Should School Start at 10 am?


Many years ago, I read an article about high school start times. I found it very interesting in that biologically high school students are more alert and productive later in the day, which explains why they generally sleep in later. It went on to say that adjusting school times to match up with the circadian rhythm of high school students would be beneficial. Instead of groggy, unengaged students, delaying the start of school could allow students to learn during their prime alert hours.

For example, instead of starting school at 7:00 am as most high schools do, a start time of 9:00 am would be introduced. This would then affect after school sports and clubs so those would have to be adjusted or cancelled. The drawback here is that sporting events would start around 6:00 pm meaning many dark practice environments. This would also alter bus schedules and routes. The article came down to a decision:

  • Option A: Work through the scheduling obstacle so that students are in classrooms when their brains are fully functioning
  • Option B: Keep the schedule as is because it is convenient for transportation and athletic scheduling

What do you think?

I recently came across a similar article entitled, “Despite Proven Benefits Starting School Later is Still a Tough Sell.” The article focuses on sleep deprivation. Teens stay up later due to their biological clock. With early school start times, this means teens are sleeping less. We all know that teens have growth spurts and rest is necessary to aid in this proper growth. Parents are thinking that teens are lazy and unmotivated, but it really is the result of lack of sleep. Would you operate fully on less sleep? I know I wouldn’t.

They say 10:00 am would be the ideal time so that teens internal clocks match up with the academic day. If you still do not think this is a good idea, look at this fact:

“In 2014, the University of Minnesota released a study that examined data

from more than 9,000 students attending eight high schools in three states.

The study found that attendance and academic performance in math,

English, science and social studies improved at schools with later start times,

while tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression declined.”

Here is the proposal:


As a teen, I would LOVE to sleep in later. As a teacher, I wouldn’t mind it either. It does mean I would get home later, but I want to be awake when I have to teach just like students want to be awake when they have to learn. I am absolutely FOR a later start time!


Are you FOR or AGAINST a delayed start time for school?

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.