Study: Later High School Start Boosts Grades, Attendance

Study: Later High School Start Boosts Grades, Attendance

A recent two year long study done by the University of Washington shows that having later high school start-times boosts grades and attendance. And in 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that middle and high schools delay their start-times to 8:30 a.m. or later.

However, according to the National Center For Education Statistics, only 17% of public middle and high schools follow this suggestion. They also reported that less than 10% of American high schools start before 7:30.

Leon County high schools start at 7:30—a time which is far too early, according to studies.

This early start time was approved in 2009 when the Leon County school board okayed new start times for all schools in an attempt to provide consistency. Before the change there were 18 different start times among Leon County schools.

Recently, Seattle decided to follow the advice of health experts by changing the start-time of its schools from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The University of Washington studied high school students in Seattle over a two-year period, before and after this start-time change. The change allowed students to get an average of 34 more minutes of sleep, boosting total average sleep from 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 24 minutes. Median grades went up 4.5%, and absences and tardiness decreased.

Citing this study, Orange County, home to Orlando, discussed applying a start-time change, but “school leaders have whined” about the costs of making this shift. One district would need $7.7 million for new buses and up to $5 million to operate annually. Though this may sound like a lot of money, the $7.7 million only accounts for .15% of this district’s annual budget of $4.5 billion.

Scott Maxwell, a journalist for the Orlando Sentinel wrote the “inaction has not only frustrated parents, but also community leaders such as Jim McIlrath, an Orlando attorney who served 12 years on the board of the school district’s foundation. ‘I just think it’s ludicrous that we’re lagging behind the more progressive school districts in spite of all the scientific evidence,’ McIlrath said.”

“In Orange County, we like to be a leader in everything we do,” said new board member Karen Castor Dentel. “But we’re lagging in this. And it’s inexcusable.”

So what about Leon County Schools?

When Leon County School Board member Alva Striplin was contacted by TR about the issue, she said “I hope to see our district move to two school start times in the 2019-2020 school year. Not only would it benefit our high school students who would get an extra half hour of sleep by moving high school start time from 7:30 am to 8:00 am, it would also benefit middle school parents by moving middle school start time from 9:30 am to 9:00 am.”

Striplin also said that concerns about the substantial cost of adding buses and drivers to make any change a reality has been an obstacle to being able to consolidate school start times from three to two.

However, Striplin said “a recent transportation audit which revealed less than 40% of our students ride the bus, has led to more efficient bus routes which should enable us to now discuss transitioning to two school start times.”

14 Responses to "Study: Later High School Start Boosts Grades, Attendance"

  1. It use to be kids staying up late to watch tv or talk to their boyfriend/girlfriend on the phone until the wee hours. Now the kids are on their i-phones texting, snapchatting, watching youtube, istagram, and video games. Tough to put limits on phone use with a teenager. And you can’t block the cellphone signals as it violates federal law. Seems we got along fine without cellphones 30 yrs ago. Not so sure technology is a benefit in this case.

  2. My thoughts exactly. Instead of changing the whole school schedule, monitor your kids and put them in bed earlier.

  3. There is no excuse for the way the carriers are conducting themselves and performing other than incompetent management… they are hiring unqualified people they are not training their people and the carrier’s I have seen at the US Postal Service don’t care steal the mail open prescriptions speed, can’t carry on an intelligent conversation, drive-In reverse for one block intervals etc etc etc.

    When the CEO of a company has performance issues down the line it’s their responsibility to fix them and they don’t.

    I am tired of the incompetence I am tired of the corruption and I am tired of the excuses.

    And the US Postal Service, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Leon County Commission, Etc needs to clean up their acts clean house, Etc.

  4. Why should someone do their job like the publisher at the Tallahassee Democrat can’t even get his carriers to deliver the newspapers competently?

    But, they can participate in yellow journalism making Tallahassee the number one crime ridden city in the state.

    Why can’t the Supervisor of Elections office make sure that candidates live in their district instead of being able to be elected and running a crime enterprize of such huge proportions Tallahassee becomes the number one crime ridden city in the state?

    Why can’t the County Administrator implement a corruption-free Waste Pro contract instead of paying off Gary yordon and Scott Maddox and giving citizens incompetent Waste Pro services? Instead of picking up your trash they take pictures of your trash! But Gary yordon and Scott Maddox are laughing all the way to the bank!

    Why can’t the local Credit Union president alert their customers when their accounts are being emptied due to fraud instead of spending Credit Union funds on country music videos?

    Why can’t Bill Proctor live in his own District and question his own peers Nick Maddox and Kristen Dozer, as to why they have been so incompetent on the CRA that is involved in corruption?

    Why can’t people just do their jobs competently instead of participating in corruption and incompetence?

    Why can’t the US Postmaster see that the mail service is run competently instead of the carriers stealing the mail and running the postal service so incompetently that it has become a crisis?

    I’m going to pray and pray really hard that some changes are made, but I am praying and thankful for the recent change of the election of Governor Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott which shows there is a glimmer of hope.

    I’m going to be thankful that we do have two excellent US Congressman doing their jobs.

    Vince long, Skip Foster, Bill Proctor, Kristen Dozier, Nick Maddox, the local US postmaster , and Lisa Brown please resign from your jobs because you stink at them!

    1. Hope: Poor delivery is down the list of the local rag’s problems. If the carrier gets the Fake Newsocrat onto the customer’s property, they consider that good enough. Drive around an older northside subsivision, especially on a Sunday. You’ll see lots of plastic-wrapped propoganda near (or even IN) the streets. I remember as a youth the paper boys had to get the paper TO THE DOOR. So much for customer service there. Maybe once Gannett is taken over by Digital First Media that will change?
      Probably not.
      On the postal issue, everything changed once Amazon contracted with them to deliver their boxes 3-4 years ago. Workloads have increased 4x, I’m told. Volume off the charts. They have to deliver Amazon on Sundays too now – there is so much. Look at the impact on our malls. Obviously, the new postmaster (or the former one) can’t deliver every package, so until they hire more carriers, their employees will struggle.

  5. I’m not sure that we have enough information at this time to support such a change. The American Academy of Pediatric study supported good “sleep hygiene” and thier article cited a study that referenced environmental, psychosocial, and biological factors of sleep/wake patterns of adolescents. This was one study from 2007 that loosely supported biological factors for later wake times in adolescence then referenced by the Academy of Pediatrics. The rest surrounded good sleep hygiene like removing electronics and regular bedtimes. Not enough information yet. Meanwhile, I would like to be working on a study that analyzes how earlier wake times for adolescence prepares them the real world after graduation.

  6. Why don’t you make Rocky Hanna pay back the $600,000 he cost the school district with his phony FBI investigation? Maybe at that point we will take the school board seriously..

    Isn’t Miss Striplin the same school board member that wanted a school administrator investigated over a golf course spat? How in the world can anyone take the Leon County school board members seriously when they refuse to hold Rocky Hanna accountable for his Hit List, his dating of teachers when he was a principal and allowing him to continue to provide raises to the people he likes not to mention him hiring assistant superintendents without interviews. The Leon County School Board has allowed Rocky Hanna to do whatever he wants with no accountability. Why would anyone take them seriously?

    Miss Striplin since you have a lot of time on your hands and are looking at creative solutions why don’t you investigate the ever alarming and increasing homeschool enrollment which is a causation of the increase in the Leon County inflated graduation rates this year. When you get done with that review why don’t you look at Godby and Rickards who put students in advanced placement US History to avoid taking this state test.

    1. Mark, Why are you jumping on Striplin? Looks to me like she’s trying to take positive action based on data. Maybe the homeschoolers get to sleep later and start later which could be one of the factors leading to their higher GPA and graduation rates.

      1. Nobody is jumping on anyone. I have stated the obvious about the Leon County School Board. Before they make proposals they should have accountability within the school system. If they cannot make hard decisions and hold the superintendent accountable for the things that he has done in the past how can we trust them to take any kind of funding in any initiative and have any level of transparency? The Leon County School Board needs to begin to earn the public trust by holding RockyHanna accountable for the things that he has done. By the way where’s the proposal to pay teachers more? would someone look into the fact that Mr Hannah gave raises to district select administrators and he’s yet to do so for teachers.

        1. Mark, just how did Rocky impact you personally? You have an axe to grind with him and you use this forum every chance you can to cast allegations against him and the school board. Most of your posts are included with Tallahassee Reports articles that have no relationship to Rocky or the school board. At least this article is pertinent to the school board. Have you addressed the school board with a written request for your allegations to be reviewed and or investigated? And just so you know, I am not for or against Rocky, but I feel Jackie Pons could have been treated a little more fairly. Mark E.

          1. My point is that as a taxpayer Rocky Hanna caused a misuse of tax dollars when he fabricated his notebook costing taxpayers over $600,000 with investigation costs. As the investigation was in process Rocky Hanna admitted to the school board attorney, Hank Coxe he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, admitting he wrote the misleading summaries in each section. While my child’s teacher lives on a starting salary, works two jobs and pays for her own cell phone, Hanna gives out Assistant Superintendent positions with no interviews paying them 3 times as much as a teacher salary and pays for cell phones of administrators. While my child’s teacher gets no raise, Hanna gives our raises to a few chosen individuals. When a Superintendent touts he has a hit list and people loose jobs not based on merit but based on who they support, we have a bully in charge. The school board is aware of these issues, they are unwilling to stand up for those who have been and continue to be taken advantage of.

          2. Mark E., our family has been severely impacted by decisions made by Rocky Hanna’s leadership team and our child has been hurt repeatedly. I have many times tried to bring this to the attention of the board but have been turned away despite incredible efforts. I have very detailed evidence going back years pertaining to records “problems”, retaliation etc. as a result of simply trying to advocate for a child. I have met Jackie twice in my life, never met any of the Board members and I have no political involvement. I am just incredibly frustrated by what I believe to be malfeasance for lack of a better term that is allowed and encouraged to bloom. I have, many times and often through my child, been punished for trying to bring to light my concerns through the proper channels. I don’t believe any of the Board members, Alva Striplin included, would approve, support or even look the other way if they knew some of the things that go on. For Mark, whomever he may be, to maintain the drumbeat I think is important because the issues he raises impact students, families and the community in ways you may not be aware.

        2. Ms. Striplin,
          Please get you own house (school board) in order before any proposal comes forward. Rocky Hanna came into office with a “hit list” of employees he non renewed for a vendetta. Now he has tough talk in the paper about the students at Roberts Elementary who wanted to harm another student. You and the other board members looked the other way empowering a bully to be Superintendent unchecked. Do job number 1, hold Hanna accountable. Hit lists by Hanna sounds like a mob move, like the mob, Hanna ruined lives as the underlings (school board) sit by silent.

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