Later school start times could help students
Another national organization pushes for later school start times, based in part by positive results at one Hawaii high school.
Another national organization pushes for later school start times - based in part, by positive results at one Hawaii high school.
Getting students up for school, can be a challenge.
Especially after children reach puberty, their biological clock has them going to bed later, according to sleep researchers.
"Kids in middle and high school will want to sleep in, but they are not able to because we are waking them to start school," said Dr. Tracy Trevorrow, a sleep expert at Chaminade University.
Almost all of Hawaii's public schools begin before 8:30 am. Which is the recommended start time by the American Medical association, and now the The Society of Behavioral medicine. The latest recommendation came because of research by Dr. Trevorrow in Hawaii as well as others across the nation.
"By delaying school start times we could see an improvement in the student's amount of sleep, quality of sleep, and attentiveness. Their wakefulness showed how accessible they were for learning and they reported higher grades," said Trevorrow.
That happened for students at Kaimuki High School.
"They are better rested and better able to function," said Kaimuki High School principal Wade Araki.
For the past two years, Kaimuki has started school at 9am.
"We notice kids are more settled in the morning, and don't have as many disruptions," added Araki.
"It actually keeps me more alive in class. Because in the morning, when you are so tired, you feel like sleeping all day," said Kaimuki High School student Marisol Ko.
After school meetings at Kaimuki High shifted to before classes begin. The school day now ends at 2:50 pm. Araki said the schedule hasn't had an impact on teachers schedules or athletics, but has had an impact on kids being late to class, "Tardies have gone down. It hasn't made a huge impact on attendance, because to kids that aren't coming it doesn't matter what time you start."
While students should get at least 8 hours of sleep, only 25% of seniors get that much, according to Hawaii health statistics.
"I'm not an early riser, and its not easy to go to school and wake up at 6 every morning. Especially when you have homework that goes until 1 am," said Ko.
Trevorrow's study at Kaimuki High, found twice as many students got 8 hours of sleep. A critical difference not just for learning, but also good health.
Which is why some parents would like to see more schools start later.
"i think it should be statewide. I think you would see grades go up, and more participation in class. I think it is great.," said Kalihi parent Charles Lum.
"It is fairly clear from the science that starting school later will help," added Dr. Trevorrow.
According to the Hawaii Department of Education, there are no plans to have any other school switch to a later schedule.
Dr. Trevorrow, plans to conduct additional studies on school start times, as well as student's habits and health that may also affect their quality of sleep.