Welcome to Start School Later Ann Arbor, MI!
The Ann Arbor chapter was started by a group of concerned parents and scientists dedicated to addressing students’ needs in the Ann Arbor Public School System. The scientific evidence is clear that teens need to start school no earlier than 8:30 a.m., as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Sleep Foundation.
Ann Arbor high school students must be in school by 7:45 a.m., with some bus pickups starting at 6:34, lunch at 10:30 and 11:30, and the school day ending at 2:36 (or even 1:42). There are two main problems with the current start times. First, sleep deprivation: According to the Mayo Clinic, teens need 9 hours of sleep per night. Assuming a 6:00 a.m. wake up time for breakfast and travel, teens need to be asleep by 9 p.m. With sports, school, and family activities often running past 9 p.m., students are regularly deprived of their needed sleep.
Second, puberty changes teens’ internal clock, delaying the time they start feeling sleepy or ready to awake by three hours. Studies of teenagers have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o’clock at night, and keep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise. When teens are forced to be awake at times inappropriate for their biological cycle, the result is impaired cognitive performance, learning, emotion, and safety.
The evidence shows that later schools start, the more academic performance improves, attendance goes up, depression goes down, and fewer student drivers get into car crashes. By simply aligning school schedules to their biological sleep rhythms, teens have “reduced risks of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” according to pediatrician Judith Owens, M.D.
To improve academic achievement, all we need do is start school no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Join us to urge our school administrators to take action!
To contact the Ann Arbor chapter, please fill out the contact form on this page or like us on Facebook.