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Later School Start Times Produce Positive Results in District’s Students Despite Imperfect Implementation

Later School Start Times Produce Positive Results in District’s Students Despite imperfect Implementation

Across the country, more and more districts are heeding research on adolescent sleep cycles and are delaying school start times for their benefit.

In Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, it was one student and her peers who helped to jump start the conversation on adolescents needing more sleep, and thus far the benefits have been tangible.

Jilly Dos Santos, according to The Seventy-Four, used research and data to urge her school district to push back school start times from the intended 7:20 a.m. a few years back.

"After heated debate over two months, officials voted to move the start time at Columbia’s four high schools from 7:45 a.m. to between 8:55 and 9:10 a.m., giving students an extra hour-plus in the mornings,” the article said.

Ever since, the school district has reported unexpected but welcomed improvements among its students.

According to Superintendent Peter Stiepleman, the district has seen both decreased suspension rates and increased graduation rates. From just 2012 to last school year alone, the school saw an increase in graduation rates from 82.7 percent to 90.2 percent.

After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adolescents who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to underperform in school, so it makes sense that well-rested students improve; in the 2011-2012 school year, the CDC found that two out of three high school students simply weren’t getting enough sleep.

Though the shift to later start times has resulted in positive gains for students, there are still some loose ends that come with the change.

"For a relatively small group of students, officials said, instruction time is lost because high school athletes leave class early to travel to games in districts with traditional schedules. Some students with after-school jobs are pinched to get to them on time."

The article also mentioned that the district had started holding sports and activities meetings in the mornings, but made no mention on whether that requires students to wake up early and defeat the purpose of later start times.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/12/2016

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