Later school time possible in coming years

Arthur Koenig, News Editor

High school students across the Appleton Area School District have long held a distaste for the early start times at school. Soon, however, this practice may come to an end. Paul Hermes, Associate Principal at Appleton North stated that the district may move towards starting school closer to 8 a.m. in the coming years.

The reasons for this change, explained Hermes, are threefold. First, the later start time would allow teachers to work together and collaborate on lesson plans. “As education has changed to become more equitable and standardized, this is essential,” said Hermes. Second, a common bell schedule for all of the district’s high schools is something that would be welcomed. North, West, and East high schools starting at the same time would allow for sports, activities, and teaching to be run more smoothly. Third, and perhaps most important, is to allow for students to get more sleep.

This component of the change was elaborated on by Eric Eastman, former psychology teacher at North. Eastman explained the numerous benefits that could be seen by a later bell schedule. Adolescents, according to multiple studies, in most cases, are not meant to go to sleep until the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. This puts teenagers at a disadvantage, especially when melatonin, the hormone produced to make people tired, is present in teens until around 8:30 a.m. Melatonin has also been linked to memory, meaning, “We’re doing no favors for our students’ memories long term,” said Eastman. Some may be of the opinion that teenagers will simply stay up even later knowing they can get up earlier; however, studies are conclusive that with start times between 40 to 60 minutes later, students will receive at least an additional 20 to 25 minutes more of sleep. Districts, where these types of proposals have gone into effect, have seen drastic improvements in grades and attendance. Seattle, for example, saw a 4.5% improvement in grades when classes started one hour later.

Students and teachers all around the school are overwhelmingly in support of this idea. “I think starting school later is in the best interest of all students and teachers. I would support it one hundred percent,” said Joel Hermansen, AP World History teacher at North. Sophomores Meg Cain and Linnea Edwards expressed similar opinions, stating “That would be freaking dope,” and “This would actually help kids sleep and eat a real breakfast every morning.”