Delay the start of the school day

Sierra Hernandez, Writer

Schools all around the country are coming to the same realization. Teenagers need sleep. As a result of this realization, many schools are pushing back the start of the school day to after 8 a.m.

Many schools in neighboring states (New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) start the school day later, while some schools within Vermont start the school day at 7:30 a.m.  Studies that have been done across the country show that students who attend schools that start after 8 a.m. tend to be happier, do better in school, and they get more sleep at night allowing them to be awake through the whole day.

At NCCS in New York school doesn’t start until after 9 a.m. every day.  Danielle Perez, (NCCS ‘16), currently attends the school. “The school day goes from 9:11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. everyday,” Perez said.

At BFA the students start at both 7:30 a.m. and 8:10 a.m., depending on the day. The later start to the day is given at BFA to allow the teachers to have a collaboration period twice a week. The students however, really reap the benefits as they get to sleep in later and school even gets out a minute earlier.

“They estimated that delaying middle and high school start times from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. would increase academic achievement by 0.175 standard deviations, with a corresponding increase in student lifetime earnings of approximately $17,500,” Terra Snyder, (Ed Week reporter), said.

The later start time to the day allows for students to wake up when some students are leaving for school. “I get up at 7 a.m. and leave for school at 8:30 a.m.,” Perez said.

At BFA, students are starting their second period of the day by 8:30 a.m. This means that when BFA students are getting ready to switch to advisory, students at NCCS are just beginning their first class of the day.

“Tolerating baby steps is equally negligent, given that we’re dealing with human lives,” Snyder said. Changing the school start time is just a small step in bettering the upcoming generations and allowing them to truly get the most out of their lives.

When the school day starts before 8 a.m, students are forced to get up in the middle of their deepest sleep, leaving them as if all they had done was take a nap. “Teens tend to be in their deepest sleep around dawn – when they typically need to get up for school. Interrupting that sleep can leave them groggy, especially since they also tend to have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m.” Hannah Atkin, (CBS News Reporter), said.

For the teachers there are some different factors that play into the school day start and end times. “The benefit of teaching earlier is that we can potentially leave earlier in the day. For those of us who commute, however, it can mean that we may have to wake up earlier in comparison to our colleagues who reside in St. Albans,”  An unnamed BFA teacher said.

Often times, people forget that not everyone who attends a school or works in that school lives in the town that the school was built in.
Though some students feel that even leaving at 8:30 a.m.  still doesn’t give them enough time to eat a healthy breakfast without first having to wake up before 7 a.m.  “I’m not able to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning before school without feeling rushed,” Perez said.

In order for students to be able to get the breakfast that they need to be able to be successful school needs to start by 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Giving students the ability to wake up with more than an hour before they have to leave is very important for the entire day.

“Shifted circadian rhythms make 7 a.m. in teens (and younger teachers) equivalent to 4 a.m. in their parents,” Snyder said. For staff that lives far away they could be getting up as early as 4, leaving them just as tired as the students they’re teaching.

Starting later at BFA would allow for both students and teachers to be given more time to eat a healthy breakfast and feel more prepared to take on the day ahead of them