If you think it's too hard to return schools to later, healthier hours, here's a sampling of schools in 43 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 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 And if you see our information is out-of-date or inaccurate, please let us know as well.
How did they do it? Check out these
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
Pulaski County Special School District
in 2012 the district advanced some elementary school start times while delaying middle and high schools to save the district money in transportation expenses and improve academic performance in older students.
Menlo-Atherton High School
Designed an award winning sleep institute with partner Stanford University in 2006 and started school later in 2009.
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.
Long Beach Unified School District
All middle and 1 high school to start later (8:50 am or after for 2013-2014 (saving $ in the process)
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.
Olympic High School, part of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
Starting in Feb 2014, clocks changed to 9:15 a.m.-3 p.m. Teacher contracts did not need to change.
To start in 2011-2012 school year
Academy School District, Colorado Springs
Starting in 2014, the first day of school in Colorado Springs' Harrison School District Two will begin 20 minutes later than in past years, anywhere from 7:45 a.m to 9 a.m. depending on the school.
HS to start at 9 am instead of 7:30 am in 2012-13 school year
Won State Championships the same year later start was implemented
Beginning in school year 2012-13 the Milford School District delayed start times at Milford Central Academy and Milford High School by 50 minutes to 8:25 a.m. four days per week, and to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, while advancing the start time at Milford Middle School by 5 minutes to 7:30 a.m.
District of Columbia
Most high schools start at or after 8:30 a.m.
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 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
Superintendent's proposal to start high schools at 8:15 am rather than 7:30 am is approved by the BOE 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.
This change was prompted by parents objecting to moving start times earlier the year before but also happened to save money for the district.
SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability. This charter school starts at 8:30 am to match teen sleep patterns, with the first block always physical activity. Academics don't begin until 9:30 am.
In January 2012, the Meridian School District pushed back high school start times from 7:58 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. to allow teachers additional “prep time.” Bus schedules remained unchanged.
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.
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, Zionsville, IN
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."
Valparaiso Community Schools
Late start one a day week implemented to improve teacher planning time and exemplified coordination of efforts with before care services
Wabash City High will start @ 8:35 AM in 2014-2015, 50 min later than current 7:45 AM start time for Wabash HS & MS.
After considerable back and forth, Davenport IA plans to delay high school start times to after 8 am starting in 2014-15
West Des Moines School District
Started high schools later by reducing the number of buses needed, saving the district $700,000 annually.
Emporia Public Schools
Delayed start times for Emporia Middle School from 7:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. as part of a plan to lengthen the school day and shorten the calendar.
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.
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.
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
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.
Oceanside High Schools to start a half hour later (8am) in 2013-14 school year, based on scientific research about teen sleep needs.''
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.)
Arlington: 8:00 a.m. – 2:26 p.m.
Duxbury: Now 8:20 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Hingham: Now 8 a.m. - 2:32 p.m.
Marblehead: Now 7:55 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
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.
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.
Sharon Public Schools
Weston High School
Superintendent Cheryl Maloney leads the charge to shift start time from 7:30am to 8:00am by freeing up free slots during the middle of the day. “It’s not something that can be fixed by saying, well, they should be going to bed earlier,” Erica Cole, a high school assistant principal and a member of the start-time committee, said, adding that research shows students’ bodies and minds do not allow them to “power down” until a certain time.
Schools delay start times by 20 minutes for 2014-15 so that students of all ages start class after 8 a.m.
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 less student 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.
In 2012 the Moorhead Area Public Schools school board voted unanimously to delay the start time for middle school students by 80 minutes to 9:05 a.m. based on adolescent sleep research. High schools still start at 8:25 a.m.
South Washington County Schools
Moved the start of the school day from 7:35 am to 8:35 am in 2009 to align school start times with teenage body rhythms.
Pushed back high school start times to 8:35 a.m. based on sleep science.
Hattiesburg Public School District
Oxford School District
Vicksburg Warren School District
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)!
Hickman Mills School District (Kansas City, MO)
Moved the start time to 8:30 for middle and high schoolers starting in the 2014-15 school year primarily because "the research says it's what's best for students."
Later school start implemented to SAVE transportation costs
Mojave High School pushed 2012-2013 start times back to 9 a.m. from 7:30 a.m. based pm “scientific research." Other district high schools start as early as 6:50 a.m.
Ridgewood High School
Trial to start one hour later will be profiled by Race to Nowhere
New MexicoLas Cruces Public Schools
Classes in middle and high school students moved start times later, to 9 a.m., starting in fall 2011, as part of a plan to manage a smaller budget.Dismissal times are five minutes earlier.
Elementary and Middle Schools to move teacher planning to morning and students will start an hour later
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.
Glens Falls High School
Preliminary data from 1st year of implementation in 2012-13 already show reduction in tardies & improved sleep
Shift from 7:55 am to 8:30 am starts approved in 2007.
Three high schools to start an hour later and use their own buses
This change actually saved $700,000 in transportation costs
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."
Class course scheduling policy requires that NO class start before 8:30 a.m.
Moved start times later for middle and high schools starting in 2010-11 school year.
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 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.
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
Board of Education approves schedule to start HS one hour later, at 9 am, for the 2013-14 school year. Earliest school start is 8 am.
Corvallis School District
Pushed back high school start times to 8:15 a.m. four days a week and 9:15 a.m. one day to improve academic achievement and allow students more sleep time. (Hampton, New school start time pushes sports practices late into evening (Jul. 25, 2011) Corvallis Gazette-Times.)
Lake Oswego School District
In 2012 moved high schools to later start times (from 7:35 a.m.) based on adolescent sleep research.
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.
Blue Ridge School District
Starting in fall 2013 middle and high school start times were delayed by 30 minutes to 8:15 a.m. to address adolescent sleep and improve academic performance.
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."
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?"
High schools that started at 7:30 a.m. were moved to 8:20 a.m. start times based on sleep science.
Emery/Weiner School, Houston. A great example of the "will to change" putting fears & objections to rest
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.
Salt Lake City
Innovations High School
This Early College High School in the Salt City School District offers flexible scheduling for students. Most students reported arrive at about 8:45 a.m.
Brattleboro Union High School
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
Board approved moving all high school starts to between 8 and 8:10 am beginning in fall of 2015-16. While middle schools remain suboptimal, the Superintendent will continue to work on moving them closer to 8 a.m. in the future.
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.
Note: In Virginia, 72 out of the state's 95 counties start school at or after 8:00 a.m.
Highline School District
Aviation High School in Seattle is a regional high school that has always had a 9 a.m. start time
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.
Seattle Lutheran School
Whitnall High School, Greenfield
Jackson Hole High School
Outside the US:
Regina Catholic Schools, Saskatchewan,
Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute in Toronto started allowing students to arrive at 10 a.m.
Bundang District, Gyeonggi
Monkseaton High School (gradually moved to 10 a.m. starts from the more traditional 9 a.m. start time)
There are at least fifty high schools in large area suburban areas that have earned the a US News Gold or Silver ranking that have 8:00 AM or later 1st bell time - SLEEPinFairfax.org