ZZZ's to A's
What School Administration
Can Do To Help
by Sarah Umberger
What You Can Do
The purpose of school is student learning. We need to provide the best possible environment to allow students to get the most of their education.
Researchers emphasize the importance of increasing public awareness of the impact of sleep on learning and behavior. One way to do this is to develop legislation that will ensure high schools do not begin before 9:00 a.m. in order to help reduce sleep deprivation and increase academic performance.
Problems to Consider
With any change, there are bound to be critics and problems that arise, and this issue is no different. Some of the concerns raised include questions about early dismissal for atheletes, actual bedtime of students, working students and bus schedules.
One of the main concerns that results from adjusting the start/end time of the school day is in regard to student atheletes. Currently, these students are already dismissed early in order to travel to games. With the later end of the school day, these students will likely miss more class time. While this is the case, no data from research regarding the changes in Minneapolis showed that students did not decrease involvement in sports as a result. Many teachers object to early dismissal, as it removes students from the classroom, causing them to lose valueable class time.
Another concern is the actual bedtime of students. Critics often say that students will go to bed later if they know they will be able to sleep later the next day, thus negating the purpose of allowing them more sleep. However, research on students in Minneapolis showed that students still went to bed around 11 p.m. because that is when they became tired.
Students who hold after school jobs become a concern with the later dismissal time. Both students and employers are concerned about students being able to arrive at work on time and get enough hours in. Many are concerned that students who work will stay up later to finish their homework. There was no data on this subject in the Minneapolis research.
And, finally, there are concerns about bus schedules. This is a truly valid concern, for if high schools start later in the morning and no other school times have been adjusted, there may be a shortage in busses. However, a school system can avoid this conflict by adjusting the start times of every school so there will be enough busses to go around. Of course, the number of high school students who actually use the bus is low; many students drive themselves, get a ride with a friend or are dropped off at school by one of their parents.