Impact of later school start times

West Virginia

An American Academy of Pediatrics study found teens who didn’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety. So, beginning last fall, Kanawha County middle and high school students start classes about an hour later. Educators, including Sissonville High School Principal Ron Reedy see notable improvements. 

“The 8:30 start time has worked out very well for us. We have greater attendance, fewer tardies. So, all and all, we believe this is the right step. In the end it comes down to do we want to do the most convenient thing or what research bears is the right thing,” Reedy said. 

The later start for older students forced elementary schools to begin classes earlier to accommodate bus schedules. Kanawha City Elementary Principal Cathi Bradley says many families, including hers, had to revise morning routines. 

“There’s family situations. If you have a child in all three school levels, you may drop them off. The first one at elementary then you make it to middle, then high school. There are also the cons. The families that have the older students don’t have to get up as early as the younger ones. So, it’s not ideal for everyone,” Bradley said. 

Superintendent Dr. Ron Duering tells us the Board of Education is looking at what’s best for most students. 

“In all of our local school improvement council meetings, not the first couple, but after that we asked about that and most of the people responded positively saying it was fine, not much of a change,” Duering said. 

 With grades on the increase and tardiness on the decrease,  Duering plans to stick with the new schedule for now. 

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