Should AHS have a later start time?

Ashton Mckinney, staff writer and photographer

A later school start time has been an ongoing topic for some time now. Many would argue that starting school at 9:00 AM would only create problems for students with jobs and after school activities. However, as stated in  “The Economic Case for Letting Teenagers Sleep a Little Later,” Aaron E.Carroll believes a later school time is a much needed change. And  l one school district has decided to do something about it.

 

High school students have a lot on their plate. First, they deal with a 6 hour school day, then come home to finish homework, doing chores right afterwards, and balancing other after school activities. To fix this, Seattle school districts have moved their school start time from 7:50 AM to 8:45 AM. However, this wasn’t exactly an easy thing to accomplish. Extra curricular activities had to change their own scheduling due to the time change, and had to change bus routes. So far, this decision has proved to be beneficial. Students obviously used this extra time to sleep in, but they also improved academically. Studies have shown that the median grades in Seattle have increased by 4.5%.

 

Now comes the big question. Should AHS do the same as Seattle? Freshman Nolan Darling believes so. He already knows that he would use the extra time to sleep in, but he believes he would perform better academically as well. He admits that he is one to fall asleep sometimes during class, but that extra 30 minutes of sleep would keep him up. But he does know that there would be problems that would come along with this decision. He realizes that many kids do after school activities and clubs, but he believes that if we were to get out of school at 3:00 PM compared to 2:30 PM, a half hour difference wouldn’t be a hard problem to fix.

 

But then comes the teachers. After my interview with Robert Christiansen, a World History Teacher at AHS, he believes there are some aspects of school that would benefit, but for the most part he doesn’t see the point. He believes that if you try to make first period energetic and fun, kids will be more awake and lively. He also pointed out that if school does start somewhere around 9:00 AM, he would still get here very early in the morning anyway. Christiansen also is the Head of the Nerd Club at AHS, and a later school time could prove to be problematic for him and those who attend the club. In the end he does know the fact that kids would respond well to working in the daylight hour, but as a father, Christiansen believes he will be missing out on family time with his kids and his wife.

 

I can understand why Christiansen would not want school to start later, but as a student I believe starting school later would benefit the majority of the people. Waking up at 6:00 AM five days out of the week can take a toll on a high school student. Many students participate in after school clubs and sports and could use the extra sleep. A later start time could be a great solution, or it could prove to be a disaster. However, if the Seattle school district managed to make it work, then I don’t see why we couldn’t either.