FAIRBANKS- Waking up early can be the pits for anyone, but it can be especially hard for teens on their way to school. The Director of the Center for Applied Research and Education in Minnesota, Kyla Wahlstrom, has studied high school start times for nearly two decades. Her research shows students perform better when they start school later. "The kids were more apt to complete their homework, turn in their assignments and therefore get better grades in their classes," Wahlstrom said.
Three years after a Minneapolis school district changed their start times, Wahlstrom said there were about 9% more students graduating than before. They changed from a 7:20 am start to 8:30 am. The President of the Alaska Sleep Clinic, Kevin Asp, says teenagers have a biological need to sleep in late. "Around age 14 or so, they tend to have what we call a delayed sleep phase change, meaning that they don't get tired until the later part of the evening,” Asp says. Usually they are alert until 11 pm and they don't tend to wake up until about 8 am.
He created a petition to push back Alaskan high school start times to after 8 am. One option is to start elementary schools early rather than highschools. "The elementary age child is able to wake up earlier, they have a natural tendency to wake up earlier," Asp said.
We'd like to hear what you and your highschoolers think about later start times. Please leave a comment under the story on our facebook page.
A link to more research can be found below, here is the link to the start time petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/prevent-public-schools?source=c.em.mt&r_by=8618165