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One Hour Later

Seattle Public Schools Later Start Time and Why

About two years ago, our school’s morning bell underwent a significant shift, moving from the early hour of 7:50am to a more merciful 8:50am. Initially, I was completely in favor of the later start time, and I didn’t really pay attention as to why this change was made.

But recently, I’ve become more curious. Does it benefit students’ well-being? Are later start times more conducive to learning? And was this change the best decision, or should we change it back?

To answer this, I decided to conduct some research.

In an article written by Stateline in September of 2023, the author wrote, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schoolers not start before 8:30a.m. and says changing to later start times would result in better outcomes for teens, included reduced obesity risk, lower rates of depression, fewer drowsy driving crashes and improved quality of life.”

This piece of evidence demonstrates that a later start does in fact prove to be beneficial to students’ health, reducing the risks of diseases and injuries alike. However, that was not the only argument made which supported the modification of the schedule.

Further support for the shift came from a Kids on the Yard article researching the most effective times to study. It states, “According to science, the best hours to study are between 10am and 2pm, from 4pm to 10pm.” The article goes on further to say, “Science also indicates that the most ineffective time to study is between 4am and 7am.”

This highlights that early mornings are deemed less effective for cognitive tasks.

However, every decision comes with its tradeoffs. Stateline addressed, “After-school activities start later too, reducing teens’ availability for part-time jobs. Parents’ work schedules must be adjusted. Traffic patterns also shift, due to school bus schedules and associated crosswalk delays.”

Yet, despite these hurdles, it’s evident that the shift to an 8:50am start time holds considerable boosts to students’ well-beings and academic performance. Overall, prioritizing the health and education of our students outweighs the inconvenience of adjusting to a new schedule.

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About the Contributor
Lily Egan, Staff Writer, Editor