Later School Start Time

Later School Start Time

Vanessa Vivilecchia, Writer

School, the time of the year where adolescents’ lives are filled with work and after school activities while still fitting in time for sleep, eating, and socializing with friends. For many years now it had been discussed whether middle and high schools across the nation would benefit from starting the school day later. Various solutions have been suggested; however, the most talked about solution is switching elementary

start times with the middle and high school times.

There are many pros and cons to changing the school start times. The two main concerns parents have are: 1) not being home when their child leaves for school; and 2) if parents have a child in elementary school, the child would get home earlier, possibly before the parents are home.

According to, 44 states in the United States have found a lot of success in either starting school as low as 40 minutes later, while some have started school up to over an hour later. One school in Phenix City, Ala. reported that they changed their school district start times for each school. Elementary school now starts 45 minutes earlier, while the middle and high school start an hour and 15 minutes later.

A more local school that has changed their start times to an hour later is Nauset High School in Eastham, Mass. According to, there were many improvements at this school including, “a 53 percent drop in the number of failing grades” and  “a 38 percent decline of D’s and F’s.” It was also reported that the school suspensions for disciplinary issues were reduced from 166 days from last September to October to 19 days this year (2016).

Nicole Robertson,a sophomore at Pentucket High School, feels that later start times will “help kids to be able to sleep more and they’ll be better rested for the day. And they’ll probably get better grades in school.” Another sophomore, Annika Ellis, thinks that school starting later “would be awesome because sometimes I wake up at six for school….and I’m just so tired that I go back to sleep for another hour anyway.” Ellis said that she hasn’t “gone to sleep before eleven since seventh grade because I’m just always up late and doing homework; even if I’m not doing homework I still end up going to bed late because I am so used to it.”

Although it is possible for schools to start later, and it has been proven to have many benefits, there are still many concerns with this issue. According to, the issues of transportation, extracurricular activities and much more have come up against the possibility of later school start times. Many are worried that even a slight change in the school schedule will make it harder for buses to work the new routes. According to, many parents are concerned with the fact that later start times could result in them having to wait for their child to leave for school resulting in the parent being late for work.

Another main concern students have is, fitting in time for after school activities. If school start times were to change to an hour later it would cause students who participate in school sports to get home later, especially for students who do activities outside of school.

Some students and teachers have expressed their personal concerns for this shift in start times. Robertson said, “school will still get out later and there will be less time for sports, so students would end up getting home later, so that might like be worse.” Ms. Merritt, an administrative assistant at Pentucket, is all for later school start times but does express the personal concern that other teachers may have which is, teachers not wanting to work past 3 pm. This concern is perfectly understandable, most working people want to be home with their families before it is dark out. When asked about her thoughts on the solution of switching elementary start times with middle and high school Ms. Merritt said, “they’re (elementary school students) little kids….we don’t want them up at like six o’clock in the morning either.” She also asked the question of, “why we (all schools in the district) all can’t start at the same time?” She also thinks that our school needs “to think outside the box, we need to look at other countries for models….and see what works for them, what doesn’t work for them.”

This article has shown the two different side of the issue of later school start times. If this change does happen students will most likely get home up to two hours later than they normally do due to extracurricular activities starting later. Something has to be done because students continuously come to school every morning running on too little sleep. Are you willing to pay the price in order to improve your school work and personal life?