As a working mother of a teenage student, I cannot support moving the start time of school to after 8:30 am. School currently starts at 7:20, which means that I can drop my freshman student off at 7:00, on my way to work, and ensure that she has made it to school.
She works after school at a part time job so that she can afford to buy some of the luxuries she wants. Moving the start time of school to later would mean that she wouldn’t be able to get to work until later, which means she wouldn’t be home until later, and then when is she supposed to get her homework done and unwind?
My daughter has worked hard to make the junior varsity softball team. A later start to school means that practice would start later, games would be later, and she would not have enough time to participate in the sport she loves, do her homework, be social with her friends, work a part time job, and still get to bed at a decent hour.
Our family schedule already accounts for early mornings. She wakes up at 5:30, drags herself out of bed to get ready for school or to finish homework she didn’t get done the night before, and has to be ready to leave by 6:45. Moving the start time later will be terribly disruptive to our family schedule and will be a huge inconvenience.
Moving high school’s start time to after 8:30 a.m. will have huge benefits for our teenage students. As a high school principal, I watch exhausted students stumble sleepily onto campus trying to get to that 7:20 class on time. They are in no shape to learn as they are drained physically, mentally, and emotionally from a lack of sleep. They stay up late and wake up too early. Teenagers’ internal clocks tend to shift during puberty, making it difficult for them to fall asleep early and necessitating that they sleep later the next morning.
More rest for students means better attendance, higher test scores, and fewer sports-related injuries. Students who are well-rested are more focused and alert. They are happier, healthier, and make better decisions that when they are sleep-deprived.
For the good of our students, we must push the start of school to later in the day.