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Should Center Grove School Corporation Push Back Middle and High School Start

Ray Landis
Imagine this: a teenager is driving to school. It is about 7:00 AM, and the teenage driver
is feeling drowsy. He reaches over his phone for an energy drink that he left in his car the night
before, and takes a sip, caffeine flooding his drowsy system, waking his brain with a start. He
makes it to school with 10 minutes to spare, and begins his usual day. At about 7:50 AM, this
teenager goes to his most boring class, History. As the teacher drones on about western Commented [1]: I'm going to tell Miss Wissel
expansion and the Civil War, he falls asleep. After about 10 minutes, his teacher slaps his desk
with a ruler, waking him with a start. The teacher asks, “What is one of the roots of Manifest
Destiny?” “Uhh…” the teen looks around, terrified and half asleep, “Economics?” The teacher
laughs in his face. “Close, but not quite. The actual answer is…” But the teen is already fast
asleep once more. Little does he know, scenarios like this happen daily, all over the United
States. That is why Center Grove should push start times back for the mMiddle sSchool and
hHigh sSchool, so that students can get enough sleep, and, in turn, do better with grades, and
standardized tests.

One reason start times should be pushed back is that teenagers in high school and middle
school need sleep. As Leigh Ann Morgan states in the article “Later School Start Times”, Formatted: Font: Italic
“aAdolescents are… at risk for driving drowsy…. mMoving school start times to at least 8:00
[AM] would give teens the opportunity to get more sleep each night” (Morgan, 2). If students get
more sleep, then kids could get to school risk-free, and not have to worry about falling asleep at
the wheel. The article states “[Amy Wolfson, Ph.D and Mary Carskadon, Ph.D] found that those
who reported poor grades (C, D, or F) reported getting 25 fewer minutes of sleep than the
students who reported getting A’s and B’s. The poor performers also went to bed approximately
40 minutes later than the students who reported getting good grades” (Morgan, 5). If kids got
better sleep, then they would get better grades and be able to focus better in class. Therefore,
Center Grove students would benefit from a later start time.

Which introduces the next point, that more sleep means better grades and test scores.
Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control, at the University of Minnesota studied “eight
high schools in three states before and after they moved to later start times in recent years….
they found that the later a school’s start time, the better off the students were on many
measures,including mental health, car crash rates, attendance, and, in some schools, grades and
standardized test scores…. Dr. Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent medicine at Children’s
Hospital of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the research… said that its methods were
pragmatic and its findings promising” (Hoffman, 7-8). Pragmatic means sensible or reasonable,
which means that the methods were reasonable and the findings were promising. The American Commented [2]: yes, now be sure to explain it's
connection to why school should start later
Academy of Sleep Medicine [AASM] says that “a lack of sleep impacts [academic] performance
by reducing concentration, creating attention deficits, slowing reaction times, increasing
distractibility, impairing decision-making skills and causing forgetfulness.... These effects have a
serious impact on test scores and on.. grades…” (Morgan, 3). By allowing for teens to sleep
longer, schools could potentially see an influx of money through state grants and more people
paying to send their students to that school.

Parents and their students who participate “in sports, music groups, service learning
clubs and other organizations typically meet for several hours after school. If school districts
change their start times, these activities will be pushed to later in the day. This would make it
difficult for students to participate and still have enough time to study, complete homework
assignments, participate in social activities and still get to bed at a reasonable hour” (Hoffman,
12). While that could be true, “dDuring puberty, teenagers have a later release of the ‘sleep’
hormone melatonin, which means they tend not to feel drowsy until around 11 pm.” (Hoffman,
11). Because melatonin is released later, sports and other extracurricular activities can be pushed
back, because the brain would shut down later, leaving more time in the day to be used for other
things. The idea is that districts change their schedule to meet the needs of the middle to high
school student. No student would be losing time, simply the time frames would shift.

The reasons above explain why Center Grove School Corporation should push back start
times. If start times were pushed back, life would be easier for parents with kids in multiple
schools would be able to pick up their kids in one fell swoop, as well as not having to deal with
cranky students. Thank you.