Monday, March 28, 2011

What Are Your Thoughts On Modifying Our Schedule?

Sleeping student
cc licensed flickr photo shared by tapasparida

I wrote a blog post last spring about our later start times for school during MCAS Testing so that students could get some extra sleep before this "high-stakes" test.  There is plenty of research discussing the positive impact a later start time has had on student achievement.

One school that has been widely publicized for its efforts in this area Edina High School in Edina, MN. Edina High School was referenced in Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Here is an excerpt on why Edina High made the move to start an hour later:

"The decision to change the Edina High School start time from 7:25 to 8:30 was made in the spring of 1996 and implemented in the 1996-97 school year. The decision was made in response to a request from the Minnesota Medical Association (to all superintendents in Minnesota) to start high schools later, and that was in response to definitive medical research on adolescent sleep patterns from Brown and Johns Hopkins Universities. USA Today states that Edina was the first district in the nation to change start times based on that research."
Some of the student in my web 2.0 class have also been discussing an alternative schedule after last week's modified schedule due to MCAS. Senior Stacey Bezreh discussed her feelings on her class blog stating, "I feel as though I'd be more productive and take in more information if the schedule were different."

Based on student comments and some recent staff discussion on modifying the schedule to create more formal opportunities for teachers to collaborate during the school day, we decided to throw out this brief survey to get some feedback. 


  1. I'm all for letting the kids go in later - and stay in later. Would a one-hour change (starting and ending the day one hour later) really be a hardship? It would give the students more time for sleep, without changing the school day. The biggest impact I could see would be on after-school sports, but I think it would be a net positive.

  2. I think the most beneficial change in our schedule would be to not have 7 periods a day and instead work on a rotating schedule like some other schools do. This would allow class periods to be longer each day, and therefore more productive. This would also greatly benefit students who are busy in after school activities because they wouldn't have 7 classes of homework due the next day, but more like 5 and they have more time to do work.

  3. I agree with Shane. I don't really see why we need to have every class every day. We could start a little later, each class could be longer, and we wouldn't have the monotony of a seven-period static day. Some classes were so different during MCAS schedule due to being at different times because people function differently at different times of the day.

  4. If Burlington were truly concerned about the sleep patterns of their high school students, the buses would not pick up at 6:40am and drop the kids off at school at 6:50 for a school day that does not begin until 7:30am.

    A simple change in buses could get a large portion of the student body an additional 30 minutes of sleep.

  5. Thanks for the post on the bus times. I will check on that issue, it seems strange to me as well. However, to start off with a statement that assumes we are not truly concerned with our students is somewhat offensive. I think we could look at many issues and procedures in most schools and find things that don't make sense.

    Thanks again for pointing out one of what I am sure is a long list of items in this category.

  6. I agree with Shane that it would help greatly to have a schedule in which we go to the a certain amount of classes everyday for longer instead of our current seven day schedule. It would break up the amount of work over the week. However, our seven day schedule would be good maybe a week before midterms and a week before finals so that students and teachers could finish up before these major exams.

    Also, I agree with the bus schedule comment. In Burlington, the buses go from the high school to the middle to the elementary schools which would potentially make this hard to change as we are incredibly lucky that we don't have to pay for buses.

  7. I think we should have certain classes everyday, and come in an hour or so later. But school should not get out any later than 2. Us students have sports, and barley enough time for homework and to study, and still get a goodnights rest. Maybe only start late certains days, or every other week?