Noblesville schools consider later start times

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School administrators in Noblesville are considering a big change they say will help students get more rest and make them smarter at the same time.

Officials are discussing a plan to start classes later across all schools in the district. But some parents aren't in favor of the proposal.

The district says there have been concerns for years about the energy level and alertness of students in morning classes. They cite research that shows:

  • During puberty, the sleep patterns for adolescents change because of hormonal issues (melatonin)
  • As a result, it is difficult for high school students to fall asleep until after 10 p.m.
  • High school students need 8.5 - 9.25 hours of sleep per night, and early school start times prevent many, if not most students, from attaining this much sleep
  • Many sleep experts said that "Waking a teen at 7 a.m. is similar to waking an adult at 4 a.m." because of the influence of hormones on their sleep patterns

The result of the early start time, officials say, is tardiness, napping in class, mental lapses, conflicts with teachers and peers and depression. Staff members reported noticing more positive attitudes and increased alertness in students on days where the district was under a two-hour weather delay.

Under the new plan, elementary school students would start their day at 8 a.m., going to school until 2:50 p.m., while middle and high school students would go to school from 8:45 a.m. until 3:35 p.m.

"The research proves this is great for high school and middle schoolers but there is no research that proves that this won't adversely effect elementary kids. So I think that all parents want to be assured and no parent wants their child to be a guinea pig," said parent Laura Paris.

"May 20th it will be discussed and it will either be determined to move forward with it to or study it for an additional year or not move forward at all," said Noblesville School Board President Pat Berghoff.

Research links

Sleep resources

School start times

Students raise alarms over later start times