Let’s Move School Start Times
One student sounds off on when the first period bell should ring
June 1, 2016
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To the students of LSHS:
During the life of a student, sleep seems to be the factor we have to skip. Waking up early to get to school, working all day, finishing homework by night, and repeating it again each day. The early school start times seem to be the cause. I, being a student, sometimes have to stay up past a decent bedtime to finish a project due the next day. However, I end up exhausted the next day because of the lack of sleep. Why even go to school if we can’t perform our best work because we are tired? In health class students learn that we should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night, but the early start times of schools are getting in the way of this. Changing school start times would help us because of the many benefits of getting more sleep such as healthier lifestyles that result in better test scores.
Later start times are effective because it helps keep us healthy. According to the article, State holding hearings to consider later school start times, it says “‘“insufficient sleep is “an important public health issue” impacting the student’s’ academic success.”’” If schools were to change their start times, we would get more sleep and then it would help us stay awake and alert during the school day. I know, from experience, if I don’t get a lot of sleep than during the day I am very tired, and find it hard to pay attention like I would if I had gotten more sleep. Article Committee raises school start time issue again says, “various studies have proven adolescents require more sleep to fully maximize their performance and participation in the classroom.” If schools were to set the start times to later in the morning, more students would be able to pay attention and be healthier in general! If the human body is sick, or unhealthy, it cannot function as well as it could have. No sleep causes the human body to become “sick” and unable to function properly. So, by setting the start times later in the morning we would be healthier and more awake to function better in school.
Later start times are effective because it also increases student test scores. Because of the healthier impact on students by getting more sleep, they are able to perform better on tests and such. According to an experiment about school start times it showed, “increases standardized test scores by at least 2 percentile points in math and 1 percentile point in reading.” These finding suggest that later start times actually help students’ minds be more active and awake, resulting in better scores on standard tests (Do schools begin too early?).” Although the outcome is only one or two points, this is actually a huge impact, because it proves that scores improve nonetheless. Isn’t the point of school to learn? Why go to school if students aren’t going to learn effectively? By setting later start times, we would get more sleep and perform better on tests. Because the later times “better engages students in learning, [it] has seen school start at 8:00am and finish at 1:15pm (Trial of early school start time at Moree East Public continues in new school year).” When the body gets enough sleep, the mind is now fully ready to take on the day! Teens that get enough sleep each night truly benefit in school.
Some schools say that we need to change our schedules to get our 8-10 hours of sleep, and not the schools. The schools are already doing their part, so the students also need to make the effort. However, teens cannot control how their bodies work. “Hormonal changes, in particular, the secretion of melatonin, shift the natural circadian rhythm of adolescents, making it increasingly difficult for them to fall asleep early in the evening (Do schools begin too early?).” Because we are getting older, our bodies are changing. Since the school start times aren’t, our grades start to slip. Our minds start to wander in class. We are tired. This issue isn’t our fault, it’s more of our biology at fault. We are wired to be able to stay up later, but because of it we need to sleep in later. The school start times need to change to accommodate this. School is built for students. What would happen if there were no students? What would happen if every student failed a standardized test because of lack of sleep? We can’t change who we are, but we can adjust our approach to help us become better by changing the start times so we can excel at school.
Sure, funding and costs are a big part of this conversation. Bus routes would need to be adjusted and schedules may need to be adjusted. But if School is made for students, why wouldn’t schools want to cater for us? We are the students of Lake Stevens High School! If we want later start times, we should get later start times! What is a school worth without its students. We have a voice, a power, a say in what happens at our school. We spend 6 hours, 5 days a week of our lives here, so we should want to come here! It may take a long time for our voice to be heard, but if we work together, we can help make a better future for us in our school.