I just ran across an interesting article about school start times. This isn’t particularly surprising but, according to a recent study, delaying the start of school by as little as half an hour would significantly benefit teens.
During a two month trial in Newport, Rhode Island, researchers found that delaying the start of school from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM resulted in significantly more sleep for teens. In fact, the number of students getting by on less than seven hours dropped by nearly 80%, and the number of students sleeping at least 8 hours increased from 16.4% to 54.7%.
Other benefits of the later start included increased alertness and fewer students reporting that they were too tired for schoolwork or sports. In addition, fewer students reported feeling unhappy, depressed, irritated, or annoyed, and fewer students skipped class or showed up late.
When I was a kid, high school students started earliest, with middle school students starting a bit later, and elementary school students starting last. In our current community, however, the reverse is true: elementary kids start at 8:00 AM, middle school at 8:30AM, and high school at 9:00 AM. All in all, this seems to work well.