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District Considers Delaying Nashoba’s Start Time

Alice Torres, Contributor

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Late starts are a great way to give students the opportunity to get more sleep. Such begs the question: what if we pushed back the start time of the school day so we could get more sleep? Doesn’t this sound like a much better idea?

Well, we may not be far from making such a change to the school schedule. Most high school students receive much less than the recommended amount of sleep: 8 to 9.5 hours. Due to homework, sports, jobs, and volunteer work, sleep is the last thing on a student’s list. For instance, Algonquin Regional High School found 52% of their student population receives less than 6 hours of sleep each night. The average sleep time across high schools is 7.5 hours.

With this in mind, Wayland Patch, Jenny Cooper Silberman, and her husband have written a petition for the “Start School Later” organization. The sole purpose of the petition is to change the start times for high schools and middle schools to 8:30 or  later. This petition will be sent to Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts State Senate once it has received at least 1,000 signatures from the community. You can even sign it yourself at startschoollater.net.

Some towns have already instituted a later school start: Eastham, Hingham, Marblehead, Arlington, Duxbury, and Marlborough. Nauset High School has already initiated the change. They made the transition back in 2012 and have reported a 53% decrease of failing grades.

Clearly, a change like this would help improve grades and aid academic performance. The American Academy of Pediatrics has further reported it may benefit student health. Doctors have found that more sleep helps to lower rates of obesity and depression. Dr. Roxanne Prichard explains that sleep deprivation affects grades more than alcohol and drug usage.

Unfortunately, it may take a while before such a change reaches Nashoba. Still, a later start seems to be a rising possibility.

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District Considers Delaying Nashoba’s Start Time