The Benefits of Starting School Later

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2 pages /

1041 words

Downloads: 35

2 pages /

1041 words

Downloads: 35

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In a society where more is expected from teenage students and schoolwork is harder than that from generations before, it is necessary for the school day to start and end at later times. Early start times have created negative psychological effects in teenage students. Not only that but other schools throughout the country have made it possible to have a later-starting school day without having to get rid of their athletics program. Early starting times have been proven to cause lower performance levels in students as well. All in all, it is possible to start school at a later time while keeping the school’s athletics program as well as improving the welfare and being of each student and their future.

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Biologically, a teen’s body cannot start winding down at seven o’clock at night like a normal adult. Physically, it takes longer for someone of his or her adolescence to fall asleep until much later at night. So with teens falling asleep late at night and waking up on average around six o’clock in the morning, it is difficult for teens to get a sufficient amount of sleep (Stanford). Teens receive on average about 6.5 hours of sleep a night. In the age of adolescence, teens should be receiving at least 9.5 hours of sleep. Science Daily surveyed 280 teen students and found that “78% of students said it was difficult to get up in the morning…Only 16% said they regularly had enough sleep…70% thought their grades would improve if they had more sleep…[and] 90% thought their academic performance would improve if school were to start later.” Not only that but these “surveyed teens said they did not feel alert while taking tests during early morning periods, and they do not think they can perform at the pinnacle of their ability during the early morning hours.” Not only would postponing the school day help teens get more sufficient sleep, it would prevent teens from suffering from harmful psychological effects as well.

Psychologist James B. Maas of Cornell University believed that “almost all teen-agers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep.” Even some of our nations best sleep experts believe that teenage students need more sleep in order to function properly during the school day. Sufficient sleep is key to better performance levels among students, which will eventually lead to better grades (Carpenter, APA). Studies have been conducted in states across the country to see if later starting times are really better for students. Some schools in Minnesota have changed their starting time from 7:15 to 8:40 or from 7:25 to 8:30. Statistics had shown that “students at a school with a 8:37 AM start time slept about one hour more, had less difficulty staying awake in school, and had better grades than students at a school with a 7:15 AM start time” (Cline, Psychology Today). Even though students have shown improved functioning and better grades, people have complained that the later starting time interferes with sports and parents schedules.

One problem people find with having a later school day is that it interferes with the afterschool sport program. But for sports teams that would have normally started afterschool, it would only make sense to move practices or meetings to take place before school starts, when the normal school day would have started. Afterschool activities can also be integrated into a student’s school day schedule. Take Choral Spectrum of South Windsor High School for example. Normally, school groups like Choral Spectrum would have rehearsals after school and competitions other times. But instead of having rehearsal afterschool, Choral Spectrum counts as a class and takes up a class period during the school day to anyone who is in it. Also, the South Windsor High School Hockey team holds practices before school starts because it is more convenient for the team and their members. No one would want to take the Athletics program out completely, but a teenager’s academics should come first and foremost.

To solve some questions and problems that arise, here is a proposition. Many people wonder what an appropriate starting time would be for the high school to start at. Instead of moving all of the school district schedules back with the high school’s new one, why not just switch the high school starting time with the elementary school’s. This way the bussing schedule wouldn’t have to be changed at all. Switching starting times with the elementary schools could actually “improve the learning of elementary students as well. Unlike teenagers, younger children tend to learn better earlier in the morning.” But with switching the high school starting time with the elementary school starting time, another problem arises. Working parents of young children worry about their kids being home alone for too long while they are still at work. However, many working parents still wouldn’t be home in time for their kids to get out of school with the current schedule as is. Plus, there are plenty of afterschool daycare options that parents can take advantage of. Also, some parents find it hard to get to work on time in the morning with the current elementary schedule. So by switching schedules, this would actually clear up that dilemma (Thinkquest). Teen students wouldn’t be the only ones gaining from this time switch. The new starting time would benefit the learning of elementary students and working parents as well.

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If having a later starting time is going to help improve attendance and grades among students then their should be no question as to whether we should have a later starting time or not. Not only does the early starting time hold students back from working to their full potential, but it’s also not healthy. Other schools have tried using a later starting time and have found that it has actually improved the performance among their students. In addition, it has benefitted the learning of elementary students when the high school and elementary schedules were switched. If South Windsor were really for the better learning experience for their students then starting school at a later time should be the first thing on the agenda.

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The Benefits Of Starting School Later. (2019, January 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“The Benefits Of Starting School Later.” GradesFixer, 28 Jan. 2019,
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