Starting Point                             Page 6


Securing That One Extra Hour

The professional literature on the sleep needs of adolescents has been quite clear and compelling on its major finding for two decades: High schoolers fall far short when each new school day begins.

We’ve reported on that research of sleep deficiency and its implications on several occasions in School Administrator over the years, so in this issue we opted to open with an article that examines three school districts that successfully moved back the opening bell of their high schools by 50 minutes or more. Each of these districts had to navigate through the familiar thicket that has stymied many other school boards that hoped, without success, to make the same adjustment in their schools’ operating hours to benefit the learning of their secondary school students.

As we were finalizing this content, Fairfax County, Va., became the latest and, by far, biggest school system to roll back its high schools’ start times. The board’s 11-1 vote in late October for the change culminated a 20-year campaign and set up the 185,000-student district as a likely role model for other large systems.

Our January issue dives further into alternative uses of time in school, examining the longer school day, the trimester schedule, the four-day school week and one district’s flexible learning plan that kicks in whenever snowfall forces school closings.

Please let me and the authors know whether you find these stories informative and helpful.

Jay P. Goldman, Editor
Voice: 703-875-0745
E-mail: jgoldman@aasa.org
Twitter: @jpgoldman


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