Schedule Change Announced for Next School Year

Class times for the 2019-2020 school year have been changed with the hope that students will sleep more.



New start and dismissal times will affect class length and activity time will be built in. (Yuri Lukyanov/Flickr)

Emma Hutchin, Reporter

A new schedule change will be put into place next year, with school starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m. in order to give students an opportunity to sleep more. 

“In our study, we found patterns of benefit for the health of teens with a later start time,” High School Principal Natalie McDonough said.

An email was sent to students and their parents announcing the change Jan. 21 with attached articles that were referenced when deciding what the new schedule would look like. The new changes are being put into place in order to coincide with the natural wake-up times of adolescents, according to McDonough.

“We have been researching schedules for the past two years, and later start times work best with adolescent needs,” McDonough said. “During puberty, the adolescent circadian system naturally delays the onset of sleep to a later time.”

The school building will still open at 7:00 a.m. in case parents need to drop off students early, and a math lab will be open for anyone needing extra help. The math lab will be staffed with math teachers and students can either drop in or set an appointment to ask for help.  Rather than classes beginning at 8:00 a.m., they will begin at 8:45 a.m. and last until 3:45 p.m. Each period will last a total of 48 minutes instead of the normal 50.

“I prefer the new schedule because I get to sleep in longer and the school day is a bit shorter,” junior Caroline Ehren said. “The new schedule works out great for me.”

For students with after-school jobs or activities, a “case by case” 7th-hour work study hall can be set up, according to McDonough. Girls will then be able to leave campus by 3:10 p.m., but need signatures from their parents, counselor and employer. Athletic practices will be set back 15 minutes and games will be scheduled to miss as little class time possible.  

“We have students coming from all over the city during rush hour, and pushing the start time back saves students time and danger in heavy traffic conditions,” McDonough said. “We will pilot it next year and keep data on several different items to see how effective the late start is in helping students achieve, get the rest they need and improve mental health.”

Although the changes are in the best interest of students, some are upset with the new plan and believe it will interfere with their extracurriculars. With a later start time, dismissal is pushed back in order to have a full school day. Late starts and activity time will now be built into the daily schedule as well.

“I don’t like the late ending because it makes everything go a little later,” sophomore Madeline Hammett said. “But, give a little take a little, and I’m willing to give 35 minutes at the end of the day if I am able to take 45 minutes at the beginning.”

Learn about the importance of sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation in the September issue of Le Journal.