The Superintendent on High School Start Times

FAIRBANKS- There's more and more research that high school start times work against the natural biology of teens. Yesterday, we shared that waking up before 8 am can interrupt the natural sleep cycle for teens. Superintendent Pete Lewis says high school schedules have been this way for more than 100 years, “and so the implications if we were to start at a later time- I think there are a number of factors we would have to consider."

 But for some, figuring out the details may be worth the effort. Researcher Kyla Wahlstrom, at the University of Minnesota, has studied schools that shifted from a 7:25 start time to an 8:30 start time. "I have to say I was skeptical at first, I've been a school administrator for almost 20 years before becoming a researcher and I was totally surprised by the feedback I was getting… they were saying this has totally changed the school.” They found huge jumps in graduation rates and more engaged students.

But don't expect schedule changes here locally anytime soon. Superintendent Lewis says interior students are already out-performing students in the state and the nation, and the dropout rate in the borough is at 4.4 percent, lower than it has been in the past two decades.