Thank you, Marsha Sutton. Thank you for your perseverance in writing about the benefits of later school start times for middle and high school students. As a neuropsychologist, I have followed this research with interest for decades. As a community member, I have read your many columns over the years extolling the benefits of later start times, and I have been dismayed by the response of the San Dieguito Union High School Board. Now, as the parent of a sixth grader who will start at Earl Warren Middle School next year, it is with dread that I anticipate rousting my son every morning for the school’s 7:40 a.m. start time.
Rarely in behavioral research are results so compellingly consistent and conclusive: Later school start times are clearly associated with better physical health, emotional well being, and academic performance.
I was encouraged to learn that the district has asked its principals to begin a conversation about start times with their school communities. District parents have successfully flexed their collective muscle on several high profile issues recently. I hope they will campaign for later school start times with comparable vigor. The research is clear: Starting school later benefits our kids.
Diane Jacobs Baizer