Varying school start times affect students

Getting up early in the mornings for school is something any high school student can relate to, but some students in the area are sleeping in and going to school later.

Schools starting later are new to the districts and opinions are divided, but there are reasons as to why schools are doing this.

“For adolescents, most teens are not able to go to bed when they should and don’t get the quality of hours of sleep they should be getting,” said principal of Barrington High School Steve McWilliams.

Studies from The American Academy of Pediatrics have proven that teenagers should be getting eight to nine hours of sleep and that their best sleep pattern is 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The studies also say that students will have a better time focusing in the first few classes of their school day if they start at a later time.

“When we looked at the statistics of teenage health, most of the research suggested that teenagers should not start school before 9:00 a.m.,” said principal of Libertyville High School Thomas Koulentes.

Since schools have been starting later, the principals have some positive and negative things to say about having their school starting later.

“From my perspective as a principal, the school is happier and healthier as a result of these later start times. I see a lot of positives, and I really have not seen any negatives to come out of this late start time,” Koulentes said.

On the other hand, other schools have had a hard time getting used to the changes applied for the later start times.

“One of the things that was an issue was getting used to the new schedule. We had to build in a flexibility,” McWilliams said.

There are a lot of things that go in with how well the new late start will work. Teachers at one school may love the new schedule, while other teachers might not.

“First they couldn’t figure out the bell schedules for the first week of school. And then it was getting used to the 45 minute period which is just teachers cramming in stuff, so that was pretty hard to get used to,” said Libertyville High School student Matt Smith.