Later School Start Time Improves Grades?
I think I speak for all the teenagers in the world when I say, “Let’s do it!”
Research shows that teenagersâ€™ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they donâ€™t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates. […]
In 2002, high schools in Jessamine County in Kentucky pushed back the first bell to 8:40 a.m., from 7:30 a.m. Attendance immediately went up, as did scores on standardized tests, which have continued to rise each year. Districts in Virginia and Connecticut have achieved similar success. In Minneapolis and Edina, Minn., which instituted high school start times of 8:40 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively in 1997, studentsâ€™ grades rose slightly and lateness, behavioral problems and dropout rates decreased.
Later is also safer. When high schools in Fayette County in Kentucky delayed their start times to 8:30 a.m., the number of teenagers involved in car crashes dropped, even as they rose in the state.
Again, I’m convinced. Let’s get the wheels rolling.
No, but seriously, this makes sense for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it feeds into my belief that just because we’ve always done it one way does not mean that’s the right way. In the end, if such a small change can help us get our kids a little bit smarter, then why not?