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Start Times for High School

In: People

Submitted By Starlessgrl
Words 2961
Pages 12
Gabrielle Anderson
Mrs. Marchbanks
LAL102-25
4 December 2014
Moberly Adolescents Would Benefit by Starting School Later
Morning after morning I find myself fighting the same battle, getting my son out of bed. Many times, I think he is awake and walk away only to come back and find he is snuggled back under is covers sleeping soundly. This doesn’t typically make for a good morning for either of us. In my own rush to get ready and out the door to work, my frustration builds. It is very difficult to hide frustration at times. He picks up on the stress and is put on the defensive while he is in his own rush to get ready and out the door. My frustration always came from a very practical standpoint. This young man is 18 years old, why can he not wake up to the six alarms he has set? He used to do such a good job at getting himself up, what happened? I would compare him to myself as a teenager. I didn’t have anyone to make sure I got out of bed and to school on time, I was responsible for myself. I knew it wasn’t right to compare two people, everybody is different. I then started thinking about the situations. What things in his life are different than mine at the time? There are many, but one that really stood out. I started school at 8:30 a.m. His school starts an hour earlier.
I only did a little research at the time, and it showed that teenagers, in general, require more sleep. I also talked to a few of my son’s friends and their parents. Krista Carden, a senior at Moberly High School, stated that she has to get up at 5:00 a.m. to start getting ready for school. This doesn’t leave much time for sleep after working at a convenience store in the evening or doing homework. Cindy Jenkins, the mother of a senior and sophomore, lives in the country and expresses concern about the busses, as well as her teenage drivers, being on winter roads before the street crews have been out. Even former students that I’ve talked to could see a problem. My step-sister, Roxanna Leavell, said of Moberly School District, “I think the start times are all backward.” She even mentioned that Columbia Public Schools changed their system a couple of years ago. A former student of Hickman High School, Meena Stockley, talked of her struggle in school. She spoke of her experience with early start times, “I was impossible to roll out of bed in the mornings. Enough tardies cost me an A+ scholarship and meant that I was sleeping through my first class. I also have been on buses that got stuck in snow/ice.” My practical mind tells me that schools should be mindful of this.
For the Moberly School District the solution might be quite simple. Currently the elementary schools start time is at 8:35 a.m. with an end time of 3:35 p.m. The middle school and high school begins at 7:35 a.m. and ends at 2:35 p.m. (Moberly School District) Since elementary school students typically go to bed earlier, and naturally wake up earlier, I propose that Moberly School District could switch the start times of the grade levels. This would mean that the bus routes would stay the same and there would be no extra cost to the school district involved. This solution would increase the performance of students, improve attendance, aid in proper nutrition, and reduce student stress. Although my son is extremely smart, his performance in school leaves a lot to be desired. Conversations about this lead to a repeated “I don’t know” when it comes to asking him what is going on. I started asking him about what time he goes to bed, as I think he should have televisions and video games turned off and be in his room by 10:00 p.m. in order to try to get the recommended amount of sleep. His responses surprised me since it is so hard for him to wake up. He stated that he is usually in his room attempting sleep by 10:00 p.m., sometimes as late as 10:30; however, he finds himself staring at the ceiling for quite a long time before being able to drift off. Lack of sleep tends to be a common factor among teenagers. Kansas City teenager Daniel Anderson, a senior Ruskin High School, said he slept in class a lot which resulted in numerous calls home. Kristal Whitaker, a junior at the same school, said she would not get to sleep until around 1:00 a.m. and have to start school at 7:20 a.m. Ruskin High School recently changed their start times and Anderson has already seen a difference, he is no longer drinking coffee or sleeping in class (McKean). These students are not alone, Richard Scwab, MD of the University of Maryland states, “Teenagers need more sleep than adults and their circadian rhythms are phase shifted so that their ideal bedtime is midnight to 1:00 a.m.; yet they have to get up at 6:30 a.m. or earlier for high school.” (“Start School”) Dr. Schwab conducted a survey of 280 high school students that attend Harriton High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The results of the survey showed that 78% had a hard time getting up in the morning, 90% assumed their academic performance would improve, 70% thought that grades would go up, and a mere 16% felt that they were regularly well rested. This survey also showed that many of the students did not feel that they were awake enough to test during early morning areas. Schwab also feels that school start times should be based on expected sleep cycles (“Start School”). Not only can lack of sleep affect a student’s performance but it can affect whether or not they get to school on time, but if they do at all. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation shows 28% of teenagers fall asleep during class. The poll also showed many were too sleepy to show up (Kalish). This problem can only be compounded in rural areas like Moberly. Many students that live out in the country do not drive. These students might have parents that work in another town, and those parents have to leave early in order to get to work on time. That would leave some teenagers without transportation to school if they wake up late. Another problem could be those students that wake up extremely late and figure it is pointless to attend classes at all if they have already missed half of the day. An article in the New York Times titled “The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade” addresses the issue of absences and informs us of how two schools have seen great results after moving their start times. It states, “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…” The same article states that some areas in Connecticut and Virginia saw similar results. It also mentions a school in Edina, Minnesota had a decrease in dropouts (Kalish). A small study at
St. George’s School in Middleton, Rhode Island showed that first period tardiness dropped by half. The students at this school were able to report more time in the morning to eat breakfast (Atkin). We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This stands true for people of all ages. While we are sleeping, our bodies are using energy to digest the food eaten earlier in the night. When we wake, our blood sugar levels are typically low and we need that first meal of the day to level them out. In the event we miss that morning meal, our bodies tend to use stored up reserves of energy (“Breaking the Fast”). The extra energy burned leads to increased hunger which can be very distracting for students. This can also lead to poorer food choices for them. These poorer food choices can then lead to weight gain. Weight gain can then lead to much more serious problems such as obesity, eating disorders, and depression. Breakfast is also necessary for brain function. Dr. Andrew Wiel, a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona says that a good breakfast that contains some fat and a third of the needed daily protein will give a brain the necessary fuel it needs. This meal should also have carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index (Is Breakfast…?). This means that many grab and go meals such as pop tarts or cinnamon rolls are not a good choice for teenagers heading out the door in a hurry. Those types of meals that are eaten on the run could lead to other problems as well, such as distracted driving. A survey of 1,999 teenagers between the ages of sixteen and nineteen concluded that 86% of those teenagers drive distracted. This includes eating, applying makeup, talking with friends, and texting (Copeland). The problem is only compounded when drowsily driving teenagers are added in. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a study in 2010 showed that sleepy drivers are twice as likely to crash. This same organization published another study in 2011. These results showed higher rates of auto accidents in those teens that started school earlier in the morning. A 2008 study showed a 16.5 percent drop in crash rates for a county that changed their starting time by an hour later. (Drowsy Driving) This type of result is not unusual. Jackson Hole High School saw a whopping 70% decrease in their adolescent involved crashes (Baker). As with anything, there are potential oppositions to a later start time for Moberly Middle School and Moberly High School. I’m sure many of the parents would be concerned about the cost of such a change. My solution to this problem was already mentioned. There would be little to no cost involved in switching the start times of the elementary students with the ones that attend the middle school and high school. Unfortunately, this raises a different type of problem concerning child care for those elementary students. Some parents might rely on their older children to take care of the younger children after school until they arrive home from work. While this isn’t an ideal situation for them, there are solutions to the problem. An after school program is offered by the YMCA. They charge $26.00 per week for members to use the program, and $34.00 for non-members to use the program. The daily cost calculates to $5.20 per day for members and $6.80 for non- members. They have developed a curriculum that includes homework support (YMCA). If this isn’t affordable, the YMCA even offers child care assistance, based on income and family size, which would reduce this cost. Timberlake Christian Church also offers an after school program. This one includes transportation to the church, snacks, tutoring, play time, and a bible lesson. It is led by a former teacher who has been working with students for over thirty years. This program costs $60.00 per month, which averages out to about $3.00 per day. It’s likely the same amount would be given to teenagers to look after their brothers and sisters. Another argument against a later start time for the middle and high schools could be that they should be getting prepared for the real world by getting up early and having to take care of their responsibilities. The problem with this line in thinking is that it’s just not that simple. Teenagers do not have a choice in their sleep patterns. As I mentioned before, the circadian rhythms in adolescents is shifted. They have a hard time falling asleep before 11:00 p.m. Students in middle school and high school also have homework to do in the evening, and sometimes part time jobs. While adults do have responsibilities after work, is asking our children to grow up so fast the right thing to do? One huge opposition could be that sports and other practices as well as any academic clubs would be affected by the later release date and with that, the students would have less time at home with their family. While it is true that the time for these activities would have to be adjusted, there is always some sort of sacrifice involved in extracurricular activities. These students might be the few that need to attend and early meeting or practice. Shawn Wetrich, the mother of two boys that are active in sports, stated that there were times as it stands that her boys did not get home until around 7:30. If the practices were adjusted to a two hour slot that were scheduled at 4:00 p.m. in order to give the students time to change after school the students would be home shortly after 6:00 p.m. This is a good time frame to have dinner with the family. The biggest concern that I have been met with is parents thinking that if after school activities run later, that students will stay up later to do homework. Mrs. Wetrich said, “I know my boys would stay up longer which definitely defeat the purpose.” When I asked another parent if he thought later start times would affect sports practices, Bobby Huffman replied, “It wouldn’t affect practice...it would affect homework. Homework would keep them up later.” This does seem like a very valid concern. Putting the parental responsibility of ensuring their children go to bed on time aside, there is evidence that adolescents do use the extra time for sleep. The University of Minnesota administered a sleep habit survey with a variety of students in the Minneapolis School District in two different years. The same survey was given to students in another school district with similar demographics. The survey concluded that the average student went to bed at about 10:45 p.m., which is the same time that was reported before the school changed to a later start time. Those performing this study believe that this is due to the circadian rhythms causing the adolescents to be tired around that time (Wahlstrom). I’m sure the potential arguments haven’t all been covered. It is certain there will be parents who oppose a change because it conflicts with their current schedule. There are solutions to every problem. Pediatrician Judith Owens, MD of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states “Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today.” The AAP advocates 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep, education regarding healthy sleeping habits, and a start time for schools of 8:30 a.m. or later (“Let Them Sleep:…”). The problem of lack of sleep and early start times is a serious one. One organization was formed just to increase public awareness so a change can be made. StartSchoolLater.net provides links to news articles, studies, and academic publications to support their cause. There is even a section on their website that consists of success stories. The evidence is overwhelming that Moberly Middle School and Moberly High School Students would greatly benefit from a start time of 8:35 a.m. It is time we make the well-being of our children a priority and give serious consideration to this change.

Works Cited
Atkin, Hannah. "Study: Students Benefit from Later Start to School Day." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 6 July 2010. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.
Baker, Steve. "Students' Grades and Health Improve with Later High School Start Times."University of Minnesota. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.
"Breaking The Fast: The Timing And The Contents Of Breakfast Make It Perhaps The Most Important Meal Of The Day." Harvard Health Letter 36.8 (2011): 4-5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
Carden, Krista. Personal Interview. 24 Nov. 2014.
Copeland, Larry. "Most teens still driving while distracted." USA Today n.d.:Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.
"Drowsy Driving & Teens." Sleep Education. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.
Huffman, Bobby. Personal interview. 28 Nov. 2014.
"Is Breakfast Really Necessary?." Prevention 66.11 (2014): 136. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
Jenkins, Cindy. Personal Interview. 23 Nov. 2014
Kalish, Nancy. "The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
Leavell, Roxanna. Personal interview. 23 Nov. 2014.
McKean, Meryl Lin. "Doctors Recommend Later School Start Time for Teens; Hickman Mills Makes Change This Year." Fox4kccom. 25 Aug. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.
Moberly School District. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <http://moberly.k12.mo.us/>.
"Start School Later." Start School Later. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://www.startschoollater.net/>.
"Start School Later In The Morning, Say Sleepy Teens." Pulmonary Reviews12.7 (2007): 10. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
Stockley, Meena. Personal Interview. 23 Nov. 2014.

Wahlstrom, Kyla. "Changing Times: Findings From the First Longitudinal Study of Later High School Start Times." College of Education. University of Minnesota. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://www.cehd.umn.edu/carei/publications/documents/Bulletin200212Wahlstrom.pdf>.
Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.randolphareaymca.com/index.php/child-care/before-a-after-school-programhttp://www.randolphareaymca.com/index.php/child-care/before-a-after-school-program>.
Wetrich, Shawn. Personal interview. 28 Nov. 2014.…...

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Schools Should Start Later

...of teenagers today is hampering high school students' achievement. To accommodate for teens' sleep needs, high schools should start later in the day than they do now (based on review of several newspaper articles, it appears that most schools starting times range from 7:00-8:30 a.m.). This action would better satisfy the sleep needs of teenagers, improve their academic performance, be beneficial for families of elementary school students, and increase safety. Delaying the high school schedule, even if only by half an hour, would be beneficial to the sleep needs of teenagers. Studies have shown that after puberty, teenagers require more sleep (about 9.5hrs) but get less sleep (about 7.5hrs). (1) Mary Carskadon of Brown University performed an elaborate scientific study on the sleeping patterns of adolescents. (2) Her research, later verified by other studies, found that not only do teenagers need more sleep, their sleep patterns shift. (3) After puberty, teens' circadian rhythms shift into a delayed phase. Indicators of the circadian rhythms other than the sleep-wake cycle , such as temperature , hormone secretion , and melatonin level , all start and end later in the day than when they had prior to puberty. This is why teenagers would do better to go to bed later and to wake up later. Of course, it would be best for them to use the extra time to get more sleep, but it would be inevitable that several students would just push back their bed time and wake up later. Even if......

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Why High School Should Start Later

...Cooney May 15, 2012 College English/Surinak Senior Research Paper Period 2 Wake Up Later and Your Grades Will Be Greater High school is a part of every teenager’s life whether they like it or not. Although it is not a requirement; most, if not all, teenagers will experience at least one year of high school. With the experience of high school, students will also go through waking up early sometimes at five or six a.m. The starting time of high schools has been highly debated for several years. Those who debate this topic usually dispute on whether or not changing the time would be beneficial. Psychologists estimate that as many as 30% of children may have a sleep disorder at some point during childhood. Sleep disorders have implications both for social-emotional adjustment and for school performance. For this reason it is important for both parents and educators to understand how sleep works and how disruptions in normal sleep patterns can affect children and teenagers. Starting school just a half an hour later would benefit the most families and students, and also to accommodate for teens' sleep needs. One of the main beneficial topics to argue for starting school later is attendance. Schools should start later because it is proven that students will have higher attendance. If students can get more sleep, they are more likely to attend school on a regular basis. Studies have shown that after puberty, teenagers require more sleep, around nine and a half......

Words: 1990 - Pages: 8

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