Most students if asked would tell you that they wish school started later. Many studies have shown that a later start time for school can be quite beneficial for the students. I believe that school should start later due to many reasons that I will address.
For one, if school started later students would be able to get more sleep. At our age sleep is an essential part of our growth and development. Scientist say that teenagers should be getting about 10-12 hours of sleep per night. More sleep helps the teenage body regenerate and helps the brain develop. Also more sleep will help students stay alert and attentive during class. If students are engaged during class, then obviously they will do better. I have been told that school starts early in order to prepare us to wake up early for our jobs as adults. This does not matter because not enough sleep can cause health concerns, which is more important.
With a later start time students will be more willing to go to school. I would resent the thought of school just a bit less everyday if I didn’t have to wake up so early in the morning to get there, and I think most students would agree with me. When students are not mad that they have to go to school and are somewhat happy to be there, they end up learning more. This is because they apply themselves in a learning environment that they do not have a problem with. Some will say that students should be showing up to class either way, and although that is true, it is besides the point. The point is that some do not show up to class and with a later start time for school they are more likely to do so.
Many recent studies show that if school started later it would have extensive benefits for the students. One study shows that students are more likely to show up to class when school starts later. This is because students are less tempted to show up to school late or to cut class in order to get a nap in. Another study shows that most students even receive slightly better grades when school starts later. This is because the extra sleep helped them stay alert and attentive during class. These are legitimate studies done by universities, private scientists, and organizations around the country.
As I have restated multiple times, a later start time for school would be quite beneficial to the students attending. Administrators will say that it starts early in the morning to make room for sports, clubs and other activities. 1-2 hours taken away from these things will make little difference. I once again stress that the start time for school should be later
Mary Hamaker,Southborough parent, lawyer, and president of the Massachusetts Chapter of Start School Later, Inc.
Parents should take for granted that high school start time will be set to maximize the health, safety, and academic success of the students. The only discussion we should be having at this point is a collective conversation about the logistics to make that possible.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teens average 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Unlike adults, teens cannot fall asleep until around 11 p.m. That is because their bodies do not produce melatonin, the natural chemical that instructs the body to sleep, until around 11 p.m. Pre-8:00 a.m. start time does not allow for enough sleep.
When teens don’t get enough sleep, they risk serious health problems. Grades are also negatively affected. The negative effect of early start time on disadvantaged students is even greater. Schools seeking to bring up grades for disadvantaged students have an obvious solution: give kids more sleep.
Moving start time later has huge benefits. Students sleep more during the school week when classes start later. Students also get better grades. Attendance increases and tardiness decreases. Athletes have fewer sports-related injuries. Car accident rates drop.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in August 2014 that middle and high schools should not commence before 8:30 a.m. According to the Brookings Institute, moving start time 1 hour later provides a 9 to 1 benefit to cost ratio and showed more improvement in grades than other efforts, like reducing classroom size.
Logistical issues can be overcome. Communities in Massachusetts have done it. They have adjusted bus and athletic competition schedules, and the timing for extracurricular activities. Families reset their personal logistics. There should not be a need to stay up later for homework. Well-rested students are able to complete homework more quickly.
College classes typically do not start before 8:30 a.m. The US Air Force Academy showed grades increased with a 50-minute later start time. Stanford University dumped a proposal to start classes at 8:30 a.m. Instead, in fall 2015, most classes at Stanford will not begin before 9:00 a.m. Why are we making our teens start class before 8 a.m.?
Early high school start time is a terrible idea. Let’s adjust the dialog to solving the logistics. Change is challenging, but the innovative citizens of Massachusetts are up to this task. We can solve this.
Julia Zaino,Natick resident and mother of two children
My daughter is in first grade this year and my son is due to enter Kindergarten next year. While I’m appreciative of the School Committee’s continued effort to gather all the necessary information to make a decision about whether to change of school start times, I’m opposed to the change and think it’s time we find a different avenue to help our teenagers navigate the stresses of balancing life with high school. One that doesn’t result in a greatly negative impact to parents of non-high school aged children.
Specifically, many families will be faced with the burden of incurring additional financial costs, whether it be needing to sign their child up for the Early Risers Program, the After School Program or having to pay for their child/children to take the bus to and from school. These additional costs, especially for those families with more than one child in the school system, can add up to hundreds of dollars. With the potential for increased use of these school programs, there’s also the issue of increased staffing needing to take place.
Although the research presented in favor of the time change shows the benefits of additional sleep, it’s important to note that many articles also show that sleep alone is not the answer. Children at the high-school level are too connected and too scheduled. Simply changing the hours of the day they are in school doesn’t address the complexity of what it is during their after school hours that keeps them up until late hours of the night. Of note, I found it ironic that this past fall a before school fitness class was created for high school students. This seems a bit contradictory given all the information being provided concerning the need for adequate sleep.
As a close friend of mine said, “We are not broken.” In fact, in the past five years Natick has built a new high-school, created two new schedules and implemented new evaluation systems. All of this seems to be working well as we are being recognized as one of the top 50 high schools in the state. I firmly believe that other methods can be used to assist our high school students that will not impact the community of Natick as a whole.This question was posed by Globe correspondent Jennifer Fenn Lefferts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.