Part of the Bay Area News Group

Getting enough sleep?

By Linh Tat
Thursday, September 25th, 2008 at 3:38 pm in Education, Fremont Unified, New Haven Unified, Newark Unified.

Last night, the Fremont school board discussed whether classes should start later, at least at the high schools. (For the district staff report, click here. The report starts on page 80.)

Some studies suggest that teenagers are biologically wired to sleep later, and when they’re forced to wake up early for school, they’re less attentive.

In response, the New Haven school district last year delayed the start time at all the schools. After the schedule change, James Logan High went on to post a 7-point gain on the state Academic Performance Index. The school’s score had dropped by as many points the year before. 

(By the way, Logan’s first period begins at 8:40 a.m., and seventh period ends at 3:30 p.m. Other high schools in the Tri-City area start between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. and end by 2:45 p.m.)

I don’t know if anyone can say definitively that the new schedule helped Logan improve its standing on the academic index. At least it didn’t seem to hurt the school’s scores.

Of course, there are pros and cons to starting school later. Questions remain about how this might affect parents who must drop their kids off at school before work, student athletes who might have to leave school early to make it to games, and how this would impact the work day for school staff members.

Fremont school board members expressed some interest in researching the issue further, but the majority weren’t embracing it wholeheartedly. Next, the district will ask members of its Parent Representative Advisory Assembly if they feel this is an issue worth exploring further.

What do you think? Would a later start time at any of the grade levels be better for students? Parents? Teachers? I’d love to hear from New Haven students and staff who know what it’s like to start school later. Also, if you’re interested in being interviewed, e-mail me at ltat@bayareanewsgroup.com.

image from tapasparida's site at flickr.com.

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  • Jon Simon

    It is good for the kids, though an even later start would probably be better. It will likely mean an earlier start for elementary schools due to bus scheduling. Many teachers and parents will hate the schedule change while most won’t care.