In October, as a result of SR 417, the PA Joint State Commission on Secondary School Start Times published its report recommending that the best start time for secondary school students (grades seven through 12) is 8:30 AM or later. Reasons for such a recommendation include:
- The secondary school-age student requires between eight and 10 hours of sleep per night to aid in their continuing development;
- The circadian rhythms of secondary school-age children are roughly two hours later than adults and their younger peers due to a delay on the release of the melatonin hormone, which induces sleep and occurs at about 11PM;
- The above two factors are difficult to reconcile without the adjustment to a later school start time;
- There are negative effects to a lack of sleep in secondary school-age children, such as mental and behavioral health issues and risky behaviors as well as a higher rate of athletic injuries; and
- Sleep is associated with one’s memory and ability to learn.
The Owen J. Roberts School District in suburban Philadelphia is a school district looking into whether to go to a later start time and, on November 20th, the school district will host Dr. Wendy Troxel, who served as an advisory member of the Joint Commission. Dr. Troxel will present at a public session at the Owen J. Roberts Middle school starting at 6:30 PM.
Thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer