the real world from high school.” Woodruff High School, Woodruff Primary School and Woodruff Elementary School begin morning classes at 8 a.m., Woodruff Middle School (grades 6-8) begins at 7:50 a.m. (Fox, School start times at odds with teens’ biological sleep needs (Sept. 24, 2016) GoUpstate.com.)

Spartanburg School District 7 Superintendent Russell Booker said that as the father of two busy teenagers himself, he knows the kinds of demands teens have on their time. “Our teens today are being pulled into so many directions,” he said. But while school start times aren’t likely to change, Liston said district officials will always work to serve students in the best ways possible. “I’m not against experimenting or trying different things. I know what a lot of those studies say,” he said. “That’s not to say there’s more than one way of doing it.” Morning classes at Spartanburg High School begin at 8 a.m. (the tardy bell for the “Early Bird Orchestra” sounds at 7:25 a.m.), the Daniel Morgan Technology Center begins at 8:10 a.m., the middle schools begin at 7:45 a.m. (Carver) and 7:55 a.m. (McCracken), the elementary schools begin at 7:50 a.m. (Chapman, Houston, E.P. Wright, Cleveland, Jesse Boyd, Academy of Leadership), 7:55 a.m. (Pine Street), 8 a.m. (Meeting Street Academy), and 8:05 a.m. (McCarthy/Teszler School). The E.P. Todd School (K-8) begins at 7:45 a.m. and the Early Learning Center at Park Hills begins at 8:30 a.m. (Fox, School start times at odds with teens’ biological sleep needs (Sept. 24, 2016) GoUpstate.com.)

In September 2013, Georgetown County School District School Board Chairman Jim Dumm asked the district to look into later start times for high school students. Dumm, who also serves as executive director of Tara Hall Home for Boys, stated information continues to demonstrate that teens have trouble getting to sleep early and getting up early to meet school schedules and still get the sleep they need. Superintendent Randy Dozier said the district could put together a study committee, but recalled that a superintendent in Greenville once proposed a similar change. “He’s no longer with them[.]” The 2013-2014 bell schedule reflects start times ranging from 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. for the district’s four high schools. Middle schools begin between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.; elementary schools begin at 7:40 a.m. or 7:45 a.m. In November 2013, the study committee tabled consideration of later start times due to lack of interest. According to Dumm, less than half of the people selected for the committee showed up to meetings. (Norris, Committee drops plan to delayed school start time in Georgetown County (Nov. 18, 2013) WBTW News 13; Harper, Plan to delay school start times dead – at least for now (Nov. 15, 2013) Georgetown Times; Swenson, Panel wants more data on impact of later starts (2013) Coastal Observer; Somers, Chairman ask district to look at starting high school classes later in day (Sept. 20, 2013) WFMB News; Swenson, School chairman asks district to look at later start for high schools (2013) Coastal Observer.)

TENNESSEE — When the interim superintendent of Shelby County Schools, Dorsey Hopson, proposed a $1.18 billion district budget to the Shelby County Commission, Shelby Commissioner Steve Mulroy urged reconsideration of the district’s 7 a.m. high school start time. Mulroy stated, “Unfortunately this system has it exactly backwards[.]” Mulroy advised this is a problem and lack of sleep causes older students to struggle in the classroom. “Studies show the academic performance is significantly enhanced by allowing teenagers an extra few hours of sleep. They should be the ones starting later in the morning not at the crack of dawn[.]” The school district says it uses staggered busing so that younger children aren’t waiting in the dark in the mornings, and so older children can be at home with their younger siblings in the afternoon. It also frees up teen’s afternoons for jobs and extracurricular activities. Mulroy notes, “For years we’ve been saying we’re going to remake the unified system, start from scratch and make a world-class system, and our sole focus is going to be on educational outcomes, the students, what will help them learn the best[.]” Mulroy says if they’re serious about that the district should flip the start times, but he doesn’t expect they will change it. The 2013-2014 bell schedule shows that Shelby County high schools begin at 7 a.m., middle schools at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., and elementary schools at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. (Hammond, Some Argue School Start Times Could Hurt Academic Success (May 27, 2013) WREG Memphis; Dries, Funding Conundrum (May 24, 2013) The Daily News.)

In October of 2011, it was reported that the Cleveland City Schools Board favored delaying its current 7:25 a.m. middle and high school start time to “the 8:30 a.m. range.” Board member Tom Cloud was on the committee when the 7:25 a.m. start time was adopted, but he has since seen his sixth grade niece waiting for the bus at 6:05 a.m. The Director of Schools, Martin Ringstaff, commented that was too early for children to be waiting for a bus. “Six a.m. is just crazy.” Board member Richard Shaw stated said research shows high school students get better results with more sleep. “I used to see kids sleeping in the halls. It doesn’t make any sense.” On December 5, 2011, the school board adopted the following start times for the 2012-2013 academic year: high school, 8 a.m.; middle school, 7:50 a.m.; elementary schools, 8:40 a.m. On June 4, 2012, however, the board voted again to advance the elementary and high school start times. (Higgins, Cleveland School start, stop times change slightly (Jun. 6, 2012) Chattanooga Times Free Press; Bowers, Fleet size hampers bus plan (Jun. 5, 2012) Clevelend Daily Banner; Higgins, Cleveland school day to start 30 minutes later in 2012 (Dec. 7, 2011) Chattanooga Times Free Press; Higgins, Cleveland, Tenn., schools to study start and stop times (Oct. 4, 2011) Chattanooga Times Free Press; Board Members Question Early Cleveland School Start Times (Oct. 3, 2011) Chattanoogan.com.)

WISCONSIN — Recognizing that studies have shown adolescents perform better in school if they have a later start time, the School District of Onalaska briefly evaluated flipping middle and high school start times with elementary school start times. For 2012-2013, the middle school begins at 7:30 a.m., the high school at 7:23 a.m., and the elementary schools at 8:25 a.m. By February 2013, however, the district had abandoned the plan due to after school daycare considerations for elementary school children, conflicts for high school athletes, and transportation considerations. Superintendent Fran Finco concluded, “It was a good, month long conversation.” For 2013-2014, high school start times will be delayed by 7 minutes to 7:30 a.m., middle school start times will advance by 5 minutes to 7:25 a.m. (No later start time for Onalaska middle & high school (Feb. 19, 2013) News8000.com; Sequist, Later Onalaska school start won’t work (Feb. 13, 2013) Onalaska-Holmen, Courier-Life; Nolte, Onalaska school district considers new school start times (Jan. 22, 2013) WXOW19.)

On April 10, 2012, the School District of Superior Board of Education voted to postpone a decision on whether to change the start and dismissal times of its eight schools. The new schedule would “streamline” bus routes, saving $170,000 in transportation costs. The proposal: delay Superior Middle School start time 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m.; delay Superior High School start time 25 minutes to 8:35 a.m. Four Corners elementary school would delay its schedule by 30 minutes to 9:15 a.m. All other elementary schools would advance start times by 30 minutes to 8:15 a.m. The proposed new start and dismissal times for Four Corners was a “major concern for parents and teachers[.]” Teachers and parents expressed concern over child safety, increased childcare costs, excessively lengthening the school day for elementary school children with some compelled to await 6:30 a.m. buses. On May 7, 2102, the board scrapped the plan to change bell times after learning of windfall healthcare savings. (Kram, Board scraps start time switch (May 9, 2012) Superior Telegram; Kram, Board delays decision on start times (Apr. 11, 2012) Superior Telegram.)

After receiving the results of a parent survey, Wauwatosa School District Superintendent Phillip Ertl’s proposal to advance middle and high school start times in order to address a traffic congestion problem was scrapped in favor of a plan to leave high school start times at 8 a.m. while delaying middle school start times by 5 minutes to 8:10 a.m. Elementary schools will begin at 8:20 a.m. (Romano, Proposal maintains high school start time (Apr. 24, 2012) Wauwatosa Now; Erves, Tosa school district to consider later start times for some schools (Apr. 23, 2012) Fox6Now.com; Price, School District Proposes Earlier Start Times to Address Traffic Safety Concerns (Apr. 5, 2012) Wauwatosa Patch; see also, Romano, Wauwatosa high schools could start 20 minutes earlier (Apr. 11, 2012) Wauwatosa Now.)

Before being scrapped, a plan to add 16 minutes of instructional time to the 2012-2013 school day in the Sun Prarie Area School District would have delayed the start time of Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School from 7:55 a.m. to 7:58 a.m., and Sun Prairie High School from 8 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. The district’s middle schools begin at 7:40 a.m., the elementary schools at 8:20 a.m. (Wittrock, Concerns raised about school start time changes (Apr. 5, 2012) STARONLINE.com [start times for two middle schools would be advanced].)

road-to-nowhere-sign envisionmedia

WYOMING — In August 2015, it was reported that Campbell County Schools officials were considering delaying junior and high school start times while advancing elementary school start times for the fall of 2016. The district’s high schools begin at 7:40 a.m. (Campbell High), 7:45 a.m. (Westwood High School), and 8:04 a.m. (Wright Junior Senior High School). Junior high schools begin at 7:45 a.m. (Sage Valley, Twin Spruce) and 8:04 a.m. (Wright). District elementary schools begin as early as 7:40 a.m. and as late as 8:40 a.m. On November 3, 2015, more than 200 people attended a pair of school board meetings scheduled to address the topic. (See, district flyer.) “There was loud opposition” to the plan to change school schedules. The audience clapped for speakers opposing the proposed changes. No one spoke in favor of changing start times. On November 10, 2015, the board “seemed to come to a consensus” to defer the issue until 2017. (Brown, Trustees agree to drop idea of school start time changes for now (Nov. 11, 2015) Gillette News Record; Brown, The times, they may (not) be a-changin’ (Nov. 3, 2105) Gillette News Record; Brown, Trustees mull new start times for schools (Oct. 15, 2015) Gillette News Record;Brown, Public to weigh in on new school start times (Aug. 26, 2015) Gillette News Record; Brown, Trustees talk later start times (Mar. 15, 2015) Gillette News Record.)

Sample Advocacy Letter (Academic Achievement)

December 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

This sample letter focuses particularly on recent studies by economists assessing typewriterthe effects of start times on student achievement before addressing the health benefits associated with later start times (here in docx). Alternate sample letters are available here (outline format) and here (comprehensive overview). 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.

Your Name
Street Address
City, State/Zip
Phone, fax, and/or email

Today’s date

Addressee
Street Address
City, State/Zip

Dear Superintendent Last Name and Members of the School Board,

On behalf of my children who are students in this district, and in support of the well-being of all students, I write now to urge the adoption of healthy start times at Middle and/or High School. These two well-established facts serve as the bases for my request: (i) overwhelming evidence supports the conclusion that later starting students outperform their earlier starting peers academically; and, (ii) safeguarding the welfare and potential of adolescent students requires a delay in morning classes until 8:30 a.m., or later.

As to the first point, economists have recently established a causal relationship between later start times and improved academic performance among adolescent students. Notably, however, even before economists weighed in, Kyla Wahlstrom, Director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), reported that in schools which have delayed start times, the academic trend following the change goes exclusively towards higher grades. “[T]rend lines show grades rise when schools open later. We never see trend lines suggesting grades go down.” (Lamberg, High Schools Find Later Start Time Helps Students’ Health and Performance (2009) 301 J. Am. Med. Assn. 21, p. 2200.)

Bearing 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, Kruszelnicki, Teenage Sleep (May 3, 2007) ABC Science), University of California and United States Air Force Academy economists studied course results from 2004 to 2008 for 6,165 first semester Air Force Academy cadets, controlling for potentially confounding factors — grading structure, class selection and teachers — for example, to determine the “causal effect” of school scheduling upon adolescent academic achievement. (CarrellMaghakian, & 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.)

Air Force Academy students have no choice over their course schedules and, during the years studied, were assigned start times ranging from 7:00 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Unlike most high schools, all first-year students take the same classes and the same standardized course exams, providing a consistent objective outcome measure.

“We find 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. [¶] Our findings have important implications for education policy; administrators aiming to improve student achievement should consider the potential benefits of delaying school start time. 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.” (Id., pp. 63, 80, italics added.)

“Despite our use of university-level data, we believe our findings are applicable to the high school student population more generally because we consider only freshmen students in their first semester at USAFA. Like high school seniors, first semester college freshman are still adolescents and have the same biological sleep patterns and preferences as those in their earlier teens. However, we recognize that USAFA students are not the average teen; they were high-achievers in high school and chose to attend military service academy. Although we do not know for certain if school start times affect high-achievers or military-types differently than teenagers in the general population, we have no reason to believe that the students in our sample would be more adversely affected by early start times. Because the students in our study self-selected into a regimented lifestyle, if anything, we believe our estimates may be a lower-bound of the effect for the average adolescent.” (Id., p. 63, italics in original.)

The economists found that a 50 minute delay in the first class increased grades by 0.15 standard deviations. (Id., pp. 62-81; see, Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., p. 8) Writing for the Brookings Institute, economists from Columbia University and the University of Michigan agree the Air Force Academy study may have “broader implications. [¶] College freshmen are just slightly older than high school students and share many of the biological characteristics associated with their sleep cycles. While Air Force cadets are clearly a special group, we cannot think of a good rationale why such high-achieving and highly disciplined young men and women would be more adversely affected by early start times than are typical teenagers.” (Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., p. 8.)

In a 2012 study, Baylor University Economist Finley Edwards, visiting Professor of Economics at Colby College, compiled test data covering a 7-year period for middle school students in Wake County, North Carolina, now the 16th largest school district in the country. Edwards‘ study analyzes data for students beginning classes according to their bus scheduling; i.e., Tier I classes (7:30-7:45), and Tier II classes (8:00-8:45).  (Tier III classes (9:15 a.m.) are reserved for elementary school students.) Edwards examined standardized test data from the 14 middle schools changing start times by 30 minutes or more during the study period (2000-2006), and compared test scores for respective grade levels. Edwards also examined individual achievement before and after the change. (EdwardsEarly to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983.)

The data showed that starting school one hour later (i.e., at 8:30 a.m.) led to average gains of 1.5 to 3 percentile points in standardized math test scores (0.06 to 0.09 standard deviations) and standardized reading test scores (0.03 to 0.10 standard deviations). With most middle schools beginning at 8:15 a.m., the gains in Edwards‘ data derive largely from the changes from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Disadvantaged students benefited the most, with effects roughly twice as large as advantaged students. In addition, the benefits of later start times increased as the children progressed through adolescence. (Ibid.) Moreover, tests administered to high school sophomores showed “[t]he benefits of a later start time in middle school appear to persist through at least the 10th grade.” (EdwardsDo Schools Begin Too Early? (Summer 2012) 12 Education Next 3.) By contrast, “the negative impact of early start times persists over time.” (EdwardsEarly to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance, supra, 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, p. 981.)

Edwards also found later start times associated with decreased absences, less time spent watching television and a greater amount of time spent on homework, indicating that these factors may help explain why later starting students have higher test scores. (EdwardsEarly to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance, supra, 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, p. 971.) Edwards concludes that “an increase in start times by 1 h would lead to a 3 percentile point gain in both math and reading test scores for the average student.” (Id., p. 982.) Auburn University Professor of Psychology Joseph Buckhalt cites Edwards‘ study as “direct evidence” of the “measurable significant effect” of later start times on adolescent academic achievement. (Buckhalt, Can Later Start Times Affect School Achievement? (Sept. 30, 2012) Psychology Today.)

Relying upon the foregoing studies, the biological evidence, a recent study by Cortes, et al., and data reflecting the prevalence of sleep deprivation among adolescents attending early starting schools, Brookings Institute economists “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, supra, Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7 [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].)

By contrast:

“Early school start times reduce performance among disadvantaged students by an amount equivalent to having a highly ineffective teacher. [¶] 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, supra, Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 5, 7.)

Considering the second point, student welfare and potential, joining her Harvard colleagues 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.) “Because of a multitude of intrinsic and environmental factors, adolescents are particularly vulnerable to disturbed sleep, and are one of the most sleep deprived age groups in the country.” (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. 124.) “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.) “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” (Bronson, Snooze or Lose (Oct. 7, 2007) N.Y. Magazine., web p. 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.) Citing the “deleterious impact of school times on our teenagers,” Janet Croft, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at the CDC, advises, “It can change lives to change school start times.” (Park, Falling Asleep in Class? Blame Biology (Dec. 15, 2008) CNN.) Adolescents require 9 or more hours of sleep per night (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. 79-80), but their “rather fixed” sleep pattern is biologically delayed, running from about 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. (Later Start Times for High School Students (2002) Univ. Minn.) Professor emeritus of Sociology at Stanford University, Sanford Dornbusch, admonishes, “Adults, unaware of the sleep needs of adolescents, require them to start school earlier in the day than is required of younger children.” (Dornbusch, Sleep and Adolescence: A Social Psychologist’s Perspective, publish. in, Adolescent Sleep Patterns, Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences (Carskadon, edit., Cambridge Univ. Press 2002) p. 3.)

Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at Brown University School of Medicine, and Director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at Bradley Hospital observed recently:

“School administrators would serve students and teachers better by moving the opening bell later. The weight of the evidence from decades of studies suggests that creating conditions to encourage student sleep would improve the students’ mood, energy, alertness, and academic performance. [¶] Schools are not solely responsible for the perfect storm of teen sleep, but they can make a huge difference by moving to a later start time. The result would be happier, healthier, more attentive, and better performing students in high school.” (Carskadon, For better student health, start school later (Sept. 5, 2012) Brown Univ., italics added; see also, Backgrounder: Later School Start Times (2011) Nat. Sleep Foundation.)

Among adolescents, “daily feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue are the most consistent psychological outcomes of obtaining less sleep at night.” (Fuligini & Hardway, Daily Variation in Adolescents’ Sleep, Activities, and Psychological Well-Being (2005) 16 J. Research on Adolescence 3, p. 371.) Adequate sleep is necessary for young people to regulate their emotions. (Dahl, The Consequences of Insufficient Sleep for Adolescents: Links Between Sleep and Emotional Regulation (Jan. 1999) 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, pp. 354-359; see also, Sleep Experts Concerned About St. Paul Start Time Change (Jun. 3, 2011) CBS.) In 2009, following a change in start time from 8 a.m. 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 (Jul. 2010) 164 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Med. 7, p. 613), confirming outcomes from the Minnesota longitudinal studies (high school start times delayed from 7:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Edina, from 7:15 a.m. to 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 reported 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 Med. 7, p. 613.)

Serious consideration of suicide is among the many health-risk behaviors associated with restricted school night sleep in a 2011 CDC study. (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, pp. 1-3; see also, O’Brien & Mindell, Sleep and Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents (2005) 3 Behavioral Sleep Med. 3, pp. 113-133; 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.) Lead author of the CDC study, Lela McKnight–Eily, Ph.D., commented, “Many adolescents are not getting the recommended hours of sleep they need on school nights. Insufficient sleep is associated with participation in a number of health–risk behaviors including substance use, physical fighting, and serious consideration of suicide attempt. Public health intervention is greatly needed, and the consideration of delayed school start times may hold promise as one effective step in a comprehensive approach to address this problem.” (Insufficient sleep among high school students associated with a variety of health-risk behaviors (Sept. 26, 2011) CDC Online Newsroom; see also, Clinkinbeard, Simi, Evans, & Anderson, Sleep and Delinquency: Does the Amount of Sleep Matter? (Jul. 2011) J. Youth & Adolescence, pp. 1-3 [associating diminished sleep with increased likelihood of juvenile criminal conduct].)

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 assessing the evidence, lead researcher Robert Vorona, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, offered an advisement to school administrators. “We believe that high schools should take a close look at having later start times to align with circadian rhythms in teens and to allow for longer sleep times. Too many teens in this country obtain insufficient sleep. A burgeoning literature suggests that this may lead to problematic consequences including mood disorders, academic difficulties and behavioral issues.” (Teen Automobile Crash Rates are Higher When School Starts Earlier (May 12, 2010) Am. Academy Sleep Med.)

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.) Lead researcher Robert Vorona, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, directed his remarks to school scheduling. “We believe that high schools should take a close look at having later start times to align with circadian rhythms in teens and to allow for longer sleep times. Too many teens in this country obtain insufficient sleep. A burgeoning literature suggests that this may lead to problematic consequences including mood disorders, academic difficulties and behavioral issues.” (Teen Automobile Crash Rates are Higher When School Starts Earlier (May 12, 2010) Am. Academy Sleep Med.)

In reviewing a 2008 Kentucky start time/crash rate study reaching a similar outcome (Danner & Phillips, Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times, and Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes (Dec. 2008) 4 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 6, pp. 533–535), John Cline, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, concluded, “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.) Recognizing that sleep is “essential for basic survival, occurring in every species of living creature that has ever been studied[]” (Dahl, The Consequences of Insufficient Sleep for Adolescents: Links Between Sleep and Emotional Regulation, supra, 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, p. 355), later start time advocate Mandi Mader, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., puts the problem in perspective. ”Sleep deprivation, with such health consequences as depression, suicide, car crashes, and increased risk of other injuries, should be treated like hunger [deprivation]. We don’t expect children to learn without food and we shouldn’t expect them to learn without sleep.” (EOA Staff, Advocates Join Forces To Push For Common Sense School Start Times (Nov. 23, 2012) Eye On Annapolis.)

Please follow the evidence when determining the time of day school begins.

Yours truly,

Your Name/Title/Affiliation

Iowa Farm Bureau -- school bus country road

Sample Advocacy Letter (outline format)

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.edward-koren-writer-wears-a-shakespeare-sweatshirt-as-he-works-over-a-typewriter-new-yorker-cartoon 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.

Your Name
Street Address
City, State/Zip
Phone, fax, and/or email

Today’s date

Addressee
Street Address
City, State/Zip

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’MalleySchool 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, & WagnerSleep 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. (CarrellMaghakian, & 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.” (CarrellMaghakian, & 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.” (ClineDo 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 & MindellSleep 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.

Yours truly,

Your Name/Title/Affiliation

early a.m. bus -- jimmy smith

Sample Advocacy Letter (Overview)

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, antique-typewriterparents, 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.

Your Name
Street Address
City, State/Zip
Phone, fax, and/or email

Today’s date

Addressee
Street Address
City, State/Zip

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. (EdwardsDo 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; CarrellMaghakian, & 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.” (CochFischer, & 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.” (CarrellMaghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescentssupra, 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 & RockoffOrganizing 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 & MindellSleep 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. (CarrellMaghakian, & West, A’s from Zzzz’s? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Performance of Adolescentssupra, 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.

Yours truly,

Your Name/Title/Affiliation

early-school-commute -- chris waits -- flickr

Notable Quotes

June 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

“Results of the current study could impact adolescent students. This study supports a relationship between adolescent sleep and increased attendance and graduation rates. Understanding the relationship between adequate amounts of sleep and daytime functioning is important. The present study provides evidence that with a delay in start times, students reap the benefit of a school schedule that is in synchronization with their internal biological clock.”—Pamela Malaspina McKeever, Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Policy, and Instructional Technology, Central Connecticut State University, Linda Clark, Ph.D. (McKeever & Clark, in press, Delayed high school start times later than 8:30am and impact on graduation rates and attendance rates (Feb. 1, 2017) Sleep Health, p. 6.)

“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.”—Paul Kelley, Ph.D., Honorary Research Associate, Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford, Steven Lockley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S., C.B.E., Professor of Circadian Neurosciences, Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford, Jonathan Kelley, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada, Reno. (Kelley, Lockley, Foster, & Kelley, Synchronizing education to adolescent biology: ‘let teens sleep, start school later’ (Aug. 1, 2014) Learning, Media and Technology, p. 11.)

exeter school classroom -- foucaultblog“We find 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. [¶] Our findings have important implications for education policy; administrators aiming to improve student achievement should consider the potential benefits of delaying school start time. 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.”—Scott Carrell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of California at Davis, Teny Maghakian, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University, James West, Ph.D., W.H. Smith Professor of Economics, Baylor University. (CarrellMaghakian, & 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. 63, 80.)

“A small change [in school start time] could result in big economic benefits over a short period of time for the U.S. In fact, the level of benefit and period of time it would take to recoup the costs from the policy change is unprecedented in economic terms.”—Marco Hefner, M.Sc. in economics, University of Zurich; M.Phil. Programme in economics, University College of London. (Press Release, Shifting School Start Times Could Contribute $83 Billion to U.S. Economy Within a Decade (Aug. 30, 2017) Rand Corp.)

“Obtaining adequate sleep is important for achieving optimal health. Among adolescents, insufficient sleep has been associated with adverse risk behaviors, poor health outcomes, and poor academic performance. In view of these negative outcomes, the high prevalence of insufficient sleep among high school students is of substantial public health concern. Healthy People 2020 includes a sleep objective for adolescents: to ‘increase the proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 who get sufficient sleep (defined as 8 or more hours of sleep on an average school night).’ However, the proportion of students who get enough sleep has remained approximately 31% since 2007, the first year that the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey included a question about sleep, meaning that more than two thirds of high school students do not get enough sleep. Multiple contributors to insufficient sleep in this population might exist. In puberty, biological rhythms commonly shift so that adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning. These biological changes are often combined with poor sleep hygiene (including irregular bedtimes and the presence of televisions, computers, or mobile phones in the bedroom). During the school week, the chief determinant of wake times is school start time. The combination of delayed bedtimes and early school start times results in inadequate sleep for a large portion of the adolescent population.”—Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D., Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 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, p. 811, citations omitted.)

Strongman lifting barbell inside of mans brain“Sleep is the most effective cognitive enhancer we have.”—Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S., C.B.E., Professor of Circadian Neurosciences, Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford. (Harvey, Teensleep (2015) Univ. of Oxford, Nuffield Dept. Clin. Neurosciences.)

“Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body[.]”—Matthew Walker, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Director, Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory. (Green, Sleep is the New Status Symbol (Apr. 8, 2017) N.Y. Times.)

“A one-hour delay in a school’s start time has the same effect as being in a class with one-third fewer students or replacing an average teacher with one in the 84th percentile of effectiveness. [¶] Delaying start times by one hour for students in secondary school would increase overall student achievement by roughly 0.10 standard deviation, on average. As in previous studies, this gain can be quantified as a dollar value in order to compare the benefits of this policy change with its potential costs. A one standard deviation rise in test scores is estimated to increase future earnings by 8%. Assuming a 1% growth rate for real wages and productivity and a 4% discount rate, this translates to an approximately $10,000 increase in future earnings per student, on average, in present value terms. The benefit is even larger for students at the bottom of the grade distribution.”—Teny Maghakian, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University. (Maghakian, The educational effects of school start times (Aug. 2015) 181 IZA World of Labor, pp. 5-6, citation omitted.)

“The Central Virginia jurisdiction with earlier school start times manifested a nearly 30% greater teen crash rate, supporting our Southeast Virginia findings — increased teen crash rate in the city with earlier start times. While a causal relationship between school start times and teen crash rates cannot be ascertained police-tapefrom aggregate data, replication of prior data and marked differences presently found suggest earlier high school start times may increase crashes in this vulnerable population.”—David Leszczyszyn, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Medical Director, Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Sleep, Robert Vorona, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Mariana Szklo-Coxe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Community and Environmental Health, Old Dominion University, Rajan Lamichhane, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Old Dominion University, A. McNallen, Neurology, Virginia Commonwealth University. (Leszczyszyn, Vorona, Szklo-Coxe, Lamichhane, McNallen, The Virginia Jurisdiction with an Earlier Public High School Start Time Again Demonstrates Greater Teen Crashes (2013) 36 J. Sleep, Abstract Supp., No. 1083, pp. A370-A371 [pre-publication abstract of study comparing teen crash rates in Chesterfield County (7:20 a.m. start time) and Henrico County (8:45 a.m. start time) using the Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney test and summary crash rates using the Z-statistic]; 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. 2, pp. 145-151.)

Sheriff's badge“The subject of early school start times and the effects on truancy, disciplinary problems, and academic success has been a topic of countless studies. We are familiar with the large body of evidence that correlates chronic sleep deprivation with substance abuse, aggression, impulsivity, and anti-social behavior leading to increased criminal activity. Sleep deprivation resulting in increased auto accidents is undeniable. [¶] There are myriad studies linking adolescent sleep deprivation with early school start times and proponents point to many of these findings to support a change that would allow high school students to have a later start to their day. We believe it is certainly an issue worthy of examination to determine what is in the overall best interest of our youth. It just makes sense to give serious consideration to any feasible proposals that focus on determining the best course of action for mitigating the potential for teenage behavioral problems to the extent possible. [¶] We are confident in our community’s ability to act in the best interest of our adolescent students and our agency stands ready to provide whatever statistical information we have available which may be helpful in the decision-making process.”—Larry Ashley, Sheriff, Okaloosa County, Fla. (Ashley, Early School Start Times (Aug. 21, 2013) Letter to Florida’s Community Leaders and Legislators.)

Accountability magnifying glass -- tvinemedia“Education start times are the responsibility of education bodies and institutions, and thus it could be argued they have full responsibility for any foreseeable negative impact of early start times. Education bodies and institutions have an affirmative duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to their students, in part because of the compulsory nature of education. This duty of care may include warning of known risks or dangers and providing a safe environment (this may be taken to include the temporal environment). These considerations, taken as a whole, suggest that consideration of legal risks involved in keeping early start times may be advisable.”—Paul Kelley, Ph.D., Honorary Research Associate, Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford, Clark J. Lee, J.D., M.P.H., C.P.H., Senior Law and Policy Analyst, Center for Health and Homeland Security, University of Maryland. (Kelley & Lee, Later School Start Times in Adolescence: Time for Change (May 2014) Ed. Commission of the States, p. 4.)

“In summary, the cumulative evidence from our systematic review indicates that delayed school start time interventions increase total sleep time, therefore presenting a potential long-term solution to chronic sleep restriction during adolescence. This study also verifies the wealth of non-experimental research suggesting the importance of delayed school start times, particularly during adolescence, to improve cognitive performance, academic functioning, mood and health, all faculties that affect students, as well as their peers, teachers, and families.”—Karl Minges, M.P.H., Yale School of Nursing, Nancy Redeker, Ph.D., R.N., Beatrice Renfield Term Professor of Nursing, Yale School of Nursing. (Minges & Redeker, Delayed school start times and adolescent sleep: A systematic review of the experimental evidence (2016) 28 Sleep Med. Rev., p. 90.)

“Given the danger posed to young people from car accidents this is a strong reason in itself to change school start times.”—John Cline, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School Traffic lights -- a bit complexof Medicine, after 2008 study by Danner & Phillips found one hour delay in high school start times (7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.) in Fayette County, Kentucky associated with 16.5% drop in teen crash rates as compared to 7.8% rise in the state. (Cline, Do Later School Start Times Really Help High School Students? (Feb. 27, 2011) Psychology Today.)

“Most of us in sleep medicine now believe that teenagers require nine-plus hours of sleep each night, and the consequences of insufficient sleep include excessive daytime sleepiness, mood disorders, and even potential suicidal ideation[.] [¶] Many of us think that early high school start times could be problematic and may be a major determinant of these high rates of accidents and fatalities, and that later start times would be more in tune with teenagers’ circadian rhythm[.]”—Robert Vorona, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School. (APSS: Later School Start Times May Cut Teen Car Crashes (Jun. 11, 2010) Medpage Today.)

“Common sense to improve student achievement that too few have implemented: let teens sleep more, start school later[.]”—Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, via Twitter, @arneduncan (Aug. 19, 2013, screen capture here), commenting on August 18, 2013, Washington Post editorial, A smarter way to start high schoolers’ days.

school bell“School administrators would serve students and teachers better by moving the opening bell later. The weight of the evidence from decades of studies suggests that creating conditions to encourage student sleep would improve the students’ mood, energy, alertness, and academic performance. [¶] Schools are not solely responsible for the perfect storm of teen sleep, but they can make a huge difference by moving to a later start time. The result would be happier, healthier, more attentive, and better performing students in high school.”—Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University School of Medicine, Director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at Bradley Hospital. (Carskadon, For better student health, start school later (Sept. 5, 2012) Brown Univ.)

“This change to the circadian rhythm is in contrast to the extrinsic demands of an early school start time, resulting in an overall decrease in total sleep duration. In essence, adolescents must be awake and learning at a time of day when their bodies should be sleeping.”—Melisa Moore, Ph.D., Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, The Sleep Center, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health. (Moore & Meltzer, The sleepy adolescent: causes and consequences of sleepiness in teens (2008) 9 Paediatric Respiratory Rev., p. 116.)

“Thus, early school start time—the main predictor of an earlier wake time among adolescents on school days—conflicts with adolescent circadian biology. [O]ur findings confirm that on school days, adolescents are obtaining less sleep then they are considered to need, and school start time is the factor with the greatest impact. 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.”—Kristen Knutson, Ph.D., M.A., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary/Critical Care, University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, Diane Lauderdale, Ph.D., M.A., M.A., Professor of Epidemiology, University of Chicago. (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. 430.)

lip-balm“Sleep, especially deep sleep, is like a balm for the brain[.]”—Shashank V. Joshi, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (child and adolescent psychiatry and child development) and, by courtesy of Pediatrics at the Stanford University Medical Center and, of Education. (Richter, Among teens, sleep deprivation an epidemic (Oct. 8, 2015) Stanford Medicine News Center.)

“Getting adequate dream (rapid eye movement [REM]) sleep is essential to perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processing. Selective REM sleep deprivation has been demonstrated to cause symptoms of irritability and moodiness, as well as problems with memory. The issue of under-sleeping in adolescents takes on added significance when one considers that waking up too early costs the sleeper mostly REM sleep which predominates during the last two to three hours of a night’s sleep. [¶¶] [E]arly school start times clearly contribute to sleep-deprivation in growing teens, making them even more vulnerable to all the challenges of adolescence, and increases the likelihood of accidents, psychological problems, and impaired learning in school.”—Edward O’Malley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Director, Norwalk Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, Mary O’Malley, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, New York University, Fellowship Director, Norwalk Hospital Sleep Disorders Center. (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. 81, 88, citations omitted.)

dreamcatcher“When teens wake up earlier, it cuts off their dreams[.] We’re not giving them a chance to dream.”—Rafael Pelayo, M.D., Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences – Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. (From A’s to Zzzz’s (Fall 2015) Stanford Medicine News Center.)

“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.”—Rafael Pelayo, M.D. (Staff Rep., Back to school, and sleeping in (Aug. 12, 2010) The Examiner.)

“Start times really do matter. We can see clear increases of academic performance from just starting school later.”—Finley Edwards, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics, Baylor University. (Resmovits, Should A School Change Start Time For Sleep? Later School Start Times Improve Student Performance: Study (May 3, 2012) Huffington Post.)

“With approximately 100,000 students per year divided into three tiers, it would cost roughly $150 per student each year to move each student in the two earliest start-time tiers to the latest start time. In comparison, an experimental study of class sizes in Tennessee finds BurroughsClass3that reducing class size by one-third increases test scores by 4 percentile points in the first year at a cost of $2,151 per student per year (in 1996 dollars). These calculations, while very rough, suggest that delaying the beginning of the school day may produce a comparable improvement in test scores at a fraction of the cost.”—Finley Edwards, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics, Baylor University. (Edwards, Do Schools Begin Too Early? (Summer 2012) 12 Education Next 3.)

“Early school start times reduce performance among disadvantaged students by an amount equivalent to having a highly ineffective teacher. [¶] 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.”—Brian A. Jacob, Ph.D., Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, Jonah E. Rockoff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Finance and Economics, Columbia University. (Jacob & RockoffOrganizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments (Sept. 2011) Hamilton Project, Brookings Inst., pp. 5, 7.)

“Many adolescents are not getting the recommended hours of sleep they need on school nights. Insufficient sleep is associated with participation in a number of health–risk behaviors including substance use, physical fighting, and serious consideration of suicide attempt. Public health intervention is greatly needed, and the consideration of delayed school start times may hold promise as one effective step in a comprehensive approach to address this problem.”—Lela McKnight–Eily, Ph.D., National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC), Division of Adult and Community Health. (Insufficient sleep among high school students associated with a variety of health-risk behaviors (Sept. 26, 2011) CDC Online Newsroom.)

crosswalk -- look left“Changes in the circadian rhythms of adolescents cause many teens to fall asleep later, and early school start times prevent them from achieving adequate amounts of sleep. Previous work suggests that inadequate sleep leads to decreased academic performance, and later school start times are associated with longer sleep duration in adolescents. Our findings offer initial data of another benefit that might arise from later school start times: reduced pedestrian injury risk among adolescents walking to and from school.”—Aaron Davis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Kristin T. Avis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, & David C. Schwebel, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham. (Davis, Avis, & Schwebel, in press, The Effects of Acute Sleep Restriction on Adolescents’ Pedestrian Safety in a Virtual Environment (2013) J. Adolescent Health, p. 5, citations omitted.)

“Sending kids to school at 7 a.m. is the equivalent of sending an adult to work at 4 in the morning[.] It’s almost abusive to them.”—William Dement, M.D., Sc.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Division Chief, Stanford University Division of Sleep. (Diconsiglio, let me sleep! (Feb. 11, 2002) 134 N.Y. Times Upfront 9, p. 17.)

“Their biological rhythms are set in such a way that they really can’t wake up earlier. It’s like telling a person they have to jump eight feet. They just can’t.”—William Dement, M.D., Sc.D., Ph.D. (Fernandez, Politician Hopes to Reawaken Sleep Legislation (Mar. 25, 1999) SFGate.com.)

“During adolescence sleep becomes shallower and shifts to later hours, reflecting extensive brain rewiring. The frontal lobe – responsible for executive functions such as planning and inhibiting inappropriate behaviour – shows a marked fall in synapse density as the result of neuronal pruning. Teenagers are not just being lazy when they don’t want to get out of bed. Their adolescent biology may also prefer an adjustment of school hours. [¶] There is good evidence that young people don’t get enough sleep. When they live on an 8-hour sleep schedule they remain sleepy, and much more so than older people on the same schedule (Sleep, vol 33, p 211).”—Derk-Jan Dijk, Ph.D., M.Sc., Professor of Sleep and Physiology, University of Surrey, Director, Surrey Sleep Research Centre, Raphaelle Winsky-Sommerer, Ph.D., M.Sc., Lecturer in Sleep and Circadian Rhythms, University of Surrey. (Dijk & Winsky-Sommerer, Sleep: How much we need and what keeps us awake (Feb. 9, 2012) New Scientist [registration required to access article].)

“Behavioral approaches to intervene by altering the psychosocial milieu or the youngster’s perception of it–perhaps, by encouraging ‘early to bed, early to rise’–may be difficult in the presence of a biologically driven phase preference. Furthermore, the widespread practice in U.S. school districts for school buses to run and for the opening bell to ring earlier at high schools than at junior high schools, and earlier in junior high schools than primary schools,school bus heads down methodist drive toward havelock on a foggy morning may run precisely counter to children’s biological needs. By the same token, teenagers faced with long school bus rides in addition to early starting time for school may confront incremental challenges in conflict with the biological propensities.”—Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University School of Medicine, Director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at Bradley Hospital, Cecilia Vieira, M.Sc., Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, Boston, Mass., Christine Acebo, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research), Brown University. (Carskadon, Vieira, & Acebo, Association between puberty and delayed phase preference (1993) 16 Sleep 3, p. 261.)

“[O]ur inability to change start times is … illustrative of a larger pattern of neglecting the wellbeing and potential of our young people.”—Erika Christakis, M.P.H, M.Ed., Yale Lecturer on Early Childhood Education, Yale Child Study Center, Nicholas Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, Yale University. (Christakis & Christakis, Why Are We Depriving Our Teens of Sleep? (Nov. 18, 2011) Time.)

“Almost all teenagers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep[.] What good does it do to try to educate teenagers so early in the morning? You can be giving the most stimulating, interesting lectures to sleep-deprived kids early in the morning or right after lunch, when they’re at their sleepiest, and the overwhelming drive to sleep replaces any chance of alertness, cognition, memory or understanding.”—James Maas, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Psychology, Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell University. (Carpenter, Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health (Oct. 2001) 32 Am. Psychological Assn. Monitor 9.)

“Sleep deficit is hampering high school achievement. Tiredness should not be confused with laziness. All teens should have the right to learn in an optimum environment. Rather than the ‘early to bed…’ adage, the new adage should be, ‘Wake up later and your grades will be greater.’ ”—James Maas, Ph.D. (Am. Lung Assoc. of New England, School Daze: A Wake Up Call (Sept. 2008) Healthy Air Matters, p. 4.)

clockface -- near midnight -- law.upenn.edu“Because academic clocks are in conflict with teenagers’ body clocks, teenagers are one of the most sleep-deprived [populations] in the country.”—James Maas, Ph.D. (Lim, Maas Pushes for Later Start Time at Schools (Feb. 26, 2009) Cornell Daily Sun.)

“Almost all teenagers in this country are sleep-deprived.”—Maida Chen, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Assistant Director, Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital. (Amodei, Powering up your teen’s brain (Feb. 26, 2008) ParentMap.)

“Sleep deprivation among adolescents appears to be, in some respects, the norm rather than the exception in contemporary society.”—Robert E. Roberts, Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Catherine R. Roberts, M.P.H., Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School, Hao T. Duong, M.D., Ph.D. (Roberts, Roberts, & Duong, Sleepless in adolescence: Prospective data on sleep deprivation, health and functioning (2009) 32 J. Adolescence, p. 1055.)

“Almost 80 percent of kids don’t get enough sleep. If they get one hour less than usual, they face significant academic and psychological consequences.”—David Palmiter, Psy.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Marywood University. (Heesen, Back to school: How to make the transition to high school a smooth one (Aug. 7, 2011) pennlive.com.)

Among adolescents, “daily feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue are the most consistent psychological outcomes of obtaining less sleep at night.”—Andrew Fuligini, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Christina Hardway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan. (Fuligini & Hardway, Daily Variation in Adolescents’ Sleep, Activities, and Psychological Well-Being (2005) 16 J. Research on Adolescence 3, p. 371.)

”Chronically sleep-deprived teens often become so used to the feeling of sleepiness that they don’t recognize that they are settling for less than they are capable of in creativity, academic performance, and communication both in and out of the classroom.”—Paula K. Rauch, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Director, Marjorie E. Korff PACT Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Chief, Child Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service, Massachusetts General Hospital. (Rauch, What is Normal Sleep for Children and Adolescents? publish. in, Attention Deficit Disorder: Practical Coping Mechanisms (Fisher, edit., Informa Healthcare, 2nd ed. 2007) p. 175.)

“The results were stunning. There’s no other word to use. We didn’t think we’d get that much bang for the buck.”—Patricia Moss, M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Head of School and Head of the Latin Department, St. George’s School, Rhode Island, after start times were delayed from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (Tanner, Study Shows Teens Benefit from Later School Day (Jul. 5, 2010) Assoc. Press.)

“Delaying school start times is a demonstrated strategy to promote sufficient sleep among adolescents.”— Danice K. Eaton, Ph.D., Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lela R. McKnight-Eily, Ph.D., Division of Adult and Community Health, CDC, Richard Lowry, M.D., Adolescent and School Health, CDC, Geraldine S. Perry, Dr.P.H., Division of Adult and Community Health, CDC, Letitia Presley-Cantrell, Ph.D., Division of Adult and Community Health, CDC, and, Janet B. Croft, Ph.D., Division of Adult and Community Health, CDC. (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.)

ConvenienceRoadSign“You know a school or a school district is in trouble when the strategic plan follows the principles of the ABC School of Management–Administration By Convenience. One of the best indicators of an adult-focused environment, one that is practicing the principles of ABC, is when research is blatantly ignored in favor of current practice.“—Mel Riddile, M.Ed., Ed.D, Associate Director for High School Services, National Association of Secondary School Principals, former state (Virginia) and National Principal of the Year. (Riddile, Time Shift: Is your school jet-lagged? (Mar. 14, 2011) Nat. Assn. Secondary School Principals, Principal Difference.)

“It’s about adult convenience, it’s not about learning.”—Mel Riddile, M.Ed., Ed.D. (Tanner, Study Shows Teens Benefit from Later School Day (Jul. 5, 2010) Assoc. Press.)

“The results of this study demonstrated that current high school start times contribute to sleep deprivation among adolescents. Consistent with a delay in circadian sleep phase, students performed better later in the day than in the early morning. [¶] School schedules are forcing them to lose sleep and to perform academically when they are at their worst. [¶] Knowledge of the unusual weekday/weekend sleep phenomenon among adolescents could promote better family relationships if parents understood that sleeping late on weekends is part of their children’s inborn cycle and not lazy or antisocial behavior.”—Martha Hansen, M.S., Imke Janssen, M.S., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Preventative Medicine, Rush Medical College, Adam Schiff, B.S., Phyllis C. Zee, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology & Physiology, Director, Sleep Disorders Program, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Margarita L. Dubocovich, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, SUNY Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. (Hansen, Janssen, Schiff, Zee, & DubocovichThe Impact of School Daily Schedule on Adolescent Sleep (Jun. 2005) 115 Pediatrics 6, pp. 1555, 1560.)

“A good deal of research shows sleep is very important for memory and learning. The evidence fairly strongly suggests that later start times are better. Inherently, the majority of kids with a later start will get more sleep, which is beneficial to grades as well as being safer.”—Philip Fuller, M.D., Medical Director, Mary Washington Hospital Sleep and Wake Disorders Center. (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.)

“Teachers, parents and administrators should embrace the later start times given the positive impact they have on students.”—Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., Board-certified sleep specialist, recent past Chairman, National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting public education regarding sleep health and safety and sleep-related research, Founder and Director, Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology. (Rosenberg, More sleep means improved academic performance (Nov./Dec. 2012) 97 Am. Teacher 2, p. 3.)ny public library

Toxic, Abusive, Nonsense, Deleterious, Cruel, & Nuts

“There’s no question that later start times pose significant challenges and barriers, … but this is something within our control, something we can change to make a significant impact on the long-term health of children. … If you knew that in your child’s school there was a toxic substance that reduced the capacity to learn, increased the chances of a car crash and made it likely that 20 years from now he would be obese and suffer from hypertension, you’d do everything possible to get rid of that substance and not worry about cost. Early start times are toxic.”—Judith Owens, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Associate Professor of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital. (Clarkson, Resetting the Clock: High School Start Times (Apr. 1, 2013) Wash. Parent.)

“[T]hese early school start times are just abusive.”—Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University, Director, Chronobiology and Sleep Research, Bradley Hospital. (Carpenter, Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health, supra, 32 Am. Psychological Assn. Monitor 9.)

Professor Till Roenneberg, Ph.D., Vice-Chair, Head of Human Chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology in Germany, says it is “nonsense” to start school early in the day. “It is about the way our biological clock settles into light and dark cycles. This clearly becomes later and later in adolescence. [¶] Sleep is essential to consolidate what you learn.” (Ryan, Lie in for teenagers has positive results (Mar. 22, 2010) BBC News.)

Citing the “deleterious impact of school times on our teenagers,” Janet Croft, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at the CDC, referred to early high school start times as “an unrealistic burden on children and their families. … It can change lives to change school start times. They can’t concentrate that early when driving that early in the dark. They stay sleepy all the day.” (Park, Falling Asleep in Class? Blame Biology (Dec. 15, 2008) CNN.)

“It is cruel to impose a cultural pattern on teenagers that makes them underachieve. Most school regimes force teenagers to function at a time of day that is suboptimal and many university students are exposed to considerable dangers from sleep deprivation.”—Russell Foster, Ph.D., F.R.S.C.B.E., Head of Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Chair of Circadian Neuroscience, Oxford University. (Making teens start school in the morning is ‘cruel’ brain doctor claims (Dec. 1, 2007) London Evening Standard.)

“All of the research that has been done shows that older adolescents need more sleep than younger ones. They fall asleep later and wake up later to get the sleep they need. Despite these two facts, almost all districts start the senior high schools first. We’re sending them to school during the last one-third of their sleep cycles. It’s comparable to adults getting up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. You wouldn’t want to be making important decisions at that hour. I think it’s nuts. The sleep deficit builds up until they fall asleep at school or driving.”—Mark Mahowald, M.D., Professor of Neurology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Director, Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. (Delisio, It’s About Time (and Sleep): Making the Case for Starting School Later (Jun. 3, 2003) Education World.)
quill pen ink well -- bikesnobnyc

Four more from Professor Mahowald, two by William Shakespeare, and one each from John Locke and Robert Frost:

“Of all the arguments I’ve heard over school start-times, not one person has argued that children learn more at 7:15 a.m. than at 8:30.” (Bronson, Snooze or Lose (Oct. 7, 2007) New York Mag., web p. 3.)

“Most adolescents are sub-optimally alert in the morning. Yet their biological clocks program them to go to sleep late—too late to get an optimal amount of sleep before the next school day begins. If we as a society are sending kids to school to learn, it would be wise to send them in a condition that fosters learning.” (Lamberg, Teens aren’t lying — they really need to sleep later (Dec. 5, 1994) Am. Med. News, p. 24.)

“Not a single excuse [for not changing start times] we’ve heard relates to education. None of the excuses have the word ‘education’ in them. We should send kids to high school in a condition that promotes learning rather than interfering with it.” (Delisio, It’s About Time (and Sleep): Making the Case for Starting School Later, supra, Education World.)

“[S]chools are scheduled early for adult convenience: there’s no educational reason we start schools as early as we do.” (Bronson & Merryman, Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children (Twelve Books 2009) p. 37, citing, rather than quoting, Professor Mahowald.)

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in the shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III, lines 218-224 [Marcus Brutus to Cassius; interpretation: timing is everything].)

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast,—” (Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act II, Scene II, lines 34-37.)

“The great cordial of nature is sleep. He that misses that, will suffer by it[.]”—John Locke. (Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (A. and J. Churchill, 1693) p. 24, original italics.)

path-through-the-woods“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.” (Frost, Poetry of Robert Frost (Lathem, edit., Henry Holt and Co. 1969) p. 224 [from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”].)

 

 

Schools Recently Advancing Start Times, etc.

June 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

“This advance of the school day is in direct conflict with a putative pubertal/adolescent phase delay.”—Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University School of Medicine, Director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at Bradley Hospital, Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Loyola University, Maryland, Christine Acebo, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research), Brown University, Orna Tzischinsky, Ph.D., Emek Yezreel College, Emek one-way-signs -- kennethehinesYezreel, Israel, Sleep  Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, Ronald Seifier, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University. (Carskadon, WolfsonAcebo, Tzischinsky, & Seifer, Adolescent sleep patterns, circadian timing, and sleepiness at a transition to early school days (Dec. 15, 1998) 21 Sleep 8, p. 872.)

ALABAMA — For the 2014-2015 school year, Phenix City Public Schools students in grades 6-7 will see their start time advance by 45 minutes to 7:45 a.m. The schedule shift is apparently intended to accommodate a start time delay for students in grades 8-12. Elementary schools will begin at 8 a.m., except for Lakewood Primary School (K-2), which will begin at 7:45 a.m. (McCoy, New school year, new start times for Phenix City schools (Jul. 25, 2014) WTVN.com.)

Beginning in the fall of 2012, Demopolis High School in the Demopolis City Schools District will advance its start time by 3 minutes to 7:47 a.m. as part of a plan to add 6 minutes to the school day. Demopolis Middle School begins morning classes at 7:50 a.m. (Smith, DHS school day now 6 minutes longer (Aug. 2, 2011) demopolistimes.com.)

ALASKA — Until the state senate passed Bill 182 providing additional transportation funding, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was considering transitioning from one- to two-tiered busing for 2012-2013 in order to address a $750,000 budget shortfall. The proposed schedule would have advanced Ninilchik (K-12), from 8:45 a.m. to 7:40 a.m., Homer High, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:40 a.m., and Homer Middle, from 8:35 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Elementary schools, including Chapman (K-8), were to have delayed start times. (Chapman (K-8), from 8:40 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 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.)

ARIZONA — In June 2013, the Coolidge Unified School District #21 school board voted to advance the middle school start times by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. and the high school start times by 10 minutes to 7:30 a.m. The elementary school start time was delayed by 5 minutes to 8:25 a.m. (Gal, Compromise in bell schedule approved for 2013-14 (Jun. 19, 2013) Coolidge Examiner.)

On December 13, 2011, the governing board for the Lake Havasu Unified School District voted unanimously to advance the start time of Thunderbolt Middle School from 8:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. beginning in August 2012. This places Thunderbolt on the same schedule as the other seven schools in the district. The new schedule will allow for student medical appointments to be scheduled after school and will also allow school staff to arrive on time for district meetings. Seventy percent of parents favored the change. (Leatherman, Board approves measures for 2012-2013 school year (Dec. 14, 2011) Today’s News-Herald.) Notably, the 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll showed 90% of parents believed their teenage children were getting enough sleep. (Sleep In America Poll: Summary of Findings (2006) Nat. Sleep Foundation, p. 26.) The same poll found only 1 in 5 adolescents obtained the recommended amount of sleep (9 hours or more) on school nights. (Id., p. 7.)

CALIFORNIA — 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. David A. Brown Middle School and Elsinore Middle School will advance start times to 7:30 a.m., representing 5 and 10 minutes advances, respectively. 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. District elementary schools begin at 8 a.m.

Torrey Pines High School advanced a late start day from 8:55 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. in order to offer an “extended lunch” period as reward for increased statewide achievement scores. The school principal explained the earlier start was necessary to meet minimum instructional time requirements. One student commented the 75 minute advance was less a “reward” than a “substitution.” (Sutton, Education Matters: Sleeping through lunch (Nov. 3, 2011) Del Mar Times.)

In 2010, Canyon Crest Academy advanced start times from 8:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. in order to address traffic congestion at the later hour. The time was advanced rather than delayed to accommodate sports schedules. (Sutton, Education Matters: Sleeping through lunch (Nov. 3, 2011) Del Mar Times.)

CANADA — As part of a cost-saving review of 25 schools, Orchard Park Secondary School and four other public and Catholic schools will have their 2012-2013 start times altered. Orchard Park will advance its start time by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. Teachers, students, and parents voiced their opposition at a June 6, 2012 public meeting. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board reported the change will save $150,000 per year and see the use of 12 fewer buses. Two other high schools, Waterdown and Saltfleet, advanced to an 8 a.m. start time last fall. The board stated the change cannot be turned back and that everyone will get used to it. Tenth graders Hailey Dymond and Sandra Mpofu presented a petition signed by 500 of about 1,100 students. The students cited changes to academic performance, breakfast disruption, an increase in stress, increase in obesity, and possibly, an increase in suicides. McMaster Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Raymond Gottschalk, who runs a sleep disorder clinic in Hamilton, advised that “the 30-minute change will have a huge impact on students’ academic performance and their morale at school. He said it is well documented and that some boards that have implemented later bell times have seen improvements in students. ‘This is really counter-productive. It’s a very ill-advised recommendation.’ ” (Nolan, Alarm being sounded on early bell times (Jun. 7, 2012) The Spectator.)

CONNECTICUT — 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, but according to the proposed bell schedule, High Horizon, Multicultural, and Park City Magnet middle schools will advance start times by 5 minutes to 8:35 a.m. Five parochial schools will also advance start times: Kolbe Cathedral High School, 8 a.m. to 7:25 a.m., St. Ann School (K-8), 7:40 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.; St. Andrew School (PK-8), 7:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., St. Augustine School (PK-8), 8 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., and St. Raphael School (PK-8), 7:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. (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.)

Beginning November 26, 2012, Windham Public Schools will advance the high school start time by 15 minutes to 7:15 a.m. in order to address a transportation conflict caused by starting the middle and high school too close in time. Parent Mark Phelps recently complained to the Board of Education that some high school students were getting on the buses before 6 a.m. The early start for teenagers will not help them learn, Phelps said. The district website reflects a 7:45 a.m. middle school start time and an 8:30 a.m. start time for W.B. Sweeney Elementary School. (Kefalas, Windham High School to start earlier (Oct. 14, 2012) Norwich Bull. [Kefalas’ contention that middle and high schools start at the same time contradicted by information at district website].)

The North Haven Public Schools school board has voted to advance the middle school start time by 25 minutes to 7:33 a.m., in order to save as much as $60,000 in transportation expenses. Aligning middle and high school schedules will reduce the time middle school students traveling by bus must wait at school before the first bell. The bus company, M&J Bus, advised board members that transporting middle schoolers with their older peers has been shown to improve the behavior of the younger students. Elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (DeMatteo, North Haven school board revamps busing schedule (Jun. 14, 2012) Post-Chronicle.)

Bernard Josefberg, the superintendent of Easton, Redding & Region 9 Public School Districts, has proposed advancing the start time of John Read Middle School (JRMS), while delaying the start time of Redding Elementary School (RES). The 2011-2012 JRMS start time is 9 a.m., RES begins at 8:10 a.m. In a letter to parents, Dr. Josefberg offered the following basis for the proposal: “In brief, such a change would align the start times in the Redding and Easton school districts. Doing so would improve opportunities for faculty communication, collaboration and coordination, as well as create possibilities for more shared after school programming for the youth of both communities.” At a March 8, 2012 public forum, all two dozen parent speakers opposed the proposed change, instead encouraging the district leadership to delay the Joel Barlow High School start time (7:30 a.m. for 2011-2012) based upon studies showing teens need to sleep the latest. (Winters, Forum on School Start Time Change (Mar. 8, 2012) Redding’s Hamlet Club.)

In order to save $500,000 in busing costs, reduce traffic congestion and early dismissals for student-athletes, and to limit fees paid to substitute teachers when teacher-coaches leave early for athletic contests, the Fairfield Public Schools Board of Education advanced high school start times from 7:50 a.m. and 7:40 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Anne Pasco, President of the Fairfield Education Association, said the extra 20 minutes given to Warde High students, who started school at 7:50 a.m., and extra 10 minutes for Ludlowe Highstudents, who started at 7:40 a.m., was an inequity between the schools and didn’t mean students used that extra time to sleep. “When those students go to bed is not within the control of the board, and, as they get older, is not within the control of parents,” Pasco said. “$500,000 is a lot of money to allocate to give a child an opportunity if he wants 10 minutes more of sleep a day or 20 minutes.” Bruce Monte, a former school board member, spoke in support of leaving the high school start times in place, adding that more sleep had a “positive effect on academic performance, athletic performance, obesity and depression, among other things.” (Brophy, Board of Ed Approves $148.5m Budget for 2011-12 (Jan. 26, 2011) Fairfield Patch; Lang, Proposed Fairfield schools budget calls for 4.9 percent spending increase (Jan. 20, 2011) CTPost.) Joseph Salata and psychiatrist Jeffrey Deitz wrote op-ed pieces suggesting students would be better served by later start times. (Salata, Early school hours put kids at risk (Dec. 2, 2011) Fairfield Citizen; Deitz, Schools Start Too Soon for Good Health (Aug. 27, 2010) New Canaan Daily Voice.)

DELAWARE — The Milford School District will advance the 2012-2013 start time of Milford Middle School by 5 minutes to 7:30 a.m. while delaying start times at Milford Central Academy and Milford High School by 50 minutes to 8:25 a.m. Many of the school teachers and staff believe that the hours would benefit the students by allowing them to be more awake. Defending 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.)

FLORIDA — In 2009, Pasco County Schools advanced start times for Gulf Middle School students from 8:37 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. in order to save busing costs. When the school day began after 8 a.m., about 42 percent of students missed more than 10 days of school. Following the change, 71 percent of Gulf students miss more than 10 days of classes. Of those, 24 percent missed more than 20 days. The numbers have improved since the school began utilizing a guidance counselor, social worker, current and former teachers, and others to address each student’s attendance difficulties individually. As of November 2011, the district school hours webpage showed all other middle schools starting at 8:40 a.m., except Raymond B. Stewart Middle (8:35 a.m.), Pasco Middle and River Ridge Middle (both 7:30 a.m.). The 2013-2014 school hours page shows that Bayonet Point Middle and Hudson Middle have also advanced the morning bell to 7:30 a.m. Thomas E. Weightman and Dr. John Long begin at 8:30 a.m. Gulf Middle now begins at 7:45 a.m. In July 2011 it was reported the district was considering delaying high school start times. Most district high schools begin at 7:30 a.m. (Solochek, Nine Pasco County schools may face new starting times (Jul. 2, 2013) Tampa Bay Times; Solochek, Pasco schools fight widespread absenteeism among students (Nov. 13, 2011) tampabay.com.)

On June 24, 2013, the Lake County Schools School Board voted against a proposal to address a $16 million budget shortfall by combining 2013-2014 middle and high school bus schedules, and aligning start times at some schools. The high school start time was to have been advanced by 15 minutes to 7:15 a.m., and the middle school start time advanced from 9:10 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. School Board member Tod Howard was alone in favor of changing start times and warned that by refusing to cut transportation costs board members were instead supporting possible classroom cuts. “By voting this down we are voting for other unforeseen cuts that may be just as painful and just as difficult[.]” The matter was tabled until the next school year. Superintendent Susan Moxley told board members she wants staffers to tweak existing bus routes to try to come up with $1.4 million in savings. The board cut bus service to students residing within 2 miles of school, saving about $650,000. Elementary schools begin at 8:30 a.m. (Lake County votes to stop bus service for students who live near school (Jun. 24, 2013) wftv.com; Rodriguez, Lake School Board votes against changing school start times, moves to cut courtesy busing (Jun. 24, 2013) Orlando Sentinel; Rodriguez, Lake School Board looks deeper to fill $16 million budget hole (Jun. 9, 2013) Orlando Sentinel.)

A June 8, 2013 article appearing in “the roar,” the West Shore Jr./Sr. High School student paper, reports that Principal Rick Fleming has proposed advancing the school start time by one hour to 7:45 a.m. Apparently the proposal stems from a concern that the loss of district transportation means more students will be driving. All other high schools in the Brevard Public Schools District begin at 8:45 a.m. Therefore, to reduce traffic congestion during the 8 o’clock hour and increase student safety, Fleming suggests an earlier start time. Middle schools begin at 8:45 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. Elementary schools begin at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., or 9 a.m. (Martin, Early school start proposal widens eyes (Jun. 8, 2013) the roar.) Under Fleming’s plan, students will be driving while melatonin pressures them to sleep. (Later Start Times for High School Students (Jun. 2002) Univ. Minn.) Multiple studies associate early school schedules with increased crash rates among adolescents, the leading cause of death in this population. (See, § III.D., supra.) In addition, academic performance, particularly for disadvantaged students, will be substantially undermined. (See, § III.A., supra.)

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 advance start times for high schools: Central, 7:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.; Hernando, 7:31 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.; Nature Coast, 8:05 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.; Weeki Wachee, 9:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Sprinsteador High will retain its 7:15 a.m. start time. Fox Chapel Middle School will advance its start time by 15 minutes to 7:30 a.m. Three other middle schools will retain existing start times: Parrott, 7:30 a.m.; Powell, 7:30 a.m.; and, West Hernando, 9:15 a.m. K-8 schools will all begin at 9:15 a.m., advancing start times at Challenger, from 9:25 a.m., Floyd, from 9:35 a.m., and delaying start times at Explorer, from 8:40 a.m., and Winding Waters, from 8:35 a.m. Most elementary school schedules will be delayed so that all begin at 9:15 a.m. Endeavor Alternative School will advance from 7:50 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. According to Blavatt, “In the past we took the easy way out and made modifications, but still kept the same basic schedule. This method is more scientific and allows us to maximize the use school bus at nightof our buses.” The new schedule is expected to keep young children from traveling in darkness while freeing older children for work or athletics after school. One parent asked if the board had considered research showing that teenagers perform better with later start times. Another parent with a daughter at Weeki Wachee High School (advancing from 9:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.) was “visibly upset by the move and worried for her child’s safety. [¶] She said U.S. 19, where the school is located, is dangerous in the early morning hours. She said there are no sidewalks, no lights and that people routinely travel 80 mph down the road.” (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.)

GEORGIA — The Muscogee County School District, comprised of 33,000 students and 64 schools, will advance the 2014-2015 start time for its middle schools by 10 minutes to 8:50 a.m. District high schools begin at 8:25 a.m., except Jordan High and Spencer High, which begin at 8:05 a.m. Elementary schools begin at 8 a.m. The middle school start time was advanced “in order to establish more continuity between the middle and high school scheduling models, the middle school bell schedule (start and end time) is modified to reflect similar scheduling changes that were made at the high school level and helps to facilitate efficient bus schedules. The middle school time change also allows school administrators to incorporate Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Increased Learning Time (ILT) at the middle school level during the eight hour work day.” (Rice, Muscogee middle schools to have earlier start, dismissal times (Jul. 7, 2014) Ledger-Enquirer; Smith, New start, end times announced for MCSD (Jul. 8, 2014) WTVM.)

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.)

On June 4, 2012, Carrollton City Schools announced via its district news page that 2012-2013 elementary and middle school (grades 4-5) start times will be delayed, while junior high (grades 6-8) and high school start times will advance by 30 and 35 minutes, respectively, to 7:45 a.m. The change is intended to “positively impact academics” by reducing class time lost to participation in extracurricular activities. According to superintendent Kent Edwards, Ph.D., “In the end, the decisions weren’t difficult to make. The new schedule is instructionally driven and will support student performance the most.” The available evidence suggests the new schedules will undermine, rather than enhance, academic achievement, particularly for disadvantaged students. (See, e.g., 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 (Sept. 2011) pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7; CarrellMaghakian, & 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.)

IDAHO — In May 2016, the Twin Falls School District school board voted to advance the middle school start time to 7:30 a.m., from 7:43 a.m. (Robert Stuart Middle School) and 7:55 a.m. (Bridge Academy,  O’Leary Middle School.) Brady Dickinson, the district’s Director of Operations, contends “[i]t’s not a huge shift[.] The change will be tougher for parents[.] Kids are pretty resilient. They get into the habit and they’re good.” Parent Joey Heck believes the new bell schedule is a “risky proposal” based on convenience, not the best interests of students. In the fall, Heck’s children will be attending fourth and seventh grades. Heck would like the district to follow national bell schedule recommendations; i.e., no earlier than 8:30 a.m., ideally, closer to 9 a.m. Heck says that while an early schedule is most convenient to his work schedule at the College of Southern Idaho, starting early is an educational, health and public safety issue. “We know that scientifically, it’s not a good idea.” He’s worried about children walking and riding their bicycles in the dark, and teenagers driving their younger siblings to school earlier. The schedule change is intended to accommodate busing at minimum expense for two new elementary schools opening in the fall. The district’s three high schools will apparently delay start times by 5 minutes to 8 a.m. No changes are reported for the district’s seven existing elementary schools, now beginning morning classes at 8:05 a.m. (I.B. Perrine), 8:30 a.m. (Lincoln), 8:40 a.m. (Bickel, Sawtooth, Oregon Trail), 8:45 a.m. (Morningside), 8:55 a.m. (Harrison). (Wootton, Early School Start Times: Are there Health Consequences? (May 29, 2016) MagicValley.com.)

Beginning January 23, 2012, the West Ada School District, previously known as the Meridian School District, will push back high school start times from 7:58 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. to allow teachers additional “prep time.” Bus schedules remain unchanged. The 2015-2016 West Ada bell schedule shows high school morning classes have advanced to 7:45 a.m. four days weekly, 8 a.m. on Wednesdays. Middle schools begin at 8:15 a.m. four days weekly, 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays; elementary and kindergarden classes begin at 8:45 a.m. four days weekly, 9 a.m. on Wednesdays. . The West Ada School District includes schools in multiple cities; i.e., Boise, Eagle, Meridian, and Star. (Evans, Meridian rearranging schedule for high schools (Nov. 12, 2013) KTVB.COM.)

ILLINOIS — In order to add instructional time to the school day, Giles School and Leigh School in the Norridge School District 80, both K-8 schools, will advance 2014-2015 start times for all students by 25 minutes to 8:15 a.m. Classes at Ridgewood High School begin at 8 a.m. (Hayes, Norridge District 80 to debut longer school day this fall (Jul. 22, 2014) Norridge-Harwood Heights News.)

Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 is considering advancing high school start times by 25 minutes to 7:30 a.m. in order to save transportation expenses. Alternatively, the district is considering delaying some elementary school start times by 15 minutes to 8:15 a.m. and advancing others by 30 minutes to 7:30 a.m. No changes are anticipated before 2014-2015. (Sanders, Collinsville schools look at boundary and start time changes (May 6, 2013) Suburban J.)

Consolidated School District 230 is considering a plan to advance high school start times by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. for 2103/2014. According to Superintendent James Gay, students would use the first half hour to “build stronger relationships with teachers, learn coping strategies and develop critical skills necessary for life after high school.” (Sullivan, School could start 30 minutes earlier for D230 students (Mar. 4, 2013) Chicago Tribune.)

Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 is considering moving from a two-tiered busing system to a three-tiered system, thereby saving up to $350,000 in annual transportation expenses in 2013-2014. High school classes would advance 10-15 minutes from the present 7:45 a.m. start time. Elementary school start times would be delayed 35 or 40 minutes to 8:50 a.m. or 8:55 a.m. Middle school classes would apparently retain a 7:25 a.m. start time. (Chadra, UPDATE: Idea of Adjusting to a New School Start Time Next Year Has Some Parents on Edge (Jan. 14, 2013) Elmhurst Patch.)

In a Winter 2012 Newsletter, Community Consolidated School District 15 reported that the 2013-2014 start time for its four junior high schools will, subject to community input, advance four days weekly by 5 minutes to 7:50 a.m. On Wednesdays, classes would be delayed 40 minutes to 8:35 a.m. The release explained: “The District has high expectations that can only be met through on-going professional training. [¶] To provide our teachers with these important professional development opportunities, a scheduled block of weekly release time was negotiated as a part of the District’s recent contract with the CTC. This weekly release time will allow for collaborative team/grade/department planning, data analysis, and training for all certified staff. Incorporating these activities into our weekly routine shows that excellence in our schools is a top priority. [¶] To accommodate this new block of weekly release time for our teachers, the District will implement a new schedule for the 2013-14 school year that will maintain the current amount of student instructional time while increasing faculty professional development time. A committee of administrators, CTC representatives, and a PTA leader is currently drafting that schedule.” The posted 2015-2016 bell schedule shows the district’s four junior high schools begin homeroom at 7:50 a.m. five days weekly, its fifteen K-6 schools begin at 8:45 a.m. An “alternative” school, the John G. Conyers Learning Academy (preK-8), which begins morning classes at 9 a.m. CCSD15 reports an enrollment of more than 12,000 students.

The District 7 school board will advance the start times of two middle schools and Edwardsville High School by 15 minutes to 8 a.m. and 7:20 a.m., respectively. The district expects to save as much as $3 million in transportation costs. (Donald, Blame it on the buses: Kids will start the school day earlier in Edwardsville (Jun. 23, 2011) BND.com.)

Ball-Chatham Community Schools will adjust middle school start times in order to improve transportation efficiency. Glenwood Intermediate School will advance the morning bell from 8:10 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. (Reavy, Class times, bus schedules change in Ball-Chatham (Aug. 18, 2011) State J. Register.)

Beginning in the fall of 2011, Plainfield School District 202 will advance start times for Plainfield East and South High Schools from 8:10 a.m. to 7:05 a.m. in order to save busing costs. School district spokesman Thomas Hernandez said the move saved the district close to $1 million. “But for students, the change was jarring.” Plainfield East football player Cullen Rompa does his best to “maintain good grades and stave off fatigue. [¶] ‘I remember being awake a lot during first period and now it is a struggle. When they first (changed) the time, it was intense. It was very hard to do anything.’” Mary Ticknor, superintendent of Lemont High School District 210, where classes begin at 8 a.m., advises that changing to a later start time isn’t as easy as it sounds. “There are additional things to consider[.] How would a later start impact scheduling for after-school activities? Would it be feasible for students to work after school, or if getting home later after school would affect any family commitments our students may have, such as taking care of their younger siblings.” But Rompa thinks starting school later would not affect athletics much. “It would make practice go to 7 or 7:30 but the sleep you get in the morning would make up for going later in the day[.] Sleep would be more important.” (Akouris, A tired debate: When should school day start? (Oct. 18, 2013) The Herald Sun; Mullins, What You Need to Know Before the Kids Go Back (Aug. 2, 2011) Plainfield Patch; Manchir, D-202 families preparing for earlier school start times (Aug. 17, 2011) TribLocal.)

INDIANA — Elkhart Community Schools is considering three new bell schedules to save transportation costs in 2013-2014. The first option would advance secondary school start times to 7:30 a.m., a 5 minute advance for the district’s three middle schools, a 20 (Memorial) or 25 minute (Central) advance for high school students. Elementary schools would be delayed from 8:15 a.m. or 8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. A second option would also advance high school start times to 7:30 a.m., but delay middle school start times to 9 a.m. Elementary schools would begin at 7:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m., and 9 a.m. A third plan would delay high school start times to 9 a.m., advance middle school start times to 7:30 a.m., and retain the second option start schedule for elementary students. Doug Hasler, executive director of support services, said that the current system is what “ ‘people have become familiar with and certainly change will cause some discomfort and some confusion for some people,’ but we think the changes will be better for schools and families in the long run.” On May 7, 2013, the board voted unanimously to implement a variation of the first option, advancing middle and high schools start times to 7:30 a.m., while delaying elementary school start times to 8:45 a.m. (Ziegler, Elkhart schools making changes to save money (May 7, 2013) Fox28; WNDU Staff, Major changes in Elkhart district schools for 2013-14 school year (May 7, 2013) WNDU; Weaver-Stoesz, New Elkhart schools start,/end times under consideration (Apr. 17, 2013) The Elkart Truth.)

As part of an apparent effort to improve transportation efficiency, Kokomo School Corporation will advance 2012-2013 start times for middle and high school students by 10 minutes, meaning Kokomo High School will begin at 7:30 a.m., Maple Crest and Central Middle Schools at 8:10 a.m. (New start times for 2012-2013 school year (Jun. 12, 2012) kokomoperspective.com.)

On March 14, 2012, the Greencastle Community Schools school board approved a measure moving up the start time at all schools by 10 minutes, four days a week, increasing weekly instructional time by 40 minutes. For 2012-2013, Tuesday through Friday, the high school will begin morning classes at 7:50 a.m., the middle school at 8 a.m., and the elementary schools at 8:10 a.m. (Jernagan, Greencastle adds 10 minutes to school day for 2012-13 (Mar. 16, 2012) Banner Graphic.)

The Marion Independent School District has announced new start times for 2012-2013, advancing the start time of Vernon Middle School from 8:05 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. Marion High School will “keep M Bl[o]ck starting at 7:45 a.m. and all other classes starting at 8:20 a.m.” (Munson, MISD may move Emerson students to Kirkwood facility (Feb. 17, 2012) Marion Times.)

Warren Central High School Principal Rich Shepler announced 2011-2012 start times will advance from 7:35 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. in “response to our need to increase student achievement. [¶] We wanted to utilize every minute of the day to give our kids more of an opportunity — especially kids struggling to pass (standardized tests).” Teacher’s union president Dan Henn questioned the wisdom of the earlier start time, noting research indicates that older students perform better when school starts later in the morning. (McCleery, Warren Central students to return to class Monday — and with earlier start time (Jul. 28, 2011) INDYSTAR.COM.)

As part of the East Allen County Schools redesign plan, transportation was overhauled resulting in high school start times advancing 15 minutes, to 7:45 a.m., with the exception of Woodlan High which advanced 10 minutes, to 7:50 a.m. (Hissong, With Big Changes, EACS Back to School (Aug. 17, 2011) wane.com.)

Wrong-way-sign-storm-clouds -- tanveemaseer

KANSAS — Wichita Public Schools advanced the start times for one high school and four middle schools to 7 a.m. in order to address budget cuts. Rick Pappas, M.Ed., of Wichita State University noted, “Obviously they didn’t get enough sleep if they’re getting up that early.” Pappas also observed that children without enough sleep could “have a harder time focusing on school work and are more prone to experience anxiety and depression.” (White, Students face early morning start times (Aug. 17, 2011) KWCH 12 Eyewitness News.)

As part of a plan to lengthen the school day and shorten the calendar, Emporia Public Schools has advanced Emporia High School start times to 7:40 a.m. four days per week, and delayed classes until 9:30 a.m. one day. Previously, Emporia High School students began at 8 a.m. three days weekly, and 8:10 a.m. twice weekly. Middle school start times have been delayed. (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 — In April 2015, the Warren County Public Schools school board voted to implement or retain a 7:30 a.m. start time at most of its middle and high schools in order to save busing expenses. Superintendent Rob Clayton referred to the change as among the “major decisions … for our growth and our vision[.]” The new schedule will advance start times at Warren Central High School and Middle School by 30 minutes, Warren East High School and Middle School by 20 minutes, and Henry Moss Middle by 20 minutes. Most elementary schools will begin classes at 8:30 a.m., requiring classes at some schools to be delayed by as much as 70 minutes. The district website states that more than $1.5 million dollars will be saved during the 2015-2016 school year, and a minimum of $600,000 per year thereafter. According to Transportation Director John Odom, district buses traveled 2.6 million miles during the 2013-14 school year. District buses transport 9,162 children to and from school daily. The district has nearly 15,000 students. Odom said fewer buses on the roads will improve safety. (Mason, Board eyes changes (Mar. 17, 2015) Bowling Green Daily News.)

LOUISIANA — Iberville Parish Schools Superintendent Ed Cancienne, Ph.D., has proposed advancing 2012-2013 high school start times by one hour to 7:30 a.m. due to coaches’ concerns that athletes are missing afternoon classes and extracurricular activities. School board member Nancy Broussard commented, “One of the advantages of having the high school kids coming in later is because there’s some research that suggests it works better, academically, for high school students. It coincides with the natural sleep cycles of teenagers and enables them to learn better if they come in later.” On the other hand, board member Brian Willis stated, “Honestly, I think it’s great we’re doing this. It might not work, but let’s try it.” (Assoc. Press, Iberville school chief suggests new starting times (May 15, 2012) dailycomet.com.)

MAINE — Effective October 11, 2011, Winthrop Middle School and Winthrop High School will advance start times by 10 minutes, to 7:40 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., respectively. The Winthrop Public Schools superintendent explained the change was made to ensure Winthrop primary school students students are picked up on time and able to eat breakfast at school. (Adams, Winthrop students to start catching bus earlier (Oct. 10, 2011) Kennebec J.)

MARYLAND — The Baltimore Sun reports that in order to accommodate new busing schedules, 11 Baltimore County Public Schools will advance their start times by 5 to 15 minutes for 2015-2016. The Sun notes the district’s decision “is the opposite of what many experts recommend for high school start times.” The Sun reports that Franklin High School will begin at 7:40 a.m., 5 minutes earlier, but otherwise notes only the new start time for four additional schools — New Town High (7:45 a.m.), Owings Mills High (7:25 a.m.), Pikesville High (7:40 a.m.), Randallstown High (7:25 a.m.) — without specifying the particular time change. Owings Mills students board buses as early as 5:45 a.m. The district reports new bell times for 18 schools, including those noted above, Old Court Middle (8:10 a.m.), and 8 elementary schools with start times ranging from 8:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. The 2015-2016 bell schedule for the district’s 172 schools reflects that at 8:05 a.m., Lansdowne Middle is the earliest starting middle school, and at 7:10 a.m., the Western School of Technology is the earliest starting high school. (Jedra, Baltimore County opening some high schools earlier despite push for later start times (Jul. 14, 2015) Baltimore Sun.)

St. Peter’s School, a private Pre-K through 8th grade Catholic school, will advance its 2014-2015 start time from 9:10 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Charles County Public Schools had previously provided a dedicated bus run for St. Peter’s School students, but will save $500,000 by eliminating the route. The public school district offered to bus St. Peter’s School students on its high school bus routes, but that would have required the private school to begin at 7:30 a.m. Fifteen percent of parent’s responding to a survey opposed the earlier start time. St. Peter’s School Principal J.R. West reported the school could not afford to lose so many students. Eighty-nine percent of parents preferred an 8:15 a.m. start time. West is working to find alternative transportation for students who need it. Charles County Public Schools has seven high schools, six begin at 7:25 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., one school, North Point High School, starts at 8:05 a.m. (Phillips, St. Peter’s School rolls with bus schedule changes (Jul. 22, 2014) SoMdNews.)

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 a.m. or 9:15 a.m., except at Drew-Freeman Middle School, where the start time 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.)

The Carroll County Public School System announced that in order to save approximately $1.2 million in transportation costs for the 2012-2013 school year, Liberty, South Carroll and Century high schools will begin 15 minutes earlier, advancing start times to 7:30 a.m., consistent with other district high schools. Two middles schools, Oklahoma Road Middle and Sykesville Middle, will advance start times by 10 minutes, to 8:25 a.m. Superintendent Steve Guthrie advises that the change will be permanent. (George, Guthrie: Bell time changes are permanent; community reacts to schedule changes (Sept. 17, 2012) Carroll County Times; George, Carroll school system changes school start times for 2012-13 (Sept. 23, 2011) Carroll County Times; Bonk, Eldersburg, Mechanicsville Elementary See Greatest Change in New School Schedule (Sept. 23, 2011) Eldersburg Patch.)

MASSACHUSETTS — 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. 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. 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; Editorial, Change the start time already (Apr. 24, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Herrell, Been there, done that (Apr. 17, 2012) Daily Hampshire Gazette; Editorial, Dithering on school start (Jan. 21, 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, Hanauer, Good evidence, but no action (Nov. 15, 2011) Daily Hampshire Gazette.)

Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, Nauset Regional Middle School advanced its start time from 9 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. There has been a substantial increase in tardiness and absenteeism among students since the change was made. High school start times have been delayed. (Fraser, Later start time lauded at Nauset High (Jan. 10, 2012) Cape Cod Times.)

MICHIGAN — In order to improve transportation efficiency, Huron Valley Schools has advanced the start times of Milford and Lakeland High Schools to 7:19 a.m.; middle schools advanced to 8:22 a.m. A district representative advises that for the 2010-2011 school year, the high schools began at 7:21 a.m., middle schools at 8:27 a.m. (Meier, Need to Know: Huron Valley School District Alters School Times (Jun. 29, 2011) White Lake Patch.)

The Port Huron Area School District will advance the start time for its two high schools by two minutes, to 7:35 a.m., beginning October 24, 2011, in order to meet state requirements for instructional hours. The district’s 3 middle schools currently begin morning classes at 7:35 a.m. (Garcia, Port Huron Area School District adds time to instruction (Oct. 20, 2011) thetimesherald.com.)

MINNESOTA — Centennial School District 12 is considering a plan to advance the 2013-2014 high school start time from 8:25 a.m. to 8:10 a.m., 5 minutes earlier than the unsubstantiated and limited “optimal” start time range noted in the district’s adolescent sleep research; i.e., 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. No explanation for the change is offered, except that the shift is proposed as part of a plan to delay the middle school start time from 7:40 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. based upon the same research. 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 advance the start time of Robbinsdale Middle School  by 5 minutes to 8 a.m. Plymouth Middle School will delay  its start time by 5 minutes to 8:10 a.m. 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.)

In April 2013, Spring Lake Park Schools announced projected school start times for 2013-2014, with the district middle school scheduled to advance morning classes by 10 minutes to 7:45 a.m. The district high school start time will be delayed by 35 minutes to 8:10 a.m. The district website noted the change was undertaken to benefit the welfare and achievement of high school students. 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.)

Kenneth Gutman, superintendent of the Walled Lake Consolidated School District, has issued a memorandum advising that beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, Sarah Banks Middle School will advance its start time from 7:30 a.m. to 7:22 a.m., while Pleasant Lake Elementary school will delay its start time from 8:07 a.m. to 8:57 a.m. “These changes will save about $50,000 in transportation costs, annually, as a result of requiring fewer buses to transport students and providing greater flexibility allowing for more efficient bus routes.” Bell schedules for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 reflect that all other schools will retain their previous start times: elementary schools, 8:07 a.m. or 8:57 a.m.; middle schools, 8:09 a.m.; high schools, 7:15 a.m.

Following objections from parents, on May 24, 2012, the South Washington County Schools school board decided against advancing the start times of its four middle schools to 7:35 a.m. in order to save $480,000 in busing costs. Three middle schools begin at 7:55 a.m., Cottage Grove Middle School begins at 7:50 a.m. The high school start time was delayed by one hour to 8:35 a.m. in 2009. Elementary schools begin at 8:10 a.m. or later, except Newport Elementary, which begins at 7:55 a.m. (Wente, District 833 School board opts for ‘Band-Aid approach’ to transportation issues (May 28, 2012) Woodbury Bull.; Janisch, Updated: School Board Votes Against Changing School Start Times (May 25, 2012) Woodbury Patch; Wente, Parents sound off on District 833 school start time plan (Apr. 27, 2012) S. Wash. County Bull.; Spooner, South Washington County parents bristle at proposed school start, end time changes (Apr. 24, 2012) S. Wash. County Bull.; Spooner, Woodbury schools would be in line for time change under district proposal (Apr. 17, 2012) Woodbury Bull.; Spooner, District 833 could bump up middle schools’ start time to trim bus costs (Feb. 10, 2012) S. Wash. County Bull.)

Beginning in 2012-2013, the Stillwater Area Public Schools District will advance middle school start times by 10 minutes, to 7:50 a.m., and high school start times by 5 minutes, to 7:40 a.m. The plan will save the district nearly $300,000 in transportation expenses by utilizing a three-tiered busing system. Middle and high school students will ride first tier buses, and with the exception of Valley Crossing Community School, elementary school children will ride on the second tier, beginning classes between 8:40 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Third tier buses will transport students from non-public and charter schools, including St. Croix Catholic School (preschool–8th grade), New Heights School (grades 7-12), St. Croix Preparatory Academy (K-12), Salem Lutheran School (preschool–8th grade), and Valley Crossing Community School, to begin morning classes between 9:15 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. The St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center, designed for at-risk secondary school students, will retain its 7:45 a.m. start time. (Hogendorf, Stillwater Area Schools Start Times Will Change Next Fall (Mar. 23, 2012) Stillwater Patch.)

The Winona Area Public Schools school board is considering advancing the current 9 a.m. start time at Winona Senior High School to reduce 5th period absences among student-athletes. Board member Steve Schild said he thought the decision to have the older students start after the elementary students was based on research suggesting that teens have a harder time getting going in the morning, and asked that the board look at all of the factors before making any major changes. Board member Michelle Langowski explained that she thought parents preferred to have older students home when elementary aged kids left for the bus because it was easier to find childcare after school than before. The high school principal stated that there was “some evidence that when older students have a later start time, and parents aren’t home to get them on the bus, they are more likely to skip school.” A study undertaken by an instructor at the school found no adverse impact on student-athletes’ academic performance, despite as many as 15.1 school periods missed to attend sports contests. The school board is considering flipping high school and elementary school start times. The board acknowledged that studies show teens perform better when they start later in the morning and get a bit more sleep. District elementary schools begin at 7:45 a.m., the middle school at 9 a.m. (Squires, Redistricting tops school board discussion (Feb. 29, 2012) Winona Post; Squires, Students miss class time for sports, GPAs still up (Dec. 7, 2011) Winona Post.)

Two Eden Prairie Schools, Central Middle School and Eden Prairie High School, will advance start times to 7:50 a.m. In 2010, middle school students began at 9 a.m., high school students began at 7:55 a.m. The school hours pages reflects that the district’s six elementary schools (K-6) begin between 8:40 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. (Shaffer, Early to rise for CMS students this year (Aug. 31, 2011) Eden Prairie News.)

In order to save $220,000 in transportation costs, Lakeville Area Public Schools will advance start times at its secondary schools from unstated earlier times to 8:02 a.m. for Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools. Century and Kenwood Trail middle schools will advance to 7:24 a.m., Miguire Middle School to 8:09 a.m. (Knoll, Lakeville Tweaks School Start Times to Save $220,000 (Jun. 14, 2011) kstp.com.) Information obtained in a call to the district, however, indicates the high school start times are not new and middle school start times advanced by one minute.

MISSISSIPPI — In March 2013, the Hattiesburg Public School District announced that beginning in the fall, middle school start times will be advanced by one hour to 7:30 a.m. in order to free students for extracurricular activities. High school start times will be delayed to improve academic performance. (Ciurczak, HHS, N.R. Burger start times to change (Mar. 6, 2013) Herald-Index.)

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. 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. As in most districts, bus riders may arrive earlier (and rise earlier) than many of their peers. (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, Liberty Junior High (grades 8-9) and Liberty Middle School (grades 6-7) will advance start times from 8:10 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. while 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.” 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.) News of benefits to middle school students flowing from later start times has apparently not reached Missouri.

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Kansas City Public Schools has “swapped” high school and elementary school start times. High school students will begin classes at 7:25 a.m., elementary students at 8:35 a.m. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows high schools beginning classes at 7:20 a.m., middle schools at 8:10 a.m., and elementary schools at 8:10 a.m. or 9 a.m. (Oberholtz, Back-to-School Hotline open to help families (Aug. 8, 2011) KCTV5News.)

With bus schedules too close together, Parkway Schools students have been arriving late to class. On September 21, 2011, the Parkway Board of Education voted to advance high school schedules by 10 minutes, from 7:45 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. Parent Mark Dunlop observed, “teachers are saying, already, that kids are sleeping in class.” Some students cited case studies from other districts. Board member Bruce Major responded, “I can Google right now, and come up with research that will say just about anything. This isn’t an open debate.” Parkway Central High School Senior Alex Pinder collected more than 538 signatures on a petition opposing the change and asking that the school start be moved to the second tier, at 8:20 a.m. Matt Ney’s beverage of choice to stay awake at Parkway North was a daily Monster energy drink. “That was worst thing I could have done, but it was absolutely necessary,” said Ney, who had to arrive an hour before class to be involved in water polo and singing groups. “It was either that or fall asleep in class.” One parent stated, “Parkway has thrown our kids under the bus. Early start times lead to daytime sleepiness. We ask you to develop a plan that meets the real needs of students, not your financial constraints.” Parkway middle school schedules have been delayed. (Bock, Should school districts adapt to teen sleep patterns? (Aug. 11, 2014) St. Louis Post Dispatch; Shapiro, School schedule changes raise ire of Parkway parents (Sept. 26, 2011) stltoday.com; Calhoun, Dissent Doesn’t Defer Changes in Parkway Schools’ Start Times (Sept. 22, 2011) CBS St. Louis; Whitney & Biondo, Parkway School Students: Prepare To Wake Up 5-10 Minutes Earlier (Sept. 21, 2011) Chesterfield Patch; Biondo, School Bus Delays To Dictate 5-10 Minute Changes in Parkway School Day (Sept. 19, 2011) Chesterfield Patch; see, Start Times & Length of School Day (Nov. 1, 2010) Parkway School Dist. Task Force Rep.)

NEVADA — Mojave High School in the Clark County School District pushed 2012-2013 start times back to 9 a.m. from 7:30 a.m. Principal Antonio Rael reported the change was based upon “scientific research that continues to support the theory that teen high school students perform better when starting their academic studies later in the morning.” The 2011-2012 bell schedule shows other district high schools beginning as early as 6:50 a.m.; start times for middle schools range from 7:25 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.; elementary schools from 7:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The 2013-2014 bell schedule shows Mojave High School beginning morning classes at 8:40 a.m. and middle schools beginning classes as early as 7:15 a.m. (Radcliffe, Later Start Time for Las Vegas High School (Sept. 5, 2012) Yahoo Voices.)

In 2010, the Washoe County School District organized a bell schedule committee to develop new school schedules with the idea of saving money on transportation costs. While researching class scheduling, however, it became apparent to committee members that “middle school and high school adolescent minds perform best later in the morning.” The committee is now tasked with developing a school schedule that “provides the best learning opportunities for all children.” The district 2011-2012 bell schedule reflects district middle and high schools beginning at 7:23 a.m. and 7:40 a.m., respectively. The 2014-2015 bell schedule shows middle schools starting between 7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., and high schools starting between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Two K-12 schools, Gerlach and Picollo, begin at 9 a.m. Elementary schools begin between 8:25 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., except Natchez Elementary which starts at 8 a.m. (Washoe County School Dist., Washoe District Considers Changing School Start Times (Dec. 5, 2011) 2 News.)

NEW JERSEY — Clifton Public Schools has advanced the 2013-2014 Clifton High School start time by 10 minutes to 7:29 a.m. The district’s two middle schools begin at 8:07 a.m. according to the student handbook, 7:45 a.m. according to the district handbook. Most elementary schools begin at 8:50 a.m. (Antonacci, High schools’ early starts deprive students of crucial sleep (Sept. 3, 2013) New Jersey.com.)

Hillborough Township Public Schools is considering plans to (a) advance the middle school start time by 30 minutes to 8:42 a.m. to save $950,000 in transportation expenses; or, (b) advance the high school start time by 15 minutes to 7:15 a.m. and delay the start times at Auten Road Intermediate School by 20 minutes to 9:35 a.m. in order to save $1.7 million in transportation costs. Board member Thuy Anh Le “asked if school start times could change by ages of students. Younger kids usually are up and more alert early in the day, she said, where high schoolers — who tend to stay up later and have more extracurricular activities — tend to drag in the first part of the day.” Greg Gillette, chairman of the school board’s Operations Committee, responded that he agreed “in principle, but to start the high school day at 8:30 a.m., for instance, would throw it off schedule from other neighboring schools.” In addition, “with a later start, athletes, for instance, would lose too much class time at the end of the day in order to board a bus to travel to an away game.” (Robbins, HILLSBOROUGH: School start times may change (Jan. 30, 2013) Hillsborough Beacon.)

On November 19, 2012, the Cherry Hill Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to advance 2013-2014 middle and high school start times by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., respectively, despite “the impassioned plea of parents” opposing the change. Parents cite studies suggesting teens learn better with a good night’s sleep and worry that Cherry Hill students already are stressed out and sleep-deprived. The board approved the start time advance after contract negotiations with teachers resulted in the addition of 30 minutes to the school day. In a statement at its website, the district reports that the new schedule reflects its concern “about the impact on after-school activities, especially inter-scholastic sports at the high school level, if we added the time at the end of the day.” In addition, the district “considered the impact on students who have after-school jobs that help support their families and/or their college savings.” Retaining tiered busing was also a “key consideration.” Superintendent Maureen Reusche stated the township’s school system has a shorter day than “other high-quality districts in the state. If an opportunity [arises] to engage in quality instruction for a longer period of time, I’m going to pursue that. I don’t see how [starting earlier] is going to add more pressure on students.” In October 2013, after the 7:30 a.m. start time went into effect, student school board representative Lydia George-Koku stated, “Sleep deprivation has been described as a serious problem among all students at each grade level[.]” According to George-Koku, teachers and students feel like “collapsing” during class and by the end of the day they are “very drained.” Cherry Hill mother Sharon Ritz said she has noticed her son has been more tired than usual. Her son is in 11th grade at Cherry Hill High School East and sets two alarms to wake up on time. Susan Bastnagel, spokeswoman for the district, said the board and administration value feedback, but the change was made to provide increased opportunities for student learning. “The district believes strongly that additional instructional time is always beneficial,” Bastnagel said. But Cherry Hill resident Alan Stein, a scientist and father of three, said the district didn’t do its homework. “A change like this affects the community, the kids. It is worthy of a debate[.] Where is the evidence?”“A change like this affects the community, the kids. It is worthy of a debate[.] Where is the evidence?” In May 2016, school board member Kathy Judge reported the 7:30 was not expected to change “ever again — unless it’s mandated by the state.” (Romalino, School start time meeting draws little input (May 3, 2016) Courier-Post; Walsh, Tentative contract for Cherry Hill teachers (Jan. 21, 2016) Courier-Post; Dunn, For some, earlier school days are cause for alarm (Oct. 3, 2013) Courier-Post; Littel, Student School Board Reps Raise Early Start Concerns (Sept. 30, 2013) Cherry Hills Patch; Cherry Hills Public Schools (Aug. 2013) Frequently Asked Questions about the New Start Times for Secondary Students; Riordan, Controversy over Cherry Hill’s new earlier school day (Nov. 30, 2012) philly.com; Littel, Cherry Hill School Board OK’s Teacher Contract, Earlier School Day (Nov. 20, 2012) Cherry Hill Patch; Dunn, New teachers contract approved in Cherry Hill (Nov. 19, 2012) Courier-Post; Walsh, Earlier classes to benefit Cherry Hill student-athletes (Nov. 18, 2012) Courier-Post.) Department Chair and Professor of History and Education at New York University, Jonathan Zimmerman, wrote an editorial challenging the wisdom of the decision, asking readers to consider, inter alia, “[H]ow much virtue is there in sending all our kids to school before they’re awake enough to learn, just so some of them can play more sports? What does that say about our character as citizens, taxpayers, and parents?” (Zimmerman, Class time, not nap time (Nov. 28, 2012) philly.com.)

As part of an apparent effort to lengthen the school day, the Morris Plains School District will advance the 2012-2013 start time for Borough School (grades 3-8) by 20 minutes to 8:05 a.m. Mountain Way School (preschool, K-2) start times will also advance by 20 minutes, to 8:20 a.m. Superintendent Ernest Palestis said that the district is now closer to the state average in terms of the length of school days. (Mennen, New Start Times and Bus Routes for Plains Schools (Jun. 28, 2012) Morris Township – Morris Plains Patch.)

The Business Administrator/Board Secretary for Pequannock Township Schools has proposed a plan to advance the start time of Pequannock Township High School from 7:50 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. in order to save up to $250,000 a year on transportation costs. The school board president gave the go ahead to explore implementation of the proposed plan “in a viable way.” According to the 2014-2015 bell schedule, the high school begins at 7:30 a.m., the middle school at 7:50 a.m., and the elementary schools at 8:30 a.m. (Janoski, Pequannock looking to alter school opening times to allow for bus tiering (Dec. 14, 2011) NorthJersey.com.)

Following its designation as a “persistently lowest-achieving” school, Camden High School added 95 minutes to the school day, advancing start times from 8:20 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Assistant superintendent of Camden City School District, Andrea Gonzalez-Kirwin, commented, “The students had a hard time adjusting to going in early.“ Gonzalez-Kirwin believes the new schedule results in student tardiness because parents are dropping off the younger siblings first. (Vargas, A new (and longer) day: Camden High School adjusts to its new academic schedule (Oct. 2, 2011) philly.com.)

In the fall of 2011, in order to add 20 minutes of instruction to the school day, Pemberton Township Schools middle school start times were advanced to 7:35 a.m. and high school classes delayed to 8:20 a.m. During the previous school year, middle schoolers began classes at 8:20 a.m., high school students began classes at 7:35 a.m. In the fall of 2012, the district advanced the high school start time by one hour to 7:20 a.m. due to transportation issues. According to Superintendent Michael Gorman, “It was a failed experiment[.] What I thought would be very well received was in fact very poorly received[.]” At the time of the change in the school-opening time, Gorman said he was excited at the prospect, as more and more research was affirming the positive effect getting more sleep could have on the ability to learn. “ ‘If I had my way, it would be 10 a.m.,’ Gorman said, only half in jest.” The early results of the schedule change saw a boost in the honor roll membership, a decline in absenteeism, and a slight decline in discipline incidents. The rate of tardiness didn’t change much, but Gorman said that was to be expected. Overall, the early results appeared to be positive. But then the grown-ups began to complain. The later starts had an impact on after-school sports practices, specifically when the football team was forced to practice under the lights. Similarly, students working after-school jobs were pressed to make it to their jobs on time. According to Gorman, “The one that broke the camel’s back was parents who said that when younger kids were coming home, they really needed their older siblings to be there to take care of them[.]” With dozens of families speaking out at board meetings, the board ultimately reversed the change. (Friedman, N.J. Senate panel clears bill to have state study starting school day later (Nov. 13, 2014) NJ.com; Mooney, Backlash By Kids, Parents Among Obstacles To Later Start To Classes (Nov. 14, 2014) NJ Spotlight; Dunn, For some, earlier school days are cause for alarm (Oct. 3, 2013) Courier-Post; Zimmaro, Pemberton’s school schedule angers parents (Sept. 19, 2011) phillyBurbs.com.)

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Sparta Township Public Schools staggered middle and high school start times in order to reduce traffic caused by starting both schools at the same time. Sparta High School advanced its start time by 5 minutes to 7:10 a.m. Sparta Middle School Nauset High -- 635 a.m. -- Heaslipdelayed its start time from 7:15 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. (District unveils plans to spend windfall (Jun. 29, 2011) The Sparta Independent.) According the 2014-2015 school hours pages, the high school begins at 7:03 a.m., the middle school begins at 7:35 a.m., and the elementary schools begin at 8:25 a.m. (Mohalk Avenue, Grade 3), 8:50 a.m. (Helen Morgan, Grades 4-5), and 9:10 a.m. (Alpine, Grades PreK-2).

NEW MEXICO — In the fall of 2011, Las Cruces Public Schools delayed the middle and high school start time by 20 minutes to 9 a.m., as part of a plan to manage a smaller budget. For reasons not stated in news reports, in August 2014, these students will return to an 8:40 a.m. start time. Elementary school students begin at 7:55 a.m. (School’s back in session next week for LCPS (Aug. 7, 2014) Las Cruces Sun-News; Mata, As students head back to class, changes to be found (Aug. 14, 2011) Las Cruces Sun-News.)

NEW YORK — Pearl River Middle School in the Pearl River School District will advance its 2012-2013 start time by 15 minutes to 7:30 a.m. to create more time between the end of the classes and dismissal at the district’s elementary schools. The middle school buses are used at the elementary schools, so this makes it less likely that a delay at the middle school would leave elementary school students waiting. “The buses from the middle school pick up children at the elementary schools,” Pearl River Middle School Principal Maria Paese said. “When the buses ran late here, the elementary school kids were sitting around and waiting.” Classes at Pearl River High School begin at 7:34 a.m., elementary schools begin at 9 a.m. (Buncher, Pearl River Middle School Moves Up Start Time (Aug. 31, 2012) Pearl River Patch.)

The Comsewogue School District will advance 2012-2013 start times for JFK Middle School and Comsewogue High School by 10 minutes, to 7:36 a.m. and 7:10 a.m., respectively. Elementary schools will begin at 8:15 a.m. or 9 a.m. Start times were adjusted to address reconfiguration of classes for elementary school students under the Princeton Plan. (Glowatz, Comsewogue sets new school schedules (Jul. 25, 2012) Times Beacon Record.)

In order to accommodate an increase in the number of students being bussed for 2012-2013, Mineola School District Superintendent Michael Nagler has proposed three possible school schedules for the board to consider. One option would leave the high school start time at 7:26 a.m., while advancing the middle school start time from 7:55 a.m. to 7:49 a.m. A second option would leave the middle and high school start times intact, but modify elementary school start times. A third option would delay the middle school start time from 7:55 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. and the high school start time from 7:26 a.m. to 7:54 a.m. Hampton Street School would advance to 7:30 a.m. from 8:12 a.m. Otherwise, all three options would maintain post-8 a.m. start times for the elementary schools. Dr. Nagler noted, “There is a lot of research that would support younger students going to school earlier since the majority of them are up and about and the majority of high school students are not.” As of June 2015, the bell schedule posted at the district website reflects that only the middle school start time was changed; i.e., from 7:55 a.m. to 7:49 a.m. (Forestano, School Start Time Changes On the Table in Mineola (Mar. 2, 2012) Mineola American; Walter, Start Times to Change Again for Mineola Schools (Feb. 17, 2012) Mineola Patch.)

Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, the Webster Central School District will advance high school start times from 7:30 a.m. to 7:25 a.m. and middle school start times from 8:25 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. The district spotlight page (now expired) explained the reason for the change as follows: “This change is in response to national and state efforts to implement more rigorous academic standards through the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). CCSS provide guidance to schools across the state to help determine what students need to learn, know, and understand as they prepare for college and employment in the global marketplace.” (Rosenberry, Start times for all Webster schools to change next year (Dec. 11, 2011) Democrat and Chronicle: Webster Blog.) Again, the available evidence suggests the new schedules will undermine, rather than enhance, academic achievement, particularly for disadvantaged students. (See, e.g., EdwardsDo Schools Begin Too Early?, supra, 12 Education Next 3; Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7; CarrellMaghakian, & 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.)

Integrated Arts and Technology High School students receive “extra help” from teachers before and after school, and even on Saturdays. The student handbook reflects 8:30 a.m. as the school start time. The morning program begins “about an hour” earlier. (Lankes, City schools eye longer day for students (Feb. 7, 2012) Democrat and Chronicle.)

NORTH CAROLINA — Kannapolis Intermediate School (grades 5-6) in the Kannapolis City Schools District will advance its 2012-2013 start time by 15 minutes to 7:15 a.m. Principal Rob Knuschke explained the decision to change the school schedule as “the most logical choice since the middle school starts at 7:15 a.m. It’s early for kids, but the least intrusive for parents and the district.” A.L. Brown High School begins morning classes at 8:40 a.m., the elementary schools begin between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. (Campbell, Kannapolis Intermediate students starting school a week late (Aug. 23, 2012) salisburypost.com.)

For the 2011-2012 school year, three Moore County Schools high schools delayed start times to 9 a.m. from 8:15 a.m., improving student well-being and saving $600,000 in transportation costs. (Sharpe, School Start Times to Change (Jun. 9, 2011) The Pilot.) For the 2012-2013 school year, Union Pines and North Moore high schools will advance to an 8:30 a.m. start time as a means of resolving conflicts with extracurricular activities due to the 4 p.m. dismissal time. Pinecrest High School will advance 15 minutes to 8:45 a.m. Retaining current start times will be West Pine Middle (8:15 a.m.), New Century Middle (8 a.m.), and Crain’s Creek Middle (8 a.m.). Southern Middle School will advance 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. With the exception of West Pines Elementary which will retain its 7:45 a.m. start time, all elementary and primary schools will advance 15 minutes, starting at either 7:45 a.m. (Aberdeen Elementary, Southern Pines Elementary), or 7:30 a.m. (West End Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, Highfalls Elementary, Robbins Elementary, Westmoore Elementary, Aberdeen Primary, and Southern Pines Primary). Pinckney Academy Alternative start time will remain at 8 a.m. (Lussier, Moore schools start, dismissal times change (Aug. 17, 2012) Courier-Tribune; Lentz, Schools Change Some Start Times (Jun. 10, 2012) The Pilot.)

In June 2011, it was reported the Wake County Public School System, the 16th largest school district in the country, and the subject of Finley Edwards‘ seven-year study (Edwards, Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic Performance (Dec. 2012) 31 Economics of Education Rev. 6, pp. 970-983; Edwards, Do Schools Begin Too Early?, supra, 12 Education Next 3), might advance middle and high school start times by 5 minutes, to 7:25 a.m. and 7:20 a.m., respectively, in order to meet a new state minimum instructional time requirement. The district website reflects that for 2011-2012, middle schools began between 7:30 a.m. and 8:20 a.m., and high schools between 7:25 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. In February 2012, the district announced it would address a budget shortfall by modifying busing schedules beginning in the fall of 2012. According to the proposed 2012-2103 bell schedule, some middle schools, Daniels, Fuquay-Varina, and Lufkin Road, would delay start times from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. (Lufkin). According to the proposed 2012-2103 bell schedule, four high schools, Broughton, East Wake, Green Hope and Sanderson, will advance start times from 8:05 a.m. to 7:25 a.m. However, school board member John Tedesco is concerned about the proposed change, noting that research demonstrates later schedules best serve high school students academically. Board member Jim Martin, on the other hand, is persuaded that delaying high school start times would result in more teen driving accidents due to the increased traffic congestion at later hours. The research does not support Mr. Martin’s contention. (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; Danner & Phillips, Adolescent Sleep, School Start Times, and Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes (Dec. 2008) 4 J. Clinical Sleep Med. 6, pp. 533–535.) Five studies now associate high school start times of 8:30 a.m. or later with decreased rates of automobile accidents among adolescents, the leading cause of death in this population. (See, § III.D., supra.) The proposed 2013-2014 bell schedule shows that Broughton, East Wake, Green Hope and Sanderson did advance to 7:25 a.m., and all other high schools begin between 7:20 a.m., and 7:35 a.m., except for Knightdale High, which begins at 8:05 a.m. For Southeast High, the 7:25 a.m. start time represents a 10 minute advance. The same schedule shows middle schools beginning between 7:25 a.m. and 7:40 a.m., and between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Davis Drive Middle will delay by 45 minutes to 8:15 a.m., Lufkin Middle by 15 minutes to 8:30 a.m. Two middle schools, Centenial and Moore Square, will advance start times by 5 minutes to 7:30 a.m.; Apex Middle and East Garner Middle will advance by 15 minutes to 8:15 a.m., and Leesville Middle by 10 minutes to 8:15 a.m. Elementary schools all begin at 8:30 a.m., or later, except for Heritage (8:10 a.m.), and Millbrook, North Frst Pines, and West Lake (all 7:45 a.m.). In December 2013, district officials were advised that the rebuilding of the Raleigh Beltline will eventually affect 20 percent of Wake County school bus routes and schools across the district, “forcing changes in school start times for the next few years until the project is done.” Schools that start now at about 7:30 a.m., could start even earlier. Schools that start no earlier than 8 a.m. could start later. (Hui, Raleigh Beltline project to have major impact on Wake schools (Dec. 20, 2013) Eastern Wake News; Hui, Fewer Wake County school times to shift (Feb. 22, 2012) newsobserver.com [noting that North Garner Middle school would shift from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. rather than 8:40 a.m. as previously planned]; Hui, Wake County school board talking about school start times for high school students (Feb. 9, 2012) newsobserver.com; Hui & Goldsmith, Schools’ hours are in flux (Feb. 11, 2012) The Cary News; Hui, Wake may change school start and end times (Jun. 20, 2011) newsobserver.com; see also, Govan, Teens need sleep (Feb. 14, 2012) newsobserver.com.)

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.)

In 2011, it was reported the Warren Local School District Board of Education pushed back start times to 9:05 a.m. at Marietta High School in order to allow students additional travel time since school busing had been eliminated. Subsequently, however, the high school start time was advanced to 7:58 a.m. (according to the press), 8:05 a.m. (according to the student handbook). Superintendent Tom Gibbs said starting high school students later “would cause some pretty significant concerns with after-school activities[.]” (Bevins, Warren BOE changes schools start times (Jun. 18, 2013) The Marietta Times; Bevins, Getting to School (Aug. 1, 2011) The Marietta Times.)

North Olmsted City Schools is considering a plan to advance middle and high school start times by 25 minutes to 7:23 a.m. and 7:20 a.m., respectively. North Olmsted High School Principal Jeff Stanton and Middle School Principal Tom Dreiling proposed the idea as a means of increasing tutoring opportunities and providing teachers additional time for professional development. Stanton acknowledged that there is ample research about the negative effect of lost sleep on adolescents, but also noted that there are several high-performing schools in the area that start early, including districts such as Strongsville. (Noga, North Olmsted schools new start time plan raises concerns (Mar. 19, 2013) The Plain Dealer.)

In 2011-2012, Dublin City Schools pushed back the high school start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8 a.m. and middle school start times from 8:15 a.m. to 8:43 a.m. in response to studies showing sleep-deprivation among students. The elementary school schedule was further delayed, from 9:05 a.m. to 9:28 a.m. A school Reform Task Force recommended pushing back the high school start time following research demonstrating higher test scores and safer teen drivers associated with later start times. A budget shortfall, however, has resulted in a plan to modify the schedule in order to save $175,000 to $200,000 in busing costs. The 2012-2013 schedule has the high schools beginning at 7:55 a.m., the middle school at 8:28 a.m., and elementary school at 9:10 a.m. At the secondary school level, feedback from parents, students, and staff was positive. Elementary school parents, however, were unhappy with the 9:28 a.m. elementary school start time and 3:58 p.m. release time. (Noblit, District school day to start earlier this fall (Aug. 15, 2012) This Week Community News; Binkley, Proposed Dublin school cuts include new starting times, higher fees (Feb. 14, 2012) The Columbus Dispatch; Corvo, Later school day start and end times will begin this fall (Aug. 5, 2011) Columbus Local News.)

Richard Markwardt, Ph.D., superintendent of Beachwood City Schools, announced in a memo that middle and high school students will ride the same buses in 2012-2013, thereby potentially advancing middle school start times by 5 minutes to 7:45 a.m., and the high school start time by 20 minutes to 7:40 a.m. Three Beachwood High School (BHS) students attended the July 12, 2012, board meeting. Jon Sender, who will be a senior in the fall, said he was speaking on behalf of all three. Sender asked the board, “The overarching question is, what is the benefit to the students of BHS (to merge the bus routes and change the daily start time)?” In an e-mail to BHS students and parents, Markwardt said he had received “several” e-mails from high school students and parents asking the BHS daily start time not be changed. “The e-mails I received protesting the potential change in start time for the high school carry a common theme,” Markwardt wrote. “They cite research that indicates high school students perform better if they begin school later in the day. We are familiar with such studies. To fully realize the cited benefits, however, most high schools would need to move their start times significantly later in the day.” On August 1, 2012, Markwardt announced that the 2012-2013 schedules would be modified to advance high school start times by 10 minutes (rather than 20 minutes) to 7:50 a.m. and classes will be lengthened by 2 minutes. Students traveling via bus will be transported at the same time as last year. The 7:25 a.m. morning academy period will be retained and the middle school will start 5 minutes earlier, at 7:45 a.m. Markwardt offered this rationale for the new schedule: “The main focus of building a schedule for any school must be its positive impact on student learning. Please be assured that the principals and I see this year’s schedules as fulfilling that purpose. [¶] A secondary consideration relates to transportation.” (Wittenberg, School day to start earlier for most students in Beachwood school district in 2012-13 (Aug. 9, 2012) Sun News; Wittenberg, Beachwood High School students express concerns about proposed changes in daily schedule (Jul. 12, 2012) Sun News; Ferrell, Beachwood High School Start Time Discussed at Board Meeting (Jul. 12, 2012) Beachwood Patch.)

In response to the elimination of high school busing, and to allow students to be released at the same time, the Winton Woods City School District will advance the 2012-2013 start time for the Academy of Global Studies from 7:30 a.m. to 7:10 a.m. The Winton Woods Middle School start time will remain at 7:30 a.m. The start time for Winton Woods High School will be delayed from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. (Cleary, Winton Woods High School to Have New Start Time for 2012-2013 (May 15, 2012) Fox19 West Side.)

North Canton City Schools Business Manager Todd Henne has announced that the 2012-2013 start time for Hoover High School will advance five minutes to 7:20 a.m., and North Canton Middle School will advance ten minutes to 7:25 a.m. The changes were made to accommodate the “Unified Elementary Design.” (Day, A Goodbye From Longtime Administrator Ted Hall & More: School Board Quick Takes (Mar. 22, 2012) North Canton Patch.)

On January 17, 2012, Beavercreek City Schools advanced the start time of Beavercreek High School from 8:20 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. in response to budget cuts which reduced busing services. Ferguson Middle School start time has been delayed. (Sedlak, Some lament Beavercreek school district’s reduced bus service (Jan. 18, 2012) Dayton Daily News; Beavercreek Schools Transportation Changes.)

OKLAHOMA — Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Shannon Goodsell, Ed.D., plans to submit a proposal to the school board in June 2012 which would advance the high school start time from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Goodsell explained that the athletic conference “is a long way off, and our students often have to leave their fifth-hour class to make those athletic events, and the problem is that sometimes, those are some important classes[.]” Students fail classes if they miss 10 times. In addition, “our 9 o’clock start time is not conducive for our students who want to attend in the career-tech system; it just simply is prohibitive for them.” The district 2012-2013 school hours page notes an 8:10 a.m. middle school start time, 8 a.m. high school start time, and 8:10 a.m. elementary school start time. (Newton, TPS officials eye earlier start times (May 24, 2012) Tahlequah Daily Press; Newton, Classes to start earlier at THS next year (May 15, 2012) Tahlequah Daily Press; see also, Early start time is too early for some students (Sept. 11, 2012) Tiger Rev. [student commentary]; Blunt, Earlier school start time beneficial to students (Aug. 23, 2012) Tiger Rev. [student commentary].)

Putnam City Schools will advance high school start times from 8:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. in order to align school schedules with the schedules of the career tech sites serving district students. Middle school start times will advance 5 minutes to 7:40 a.m. as part of a plan to add 15 minutes to the school day. (Staff Reports, Putnam City changes schools’ start, stop times (Jun. 11, 2011) NewsOK; Staff Reports, Putnam City School District plans forum to discuss start, stop times (May 21, 2011) NewsOK.)

In June 2011, it was reported that in order to add 15 minutes to the school day, Tulsa Public Schools may advance high school start times from 9:10 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. (Vickers, Tulsa schools looking to lengthen days, shorten school year (Jun. 24, 2011) jkrh.com.) The plan adopted in July, however, calls for some junior and high schools to start at 8:15 a.m., with the remaining secondary schools beginning at 8:45 a.m. (Sims, Tulsa School Board Approves Uniforms, Schedule Changes (Jul. 21, 2011) Newson6.com.)

OREGON — In order to add additional instructional time to the school day, beginning in the fall of 2012, Tillamook School District #9 will advance junior high school start times from 8:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The high school start time will be delayed to 8:55 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. and 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]; see, Primary Schoolchildren That Sleep Less Than 9 Hours Do Not Perform as Well Academically, Study Suggests (Sept. 13, 2011) Science Daily.)

PENNSYLVANIA — In June 2013, McKeesport Area School District Superintendent Timothy Gabauer reported that the bell schedule would be modified to comport with the trend among Western Pennsylvania school districts, advancing secondary school start times and delaying elementary school start times. The high school start time was to advance by 10 minutes to 7:15 a.m., the middle school by 10 minutes to 7:55 a.m. (grades 7-8), and by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. (grade 6). The intermediate schools (grades 3-5) were to delay by 20 minutes to 8:45 a.m., and the primary schools (grades K-2) were to advance by 20 minutes to 9 a.m. “We had our elementary students getting out around 1:45, which is very early,” Gabauer said. “We had a situation where all of the younger students were getting home earlier than their older siblings. We looked at other districts around us, and there is more of a standard system where older students start first and the youngest finish last. Ours was not like that.” In the end, however, the proposed schedule was not implemented. (Vertullo, McKeesport Area adjusts school starting times for fall (Jun. 29, 2013) TribLive.)

In order to save transportation expenses, the North Penn School District will advance the 2013-2014 high school start time by 5 minutes to 7:21 a.m. In promoting the new bell schedule, Superintendent Curtis Dietrich asserted “the changes are so slight that [any] negative impact is minimal…. [¶] I spent a lot of time at North Penn High School in the mornings and realized that a majority of the students are already there at the new start time. NPHS, its students and staff are recognized as the best in the nation. I do not foresee a minimal change in school hours by minutes impacting student achievement. Our students and staff are committed to excellence.” District middle schools begin at 8:05 a.m., elementary schools begin at 9:10 a.m. (Lundquist, Bell Schedule Changes for 2013-2014 School Year To Affect 13 Schools (Apr. 25, 2013) The Knight Crier.)

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 high school begins at 8 a.m., 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. High school students would see their start time advance by 20 minutes to 7:20 a.m., 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. According to 2014-2014 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.)

In April 2012, Pittsburgh Public Schools announced a plan to save $1.2 million in transportation costs by advancing start times by as much as an hour. In May 2012, following parents’ complaints, the district amended the plan, proposing instead to advance start times by 30 minutes to 7:36 a.m. at Pittsburgh Allderdice, Brashear and Carrick high schools; SciTech 6-12; Milliones (University Prep) 6-12; Westinghouse 6-12 and grades 9-12 at Obama. Grades 6-8 at Obama would begin at 9:10 a.m. The start time at Perry High School would remain at 7:11 a.m. (Debate continues over starting time for city public high-schoolers (May 23, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Navratil, Plan to start high schools in Pittsburgh earlier is amended (May 19, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Chute, Some city schools to start earlier; fewer to use public transit (Apr. 10, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.) Wendy Troxel, a RAND corporation behavioral and social socientist, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, joined by more than 50 of her colleagues, cautioned the district against implementing even the amended plan. “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.” As to the cost/benefits issue, Troxel cited to the Brookings Institute analysis, which anticipates significant fiscal benefits to schools and students when middle and high school start times are delayed to “roughly” 9 a.m., before further noting: “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.” The 2012-2013 schedule posted at the Pittsburgh Public Schools website reflects a 7:11 a.m. start time for Pittsburgh Perry High School, 7:34 a.m. at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, and 7:36 a.m. for all other high schools and 6-12 schools. Elementary and 6-8 schools begin between 8:10 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. (Troxel, The high cost of sleepy teens (May 23, 2012) Pitt. Post-Gazette; see also, Conrad, Early start times at 6-12 schools make for pupils who are sleepy (Aug. 27, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Butters, Tired teens robbed of a fair shot (May 1, 2012) Trib LIVE.)

In April of 2012, Mahanoy Area School District Superintendent Joie Green asked the school board to consider eliminating bus stops within Mahanoy City and to advance start times for grades K-12 to 7:30 a.m., representing a 10 minute advance for middle and high school students. The matter has been tabled for administrators to evaluate the plan. Board members are concerned the new schedule may be too early for young students to safely travel. (Usalis, Mahanoy Area tables decision on eliminating school bus service in borough (Apr. 27, 2012) republicanherald.com.)

The Allentown School District will save as much as $1 million in transportation costs by advancing high school start times from 7:55 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Middle schools will start at 7:50 a.m. (Shelosky, Local District Changes School Start Times (Jun. 23, 2011) wfmz.com; Esack, Allentown schools may change start and end times (Jun. 10, 2011) The Morning Call.)

RHODE ISLAND — In a May 31, 2013 letter to parents, Susan Lusi, Ph.D., Superintendent of Providence Public Schools, explained the district had hired a “specialized firm [to] study our bus transportation practices. The firm recommended some minor scheduling adjustments that would allow us to use our buses more efficiently and save money.” According to the 2013-2014 high school bell schedule, these minor scheduling adjustments include advancing middle and high school start times to 8 a.m. The change represents a 20 start time advance at Central, Classical, and Hope, a 15 minute advance at E3 Academy; and a 10 minute advance at Alvarez. Birch, Mt. Pleasant, and Sanchez will remain at 8 a.m. PCTA will not alter its 7:30 a.m. start time. (Central, Classical, Mt. Pleasant, and Sanchez will each start at 9:25 a.m. on Wednesdays.) The bell schedule for the district’s 5 middle schools indicates that all schools — Bishop, DelSesto, Greene, Hopkins, Stuart, Williams — will begin at 8 a.m., a 6 minute start time advance. The elementary school bell schedule shows the district’s 22 schools will change start times from between 8:05 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. to 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. The schedule changes have been approved by the Providence Teachers Association. The savings are expected to exceed $2 million. (Press Release, Providence Public Schools Announces Plan to Adjust Bell Times for 2013-14 School Year (May 31, 2013) Providence Public Schools; Borg, New Providence busing plan to save more than $2 million (May 31, 2013) Providence J.; Raia, City schools to adjust bell times (May 31, 2013) WPRI.com.)

In order to save $500,000 in transportation costs, the East Providence School District will advance 2012-2013 start times for Martin Middle School and Riverside Middle School by 15 minutes to 7:55 a.m. East Providence High School will retain its 7:25 a.m. start time. (Crocker, Earlier Start School Start Times Slated for September (Jun. 20, 2012) East Providence Patch.)

SOUTH DAKOTA — The Dakota Valley School District is considering advancing start times by 15 minutes due to congestion on North Shore Drive and student sporting events occurring close to the end of the school day. Unknown is whether the change would be made to the high school/middle school schedule or the elementary school schedule. A Dakota Valley High School student journalist noted, “The fifteen minute earlier start time would not help what the average teen is said to be suffering from, sleep deprivation.” For 2011-2012, middle and high school classes begin at 8:25 a.m., the elementary school at 8:15 a.m. (Dick, To sleep or not to sleep (Oct. 2011) 2 Dakota Valley Panther Pride 1; Dakota Valley Elementary School Student Handbook, 2011-2012.)

TENNESSEE — Rossview Middle School in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) will advance its 2012-2013 start time from 7:30 a.m. to 7:24 a.m. according to a school representative and the local middle school PTO. The school website reports 7:20a.m. to 2:15 p.m. school hours. The PTO website previously reported the change was due to “transportation[.]” Homeroom and breakfast begin at 7 a.m. All CMCSS middle school websites reflect school hours beginning at 7:20 a.m.; high schools websites reflect 7:30 a.m. starts; Middle College, 8 a.m., and, the Alternative School, 7:30 a.m. Elementary school start times range from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

In October of 2011 it was reported that the Cleveland City Schools Board favored delaying its current 7:25 a.m. middle and high school start time to “the 8:30 a.m. range.” Board member Tom Cloud was on the committee when the 7:25 a.m. start time was adopted, but he has since seen his sixth grade niece waiting for the bus at 6:05 a.m. The Director of Schools, Martin Ringstaff, commented that was too early for children to be waiting for a bus. “Six a.m. is just crazy.” Board member Richard Shaw stated said research shows high school students get better results with more sleep. “I used to see kids sleeping in the halls. It doesn’t make any sense.” On December 5, 2011, the school board adopted the following start times for the 2012-2013 academic year: high school, 8 a.m.; middle school, 7:50 a.m.; elementary schools, 8:40 a.m. On June 4, 2012, rather than purchase another bus to address a transportation shortfall, at Ringstaff’s suggestion, the board advanced the 2012-2013 high school and elementary school start times by 10 minutes to 7:50 a.m., and 8:30 a.m., respectively. (Bowers, Fleet size hampers bus plan (Jun. 5, 2012) Clevelend Daily Banner; Higgins, Cleveland school day to start 30 minutes later in 2012 (Dec. 7, 2011) Chattanooga Times Free Press; Higgins, Cleveland, Tenn., schools to study start and stop times (Oct. 4, 2011) Chattanooga Times Free Press; Board Members Question Early Cleveland School Start Times (Oct. 3, 2011) Chattanoogan.com.)

TEXAS — A May 31, 2013 memorandum posted at the Spring Independent School District website advises that for 2013-2014, the district will advance the high school start time from 8 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. The Early College Academy will advance morning classes by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Roberson Middle School will advance its start time by 45 minutes to 8:15 a.m. The memorandum states the schedule changes were made “[t]o foster the most productive learning environment for student achievement[.]” All other middle schools will retain a 9 a.m. start time. Elementary school start times will be delayed by 30 minutes to 8 a.m. The available research suggests the new schedules will undermine, rather than enhance, academic achievement for high school students, particularly among the disadvantaged. (Edwards, Do Schools Begin Too Early?, supra, 12 Education Next 3; Jacob & Rockoff, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments, supra, pp. 5-11, 21, n. 7; CarrellMaghakian, & 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.) In addition, early start times substantially increase the likelihood of driving accidents among teenagers. (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.) The district memorandum reflects overwhelming parental support for the new schedule, suggesting political considerations outweigh student well-being and potential. (See, Wahlstrom, The Prickly Politics of School Starting Times (Jan. 1999) 80 Phi Delta Kappan 5, pp. 344-347.)

For the 2011-2012 school year, the Houston Independent School District considered advancing high school start times to 7:45 a.m., at least 30 minutes earlier than most campuses now begin. Parent protests, informed by Marta Fiorotto, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, may have caused the proposal to be defeated, 4-3. Nonetheless, five high schools — Barbara Jordan, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Davis, Furr, and Sam Houston — independently adopted the 7:45 a.m. start time for the “benefit” of students participating in extracurricular activities. More than 20 elementary and middle schools also “voluntarily” changed their schedules. For 2012-2013, superintendent Terry Grier, Ed.D., proposed saving $1.2 million in transportation costs, starting high schools at 8:45 a.m., middle schools at 7:45 a.m., and elementary schools at 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The plan was scrapped in April 2012 over “concerns” voiced by parents and elementary school principals worried about meeting the costs of before and after school care for young students. Grier advised that budgetary considerations would compel revisiting school schedules again in 2013. The proposed schedule would advance most middle school start times. (Mellon, HISD withdraws plan to change school schedules (Apr. 19, 2012) Houston Chronicle; Mellon, HISD: See how your child’s school schedule could change (Feb. 24, 2012) Houston Chronicle; HISD considers changing school start/end times (Feb. 23, 2012) ABC13; Mellon, Students, beware: School hours could change in HISD (Feb. 23, 2012) Houston Chronicle; Mellon, HISD won’t be tinkering with kids’ wake-up times (Jun. 9, 2011) Houston Chronicle; Mellon, HISD students might pay for budget woes with less sleep (Jun. 1, 2011) Houston Chronicle [nearby Cypress-Fairbanks ISD begins morning classes at 7:25 a.m.]; Walsh, HISD moves to uniform start and end times for school days(Apr. 11, 2011) Texas Watchdog.)

As part of a plan to cut $3.7 million from the budget, the Midway Independent School District is considering adopting a two-tiered busing schedule for 2012-2013. Plan A, favored by most parents, would advance middle and high school start times to an unstated hour. The 2011-2012 student handbook reflects a 7:50 a.m. middle school start time, and an 8 a.m. high school start time. The elementary school handbook reflects an 8 a.m. start time. The 2014-2015 student handbook reflects no changes; i.e., an 8 a.m. start time for high school and elementary school students, 7:50 a.m. for intermediate and middle school students. (Skinner, Midway ISD makes more plans towards final budget cuts (Feb. 21, 2012) News25.)

In early November 2011, the superintendent of College Station Independent School District announced a tentative plan to advance high school start times from 8:20 a.m. to 7:25 a.m. in order to eliminate bus routes and purchase fewer buses. The new plan was anticipated to save approximately $200,000 annually and an estimated $1.1 million over the next 3 years. On November 15, 2011, the board announced its decision to retain the current schedule for 2012-2013. The plan would have delayed middle school start times to 8:45 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.)

On October 3, 2011, the Lovelady Independent School District advanced start times for students in grades 7-12 from 8:10 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Since the cafeteria cannot accommodate all students (K-12) simultaneously, the change will allow younger students to eat breakfast before the morning bell; older students will breakfast at an unstated “alternate time.” (Lovelady Independent School District, Notice of Schedule Change.)

Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, McKinney Independent School District advanced start times for its three high schools to 7:30 a.m. A district representative advises that morning classes previously began at 9:15 a.m. (Graham, We’ve Got Two Options (Jan. 5, 2012) Essay Forum.)

UTAH — In the fall of 2013, after two years of starting at 7:55 a.m., three Jordan School District high schools, will return to earlier start times (Herriman High, 7:30 a.m., Copper Hills High & West Jordan High, 7:40 a.m.). Herriman High “didn’t see the results it wanted — struggling students coming early to meet with teachers. [¶] While some parents and students loved the later start because of the chance for more Z’s,” Herriman Principal Jim Birch says a survey last year revealed students were not getting any more sleep than before. “A lot of them said, ‘We go to bed later because we can get up later.’ “ (Moulton, Z’s to A’s: Do Utah students suffer from lack of sleep? (Aug. 11, 2013) Salt Lake Tribune.)

VIRGINIA — As part of a plan to save transportation expenses and increase instructional time for middle and elementary school students, Manassas City Public Schools will advance the Osbourn High School start time by 10 minutes to 7:20 a.m. Metz Middle School will retain its 7:30 a.m. start time, but add 15 minutes to the end of the school day. Mayfield Intermediate School (grades 5-6) will begin at 8:50 a.m., a 45 minute delay. The elementary schools will begin at 7:55 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. (Rogers, Manassas Schools to Have New Start, Dismissal Times in Fall (May 10, 2013) Manassas Patch.)

WASHINGTON — 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. (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.)

On June 11, 2012, the Olympia School District school board approved a new bell schedule advancing start times at Capital and Olympia high schools by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. Start times at two middle schools will be delayed. The start time at Jefferson/Marshall middle school will remain at 8 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.)

In 2012, the Seattle School 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. 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. Cynthia Jatul’s petition drive against the proposal garnered over 2,600 signatures. 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. The 2011-2012 bell schedule shows high school start times ranging from 7:50 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and middle school start times ranging from 7:40 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. (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) West Seattle Blog; Seattle Public Schools start times back in play – board meets tonight (May 2, 2012) West Seattle Blog.)

The Longview School District advanced start times by 10 minutes in order to accommodate 3 teacher training days. District middle school start times will now range from 7:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m., and high schools will now begin at 7:40 a.m. Superintendent Suzanne Cusick says she’s aware of research that suggests students learn better later in the day, but said she doesn’t believe the new start times are too early. (Garrison, Earlier start times set to kick in for Longview schools (Aug. 13, 2011) The Daily News.)

Yelm Community Schools reduced busing costs by advancing middle school start times to 7:25 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. (Huey, Yelm schools alter start times in fall (Jun. 10, 2011) Nisqually Valley News.)

WISCONSIN — In March 2013, the School District of Greenfield school board voted 4-3 to advance the middle school 2013-2014 start time by 12 minutes to 7:30 a.m., and to delay the high school start time by 20 minutes to 7:30 a.m. The changes were made largely to address academic deficiencies (the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction gave the high school a grade of 59.6 in student achievement) and tardies (9,671 first-hour tardies in 2011-2012) among high school students, with middle schoolers’ achievement and well-being not being part of the equation. 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.)

A plan to add 16 minutes of instructional time to the 2012-2013 school day in the Sun Prarie Area School District would advance start times at Prairie View and Patrick Marsh middle schools from 7:45 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. Start times for the high school and one middle school would be delayed. (Wittrock, Concerns raised about school start time changes (Apr. 5, 2012) STARONLINE.com.)

In late 2011, the Menomonee Falls School District considered advancing the high school start time from 8 a.m. to 7:14 a.m. in order to increase staff development time and reduce late period absenteeism due to extracurricular activities. On February 27, 2012, the school board approved a shorter advance, moving the morning bell forward by 10 minutes to 7:50 a.m. As between the two proposed start times, 62% of students favored the later start. (Bukowski, High schoolers to start earlier next year (Feb. 28, 2012) Menomonee Falls Now; Engelking, Rise and Shine! School Could Start Earlier Next Year at MFHS (Nov. 28, 2011) Menomonee Falls Patch [the middle school start time may be delayed.)

Baraboo School District Administrator Crystal Ritzenthaler advanced middle and high school start times by 15 minutes to 7:45 a.m. in order to increase instructional times and to allow for collaboration and training among teachers. (Bridgeford, Early to rise: Baraboo Schools change start times (Aug. 30, 2011) Baraboo News Republic.)

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with sleep deprivation at The Impact of School Start Times on Adolescent Health and Academic Performance.