School Start Times

April 15, 2008
By Ashley Hyde, Fruita, CO

The scheduled start time for high schools in this district is extremely early, 7:25. Teens whine about having to get up so early to go to school, and surely it's not a walk in the park for the teachers either. When you look at it from a psychological standpoint, there are clearly reasons behind the whining and bickering. In turn, this school district should seriously reconsider the times at which we half-conciously stumble into school.
The brain - according to many brain wave studies - is not fully alert until about 9:00 A.M. This would result in the first hour and a half of school being almost pointless, since a good majority of the students can only focus on keeping their eyes peeled open. It's proven that between 9:00 and 11:00 is when the teenage brain is most concentrated. So if the school board and teachers wanted to actually get a good use of their time spent, starting around 9:00 would make much more sense.
Another "slump" during the day is between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 P.M. Although the brain is not tired, it tends to focus on things that only appeal to it. Which, in most normal cases, is probably not school. Instead, this slot of time could be dedicated to extracurricular activities that the students have engaged in themselves. Activities such as sports, clubs, theatre arts, etc.
One last point to be emphasized will be the fact that while we are at school a total of 8 hours and 20 minutes, about 1 hour and 36 minutes is dedicated to passing periods and lunch time alone. Not to mention the amount of time wasted for the 10 minute hall sweeps, roll call. and the many instances where teachers have to focus on calming a class down or disciplining one or a few students. We probably spend about 6 and a half hours of the 8 and a half spent at school actually doing something productive.
So a great conclusion that makes great sense to me, and probably many others, would be this: start school at 9:00, have shorter passing periods, allow a one hour lunch break at noon, and finish out the day at 3:00. This would allow us a total of 6 hours, which as showed before, is the approximate amount of time spent well, according to current school hours.
The reasons behind this great concept are clearly displayed in every school day. So why not make everybody happy without losing anything? If this school board absolutely has to have somebody getting on a bus at 6:30 in the morning, make it the little kids....they have more energy.

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