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  1. As a retired educator and school psychologist, I have observed that high school kids rarely get enough sleep. Sleep is important for top school performance, so how could this be a bad thing? I would strongly encourage a later start date on behalf of the students. Sure it is nice to get out early and I’m sure the sports departments will not like a later ending day, but there is NO substitute for a good night’s sleep!

  2. Just because Ms Newbauer is apparently unfamiliar with sleep science doesn’t mean that this move by the high school is experimental. This is hardly an experiment; it is a response to ample, well- documented scientific research findings. A move to later start times for both high school and middle school students has been recommended by sleep specialists for at least the last 15 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control have also both recommended shifting high school start times back. The links Greg posted provide a wealth of information on teens and sleep needs.

    The University of Minnesota Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement has found that later start times correlate with improved academic performance. From their findings: “Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,000 students at eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming and found that shifting the school day later in the morning resulted in a boost in attendance, test scores, and grades in math, English, science, and social studies. Schools also saw a decrease in tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression. Some even had a dramatic drop in teen car crashes.”

    Shifting the start time to later in the morning is hardly experimental; a later start time should more accurately be referred to as a “best practice.” I applaud Dr. Holland and the administration for making this improvement to our high school.

    • Assume for the sake of argument those articles are correct:
      1. Does the data suggest that teens who know they have “late start” days (“late” meaning 25 minutes or one hour later, depending on the day per the new schedule) will prudently take advantage of the late start to catch up on sleep OR will they stay up even later, rationalizing that they have a “late start.”

      2. If the only issue were sleep cycles for teens, why the block schedule? Where is the data (not anecdotes) that rearranging class time and decreasing instructional time in this fashion materially contributes to positive student outcomes?
      Folks always want to compare LFHS to New Trier. Click on their “Daily Schedule” at this website:

      http://www.newtrier.k12.il.us/Calendars/School_Year_Calendars_and_Schedules/
      Query: did anyone look at New Trier’s (0r other schools’ ) success with student outcomes and find any correlation with their Daily Schedule?

      There is no evidence to suggest, nor has any been presented to parents, that a “new” hybrid schedule will materially enhance positive student outcomes. There has been a lot of anecdotal sharing about how boring longer classes will be, or how “cool” it would be to have longer science labs, or how difficult it will be to schedule field trips, etc.

      And the reported “twenty” meetings to discover parents/teachers/students “hopes and dreams” for a “new school day” were only that–inquiries (whether undertaken in good faith or not, given the tight December deadline to come up with a “new” schedule the teachers’ union/Administration will accept).

      There has never been a presentation on whether any part of this change will actually help any LFHS students. Conclusion: another experiment on our children with no articulated, substantiated and expected benefit to them. Is that what you want for your children?

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