Final Start Times for 2018-2019

The times below (Proposed 2) are the times that were adopted by the Burlington School Committee for the 2018-2019 school year.

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New York Times Article – The Science of Adolescent Sleep

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We posted about New York Times article titled The Science of Adolescent Sleep  back in May and promised to re-post it due to some of the conversations at our community forums on moving to a later start for BHS next fall. The article highlighted the feelings of many presenters at a recent conference on adolescent sleep, health and school start times that was held in Washington D.C. The entire article is worth reading.  The quote below is from Dr. Daniel Buysse, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“Their sleep drive takes longer to build up than it did in childhood, he said. “They don’t reach that critical level of sleepiness till a later time at night.”

A student who could handle elementary school starting at 9 a.m. may have to contend with middle school starting at 8 a.m. just as social demands and his or her own sleep cycle shift later, putting development, biology, social connections and academic expectations into conflict.


Proposed Start Times for 2018-2019

Below are the proposed start times for all of the Burlington Schools next year if we go to a later start time at Burlington High School.

As a reminder, we will hold community forums at the following times:

Community Forums:

Tuesday, October 3, 8:30 a.m. in the Francis Wyman Elementary School Auditorium

Tuesday, October 3, 7:00 p.m. in the Francis Wyman Elementary School Auditorium

Thursday, October 5, 8:30 a.m. in the Burlington High School Auditorium

Thursday, October 5, 7:00 p.m. in the Burlington High School Auditorium


More Positive Reports On Later Start Times for Teenagers

 A recent study by the Rand Corporation indicates that a later school start time could lead to a significant impact on the U.S. economy.  The key findings from the study are as follows:

  • The study suggested that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.
  • The study suggested that the benefits of later start times far out-weigh the immediate costs. Even after just two years, the study projects an economic gain of $8.6 billion to the U.S. economy, which would already outweigh the costs per student from delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m.
  • After a decade, the study showed that delaying schools start times would contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy, with this increasing to $140 billion after 15 years. During the 15 year period examined by the study, the average annual gain to the U.S. economy would about $9.3 billion each year.
  • Throughout the study’s cost-benefit projections, a conservative approach was undertaken which did not include other effects from insufficient sleep, such as higher suicide rates, increased obesityand mental health issues — all of which are difficult to quantify precisely. Therefore, it is likely that the reported economic benefits from delaying school start times could be even higher across many U.S. states.

An additional article from Business Insider cited sources that show the benefits occurring in schools that have already made the change to a later school start time.

“Following a survey issued at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, (Dobles Ferry School District Superintendent Lisa Brady told Business Insider ‘”it was clear from both the parents and the kids, overwhelmingly, that the mornings were just less stressful.”‘

A math teacher from New Hope, Pennsylvania also had positive things to say about his school’s switch to a later start time a year ago.”

“…students are less stressed and performing just as well if not better in their classes. A survey he issued schoolwide showed students and teachers are widely in favor of the policy.”



From USA Today – If later school start times are better, why aren’t they more popular?

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This past week, USA Today ran an article about the mixed reception that later school start times receive in many communities.  The article highlighted the conversations that have taken place in Germantown, Tennessee during the past year as they move from a school day that spanned 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.  to a school day that ran from 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

One of the points made in the article is that the later start to the school day cannot happen in a vacuum. There must be other conversations that take place to ensure that students are learning about healthy sleep routines.  Sleep expert, Dr. Merrill Wise notes the following in the article:

“We are living with a sleep deprivation epidemic…(The school day) one of the most modifiable factors that parents and school personnel could pursue…But a later start time isn’t solely the answer. Families have to be educated about healthy sleep schedules, prying electronic devices away from children at night and creating routines that lead to more sleep…Without those factors, schools may not see much difference in their children”

The article goes on to cite other struggles that schools across the country have had with the transition to later school start times (i.e. cost implications for transportation and later start and end times for extra curricular activities).  The balanced look at the issue also contains links to other articles on the topic, including the following:

High Schools, wake up to later start times: USA Today’s Editorial Board’s View

Later start times disrupt families: Opposing View

From the Huffington Post – The Concerning Link Between Inadequate Sleep and Adolescent Substance Use

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A new article published in the Huffington Post highlights research that shows a correlation between lack of sleep and substance abuse.

Researchers have found striking links between insufficient sleep and a range of adverse outcomes in adolescents, including obesity, poor school performance, and behavioral problems including substance use.

Click here for the complete article