Dimond Weighs in on Later Start to School

What if your alarm clock went off for school and instead of smashing snooze, you got an extra hour and 15 minutes of sleep?

In Seattle, Wash., this has become a reality for high school students throughout the city.

In November, 2015, the Seattle Board voted to have high schools, middle schools and even some elementary schools begin at 8:45. The remaining K-8 Schools begin at approximately 9:35a.m. and finish at 3:30p.m.. This idea had been brought up numerous times in their meetings and finally was put into action at the beginning of the 2016 school year.

The primary reason behind the massive change in start times, is Seattle’s Board having realised that 90 percent of United States students were sleep deprived.

Seattle Children’s Hospital Maida Chen commented on the decision to a reporter at K5, Western Washington’s Home Team, saying, “We know that academic progress improves quite a bit with more sleep, in that their grades are better, their attendance is better, they have less absences. We suspect that behavior gets better as well, in terms of having fewer conflicts with peers, teachers, and parents.”

Numerous members of the Seattle Board as well as the Seattle Public School District Board have commented nearly the same as Chen, repeating the fact that more sleep leads students to better performance.

Dimond High School French teacher Aline Hopkins said, “I find it outstanding how many of my students are struggling to stay awake through my first period class, I know it can’t only have to do with school, but that has got to be at least 50 percent of the problem.”

This issue of having low energy throughout morning classes is mentioned as a concern not only through the voice of the teachers, but also through the voice of High School students.

Deborah West a junior at Dimond, said, “I normally need a nap after school. If I was able to start school at 8:45 and get off later I would definitely be more awake throughout the day.”

Similarly, Leona Joo, Junior at Dimond High School, said, “I take a nap almost every day after school, and during school I’m never fully awake until my third hour, which really affects my morning classes because it’s almost impossible to focus since when you’re hardly awake.”

The question is, would students and teachers be willing to get out of school at a later time if it began at a later time?

To many, that answer is yes.

Marian Sintos, a junior at Dimond, said, “I wouldn’t mind if I had to get off around 3:30 or 4p.m. as long as I have more time to sleep in the morning.”

Joo said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s worth staying later if we were able to start later. I wouldn’t complain.”

Teachers also agree with these two students.

Hopkins said, “I would not mind at all if we had to stay longer, it’s those extra few minutes in the morning I get to sleep that matter to me.”

Although many believe this idea to be a positive change, it’s not always the case.

Racquel Micheletto a junior at Dimond, said, “I really appreciate that we get off at two because there’s time for me to get through sports after, then I can get homework done. If I was getting off any later I don’t believe I would be able to finish anything.”

Even though there are both positive and negative effects to the mention of a changed school schedule, Seattle’s students seem to view it as a wonderful opportunity.

Washington senior, Cole Wiles, interviewed by K5 said, “It’s been a really good change. Everyone is ready in the morning instead of slumping around like zombies. I also feel like I have more time in the mornings to get ready and finish up any extra assignments.”

Hopkins said, “It’s time to make the change, and I’m happy to see that Seattle has opened that door. Hopefully one day Anchorage high schools will have this change as well.”

Whether students accept or reject the possibility of a change in school start times, Seattle, Wash., has opened the eyes of many to the idea.