Should the high school start later?

By Sarah Glidden

Have you ever struggled to get out of bed and get ready for school in the morning? If so, you are not alone.

School districts all around the country have started pushing back the start time for high school, but is that really best for Hopkinton?

The district has started questioning the start time for high school due to student and teacher concerns however, some are against this change and see little benefit in started later.

A significant number of studies show puberty changes the sleep cycle of a teenager, changes in hormones like melatonin, which controls sleep, making it harder for teenagers to go to sleep earlier in the evening.

Michael Sullivan, an A.P. Psychology teacher, said “We should change school start times tomorrow.” He went on to back up his statement with the research performed by a Holy Cross College professor, Amy Wolfson, that supported his thinking.

The study’s objective was to determine the relationship between adolescents’ sleep and wake habits and daytime functions. It was reported that kids failing or getting C’s got an average of 40 minutes less sleep than a student getting A’s and B’s. Wolfson concluded the study by determining most adolescents do not get enough sleep and this lack of sleep affects their daytime functions.

“I am very confident that our building administration supports such a change, but they also probably see more of the logistical complications than I do,” Sullivan said.

These complications include the bus schedule because busses normally pick up the younger kids at the same time the busses would be needed to pick up high schoolers. Another concern that students have is that sports and extracurriculars would get pushed back later, and in the winter months they would end up practicing in the dark.

Senior Madison Pawela said, “We have school, homework, and jobs that we need to tend to, and if we started later all of that would get pushed later into the night.” She added to this by saying “We would probably get the same (amount of sleep) because we would stay up later at night trying to do everything.”

Sullivan said “even if they didn’t get any more sleep, they’d still be in better synchronization with the natural sleep/wake cycle, especially in terms of peak attention.”

Junior Sammi Hersh said, “I think people don’t get enough sleep, not because school starts so early, but just because they are not good at managing their time.”

“I don’t think teens get enough sleep, and that’s not healthy,” senior Abby Sloan said. “A later start time would give me time to get work done for school and not be missing out on sleep.”

Many districts that have changed times. Duxbury changed their start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. The school reported students contributing more in class and less tardiness. However there are still concerns from parents about the students staying up later due to the later start time.

While there has been success stories there continue to be critics of whether a later start time is really best for Hopkinton.