If you think it's too hard to return schools to healthier hours, here's a sampling of schools in 44 states that have done it already or are doing it in the next school year. While some of these schedules aren't ideal, they all give students a chance for healthier sleep than the typical American middle or high school.
Hundreds of school communities across the USA - and beyond - have found ways to make this happen by prioritizing health and learning. Below we feature schools that have come to our attention.
If you have a success story to share, please LET US KNOW! And if you see our information is out-of-date or inaccurate, please let us know as well.
Phenix City Sending the early grades to school 45 minutes earlier and middle and high school students an hour and 15 minutes later starting in fall 2014, Superintendent Wilkes says the later start time for older students is an effort to increase student success.
Mingus Union High School (Cottonwood) Moved its start time to 8:40 am beginning during the 2011-2012 school year Yuma City Later start and end times for Yuma Elementary School District 1 and Yuma Union High School District campuses were approved for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, with the high school moving bell time from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., saving transportation costs as well.
Bentonville In 2007 delayed high school start times (at expense of middle and elementary school hours) to address sleep health and growing traffic issues, at a cost savings. High schools moved from 7:45–2:45 to 8:45-3:45; middle schools from 8:00–3:00 to 7:40–2:40; elementary schools from 8:00-3:00 to: 7:30–2:30.
Albany Unified Moved high school bell time to 8:10 a.m. in 2013 based on sleep research.
Campbell Hall On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, grades 7-12 of the K-12 school start at 8:50 a.m. On Wednesdays, grades 7-12 start at 9:30 a.m. Classes and lunchtime were slightly shortened. Students now get out at 3:40 p.m. instead of 3:15 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School Designed an award winning sleep institute with partner Stanford University in 2006 and started school later in 2009.
Moorpark High School Moorpark High School students will move opening from 7:30 am to 8 am in the 2012-13 school year, only possible after busing funds were cut entirely.
Morago Middle School Waving goodbye to a 48-year tradition, the Moraga School District's middle school will shift in Fall 2016 to an 8:30 a.m. starting time. The 40-minute change to the bell schedule will have students dismissed at 3 p.m.; seventh-grade students taking Z period will finish their days at 3:49 p.m.
Palo Alto Improved times to start in 2011-2012 school year.
Santa Rosa In 2006 switched to a 3-tier bus system, to increase graduation rates, decreased delinquency, and lower bus costs. High schools moved from 8:00–2:45 schedules to 9:15-3:15 schedules, middle schools from 8:20–2:55 to 8:30–2:30; and elementary schools remained at 7:30–1:30 p.m. schedules.
Academy School District Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, Academy School District 20 delayed high school classes that began as early as 7:05 a.m., to 7:45 a.m., with the Aspen Valley High School start time remaining at 8:55 a.m. Middle schools were delayed to times between 7:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
Cortez-Montezuma Schools An interim superintendent changed the previous 7:30 a.m. start to 8:50 a.m. for Cortez Middle School and the Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2012. The interim superintendent also at the same time changed the district’s four-day school week to a five-day week
Denver When Denver’s new Northfield High School opens in August 2015, its students will report to their first class more than an hour later than students at most other district high schools. The school’s planned 8:45 a.m. start time is a nod to the growing body of evidence that suggest teens are hard-wired to favor later bedtimes and do better academically when school schedules accommodate their natural sleep cycles.
In addition, back in 2005, Denver schools added 2 hours to HS day for flexibility. Students pick their own start and end times.
Harrison School District Starting in 2014, the Harrison School District near Colorado Springs pushed back start times at all 20 of its schools, after a committee studied the issue for two years. High schools now start at 7:45 a.m. instead of 7:20 a.m, and elementary and middle schools now start at 8:35 a.m. instead of 8:10 a.m. On Mondays only, middle schools start at 10:05 a.m. and high schools start at 9:15 a.m. They say they made these changes before the AAP recommendations were out and will continue to work toward starting high schools later.
West Hartford In 2007 changed bell times by making the first hour of high school (which continued to start at 7:30 a.m.) a study hall and allowing students to use “flex” time to start 2nd period. District reported positive impacts on emotional health, stress, and academic performance
Wilton The district won State Championships the same year later start was implemented.
Brevard District of 96,000 students changed in 2000 by moving ES earlier (to 8 a.m. bell time). MS activities changed to before school with own transportation required. District reported large reduction in tardiness and absences.
Kissimmee The first bell at Osceola High School rings at 8:20 a.m., making the Kissimmee school a scheduling maverick for as long as anyone can remember. By then, all other traditional public high schools in Central Florida have been in class for an hour or more.
Lake Wales Lake Wales High School will start classes after 8 a.m. starting in August 2014 due to "overwhelming and compelling" research that earlier hours are hurting students.
Panama City Superintendent's proposal to start high schools at 8:15 am rather than 7:30 am is approved by the Board of Education for school year 2013-14.
St Johns County After moving high school start times to 9:15 a.m. in 2006 to streamline bus runs and save money, administrators found it was better for teenagers.
Santa Rosa County The county saved millions when it changed to later school start times in 2006. This is a very highly ranked Florida public school system with competitive (football district champion) athletic teams.
22 other Florida districts start school after 8 am, many with transportation savings.
Clayton County Moved high schools 20 minutes later to 8:50 am opening as part of a move to lengthen the school day.
Decatur This change was prompted by parents objecting to moving start times earlier the year before but also happened to save money for the district.
McClean County Unit 5 Starting in the 2016-17 school year, elementary schools will start at 7:45 a.m. and go to 2:30 p.m., junior high schools will be 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and high schools will change to 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. By eliminating buses, changing routes and moving start times, the district expects to save $1.5 million.
Stevenson High School This Lincolnshire school is pushing back start time 25 minutes from 8:05 to 8:30 a.m. beginning in the 2016-17 school year. Because of scheduling conflicts with grade schools, Stevenson will have to spend an extra $150,000 for buses each school year. To avoid running into conflicts with extracurricular activities and busing schedules, Stevenson will keep the same ending time, 3:25 p.m., meaning class periods generally will be reduced to 47 minutes from 50 minutes.
Avon High School "I think the research is very plain. The older the student, the later you should start school," said Rick Adcock, Avon High School principal.
Decatur Township District will shift start times for all school 20 minutes later starting in 2015-16 to improve safety, health, and school success
Noblesville District will alter schedule for all students in 2015-16 so that schools run at more developmentally appropriate hours for all ages
Zionsville Community High School Moved to an 8:10 start time after a student group presented research on the subject to the superintendent.
Cathedral High School Principal Dave Worland initiates a 30 minute delay in school start times. He states, "It's not about the adults, it's about the kids."
Iowa City In Feb. 2016, the Iowa City Community School Board voted 7-0 to start elementary school at 7:55 a.m. and start junior high and high school at 8:50 a.m. This means elementary school will end at 2:55 p.m. while secondary school will end at 4 p.m.
Newton High School For 2014-2015, Newton High School in the Newton Public Schools District will delay its 7:55 a.m. start time by 35 minutes to 8:30 a.m.
Fayette County Teen driver crash rates reduced by 16.5% in 2 years after school start time delayed by one hour while the rest of the state saw an increase in teen crash rates.
Jessamine County Since implementing later school starts in 2002, "attendance immediately went up, as did scores on standardized tests, which have continued to rise each year." The schools also cut down on "passing time" and saved on bus expenses.
Lafayette Parish This district voted to solve the problem by pushing all schools later by 15 minutes. On Aug. 28, 2014 we were told that to date the situation remained unacceptable, with some middle schools starting as early as 6:45 a.m.
Brunswick County In 2001 moved high schools from 7:25–1:50 schedule to 7:45–2:10; MS from 7:40–2:10 to 8:08–2:30; and ES from 8:40–2:55 tp 9:00–3:30. The superintendent and school board were influenced by neighboring Topsham district and sleep science.
Cumberland/North Yarmouth (District 51) Starting in fall 2016, Greely High School will begin the school day at 8 a.m., instead of the current time of 7:30 a.m., releasing at 2:30 p.m., instead of 2:12 p.m. Greely Middle School for grades 6-8 will start classes at 8 a.m., instead of 7:33 a.m., and will be dismissed at 2:33 p.m., instead of 2:15 p.m. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will begin class at 8:45 a.m., instead of 8:30 a.m. Their dismissal time will be 3:15 p.m., instead of 3 p.m.
Orchard Beach (RSU23) At the RSU 23 School Board meeting June 16th, 2016, the Board unanimously voted to change school hours, based on the Start School Later initiative, such that: PreK-5 will have school from 8-2:15 and Grades 6-12 will have school from 8:30-2:45
RSU 13 Oceanside High Schools moved a half hour later (8am) in 2013-14 school year, based on scientific research about teen sleep needs.
Topsham In 2005 changed schedules to save on transportation costs by having HS and MS students share buses. High schools moved from 7:30–2:00 schedules to 7:50-2:21; middle schools from 7:20–2:00 to 7:40–2:10.
Westbrook High School Moved start time 1/2 hour later "several years ago" (as of Aug. 2014), and officials say benefits to students are clear.
Indian Creek Upper School (Crownsville) This independent school was started in part to allow students to begin the school day at sleep-friendly hours, i.e., 8:45 am.
School for Tomorrow (Rockville) At this independent school, students must be present and ready to learn at 9:30 a.m. However, the school is open beginning at 8:00 a.m. (The core school day ends at 3:30 p.m., but the school is open until 5:00 p.m.)
Holyoke Shifted start times in 2005, with change led by school board based on sleep science, aiming to improve sleep and tardiness.High school switched from a 7:15–1:52 schedule to 8:15–2:52; middle school from 7:15–1:52 to 8:15–2:52; and elementary school remained at 9:05–3:05
Marblehead: Now 7:55 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Marlborough AMSA Charter School starts its first class starts at 8:15 a.m. (homeroom at 8:05 a.m.).
Medway: Now 8:04 a.m. - 2:31 p.m.
Needham In 2004 moved high schools from 7:40–2:20 to 8:99-2:35 schedules; middle schools from 7:40–1:55 to 7:50-2:10; and elementary schools from 8:20/9:00–2: 30/3:00 to 8:35–2:35. Superintendent formed advisory committee to study all issues. Change based on concerns about sleep health.
Nauset High School After the 2012 implementation of an hour later school start, preliminary analysis revealed: - a 53 percent drop in the number of failing grades - a 38 percent decline of D's and F's - the number of days students were suspended for disciplinary reasons plummeted from 166 in the first two months last year to 19 days in September and October of this year. These findings have been confirmed over time, with an additional benefit of a reduction in tardiness (3/14/16)
North Andover Superintendent formed advisory committee to collect research, speak to sleep experts and conduct stakeholder meetings. The resulting changein 2011 was a partal success in that is was not as great a delay as recommended. Nonetheless, reported outcomes included improved grades and attendance and decreased tardiness and disciplinary action. High school switched from 7:15–1:57 to 7:40-2:15; middle school from 7:20–2:05 to 7:55-2:20; and elementary school from 8:15–2:50 to 8:35–3:00.
Williamston Schools delay start times by 20 minutes for 2014-15 so that students of all ages start class after 8 a.m.
Sturgis Both middle and high school went from a 7:30 a.m. to an 8:15 a.m. start time. Administrators reported a drastic drop in tardies for the first hour and greatly improved grades.
"At Sturgis Public Schools we went from a double to single bus run allowing us to go from a 7:30 AM start time to 8:15 AM at both our high school and middle school buildings. We have seen a drastic drop in tardies for first hour and grades have improved greatly as well. Some of that could be due to new positive school climate initiatives, but we believe that starting later has really been a key piece in the dramatic progress we've seen." - Thomas Langdon, Superintendent, Sturgic Public Schools
Edina Landmark study notes positive effects of later school starts "...initially Edina parents were concerned about the effect of later starts on such logistical issues as busing, athletics, and child care for younger students. But at the end of the first year of implementation, 92 percent of respondents on a survey for Edina high school parents indicated that they preferred the later start times." - CHED, University of Minnesota
Mahtomedi School District High schools found a way to start 35 minutes later by shortening passing periods - a no-cost solution. An added bonus: no impact on after-school activities, better attendance, and fewer students sleeping in class.
Minneapolis Public Schools "...the later start time still appears to have made a significant difference in keeping students in the same school." Study also notes an increase in attendance and a decrease in symptoms of depression.
St. Paul Hoping to test a potential district-wide later start time for high schools, Johnson High School will be the guinea pig school, with classes slotted to start at 8:30 a.m. starting in school year 2015-2016, as opposed to this school year’s 7:30. The other high schools in the district will stick with a 7:30 start time.
Woodbury Pushed back high school start times to 8:35 a.m. based on sleep science.
Hattiesburg Public School District This 2013 change, which benefited high school students at the expense of middle school students, was based on sleep science: HS: 7:20–2:45 MS: 8:30–3:50 ES: n/a schedules moved to HS: 8:30–3:50 MS: 7:30–2:45; ES: 8:00–3:00.
Columbia Public Schools Using Start School Later materials, students led a campaign to get their school board to reverse a proposal to start high schools earlier - and then turned it into a plan to start them later (9 am for 2013-14 school year)!
Corinth Elementary and Middle Schools to move teacher planning to morning and students will start an hour later
Coxsackie Coxsackie School District is finalizing plans to begin 15 minutes later at all buildings starting in Feb 2015 citing medical evidence on sleep patterns supporting start times after 8:30 am. and saying it will give them extra time with teachers and more time for crews to plow snowy roads in the winter. (12/5/14)
Dobbs Ferry Start in the 2015-16 school year, high and middle schools will change from a 7:38 a.m. start to 8:12 a.m. to give teens more sleep.
Elmira Elmira High School will start the school day at 8:50 am beginning in the fall of 2014 because it's better for teens! And no student in the district will start class before 7:55 am.
Ithaca Shift from 7:55 am to 8:30 am starts approved in 2007. (Some sources say 8 to 8:55 a.m. shift.) Change primarily made to reduce bus costs. District realized about $400–600 K
Saratoga Springs Waldorf School went to a 30 minute later high school start time in 2014-15.
Rhinebeck In March 2016 the school board voted to move middle and high schools start times half an hour later to 8 a.m. and elementary schools five minutes later to 9 a.m. starting in the fall of 2016. High school classes will be only three minutes apart instead of four minutes, and the last class of the day will end 19 minutes later, at 2:35 p.m.
Columbus County Three high schools to start an hour later and use their own buses
Moore County This 2012 change to a two-tiered bus system actually saved $700,000 in transportation costs
Rowan-Salisbury All high schools and some middle schools will start later, at 8:30 a.m., though middle and other elementary schools will start at 7:30 am beginning in 2015-16.
The district’s middle schools will start at 7:30 a.m. and high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. Elementary Schools will be split into two groups, half of which will start with the high schools and half of which will start with the middle schools.
Wake County Middle schools were studied to determine the impact of school start times on academic achievement, since schools in the county vary their start times.
The study found a discernible improvement in test scores for schools that start later and that "... these calculations suggest that increased spending on bus transportation, in order to delay the beginning of the school day, may be substantially cheaper than reducing class size to gain a comparable improvement in test scores."
Duke University Class course scheduling policy requires that NO class start before 8:30 a.m.
Hamilton Beginning in 2015-16, middle and high schools will start later to allow teens more sleep. School hours for the 2015-16 school year are: Hamilton High School: 7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m., Hamilton Freshman School: 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., Garfield and Wilson Middle Schools: 8:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Hudson Moved start times later for middle and high schools starting in 2010-11 school year.
Indian Hill Following advice from public health experts, the district voted in March 2016 to move school start times for teens later starting in the 2016-17 school year. the district's new start times will be: 8:00 am – 2:45 pm for the High School and Middle School; 8:45 am – 3:30 pm for the Primary School; and 8:55 am – 3:40 pm for the Elementary School.
Kenston Public Schools "The high school and middle school start @ 7:50 and elementary schools starting @8:45 or 8:55. The greatest adjustment was with our working parents at the elementary levels. High school and middle school parents love it." - Superintendent Dr. Robert Lee via email dated March 12, 2013
North Olmsted North Olmsted High School will start 40 minutes later starting in the fall of 2014 The new start time will be 8:00 a.m. Middle School will start at 7:45, which is 22 minutes later than in prior years.
Northridge Starting in 2015-16, all schools for all ages will move to later start times, including moving middle and high school starts from 7:30 am to 7:55 am.
Onasburg Buses will come later for Osnaburg Local students starting in 2014-15 as the district shifted start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.
Parma All district schools change hours, with middle schools moving 20 minutes later to 8:20 a.m. in part due to new understanding of sleep needs
Westlake High School "While we don't have any data to say how the later start time may or may not have improved the academic performance of our students, I can say the students are definitely enjoying the extra sleep in the morning." - Kim Bonvissuto, Communications Coordinator, Westlake City School District via email dated March 12, 2013
North Clackamas School District Instituted a staggered delayed start time for al K-12 schools, with elementary classes starting at 8 a.m., middle school at 9:15 a.m., and high school classes starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Solebury School The Solebury School, a private school, is changing their school start time to 8:30 am starting in the fall of 2016 -- because of the research!
St. George's School, Middletown After implementing a trial to delay school by 30 minutes, the following results were reported: "The portion of students reporting at least eight hours of sleep on school nights jumped from about 16 percent to almost 55 percent; reports of daytime sleepiness dropped substantially, from 49 percent to 20 percent; first period tardiness dropped by almost half and students reported having more time to eat a hot, more nutritious breakfast." "The results were so impressive that the school made the change permanent."
Beaufort County Following the successful move to later high school start times in Hilton Head, most Beaufot County middle and high schools move from an 8 a.m. to a 9 a.m. start beginning in the 2016-17 school year.
Dorchester County Moving high schools from 7:25 am to 8:55 am starts beginning in 2015-16 school year w/minor changes to elementary & middle schools and at no cost (12/8/14)
Hilton Head High School Principal Amanda O'Nan has decided to move the school's start time from 7:45 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. for 2014-15, saying, "If it is good for kids, then why are we not doing this?"
Little Elm ISD High school moving bell time later to 9 a.m. starting in 2014-15 based on the school system moving from a straight, two-tiered bussing system to a multi-tiered system and the addition of a campus.
Arlington Groups tasked with planning for later start times were instructed that options were to be largely cost neutral and could not include additional buses and drivers. To read how they did it, click here.
Bedford County In 2013, this district added a tier to bus system, so that students shared buses, saving on bus costs. They also added online early classes and early dismissal for athletes. High schools moved from 8:30–3:00 bell times to 8:55-3:35; middle schools from 8:30–3:00 to 8:55-3:35; and elementary schools from 8:30–3:00 to 7:55–2:35. Chesapeake City
Charlottesville Board approved to move middle school start times from 7:40 am to 8:30 pm starting in fall 2014 to help young teens get enough sleep Falls Church City
Manassas City Good news for high schoolers, who will start their day at 8:10 am starting in the fall of 2014, although it's unfortunate that under the new schedule Metz Middle School students will start their day first, at 7:20 a.m. and Mayfield Intermediate School will start at 7:35 a.m.
Montgomery County Elementary and secondary schools will switch start times beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, with high school and middle school start times 8:50 and elementary schools 8 a.m. Busing for elementary school students will begin at 7 a.m. and for higher grades at 7:40 a.m.
Richmond Starting in fall 2015, all comprehensive schools (elementary, middle, and high school) will run between 8 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. (3/2/15)
Note: In Virginia, 72 out of the state's 95 counties start school at or after 8:00 a.m.
Evergreen School District Evergreen Public Schools will push high school start times back later in the morning beginning in the fall of 2016. Citing studies about teenage sleep patterns and improved academic performance and attendance, plus requests from parents, the district will have high school students start about an hour later than the current time. Elementary and middle school start times will shift only slightly.
Mercer Island School District Changed high school start time from 7:20 a.m. to 8 a.m., although many families would like to see even later bell times and a committee is consider moving them later (12/5/14)
River Falls Superintendent formed committee, which surveyed parents, staff, and others about potential change, and then added change goal to strategic plan. The 2011 change was based on sleep science. Bell times did not change as much as leadership recommended: high school moved from 7:25–2:35 to 7:45-250; middle school from 7:30–2:35 to 7:45–2:50; and elementary school from 8:35–3:40 to 8:45–3:50.