As high school students transition from late summer nights to early morning classes, there’s a strong chance they’ll lose time to sleep. While most schools push on with the traditional early morning bell schedule, Annie Wright Upper Schools will move to a late start in hopes of giving students more time to rest and exercise.
According to a 2006 study from the National Sleep Foundation referenced in a press release from Annie Wright, only 9 percent of 9–12 graders are getting the recommended amount of sleep on school nights. The study claims students who lack sleep have a higher chance of being irritable and feeling depressed.
In a 2014 policy statement, also cited in a press release, the American Academy of Pediatrics writes, “A substantial body of research has now demonstrated that delaying school start times is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement.”
The late start schedule for the Upper Schools will begin in the fall of 2019. On four mornings per week, students’ days will now begin at 9:15 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. With the extra time, students who participate in extra-curricular sports or establish an exercise routine can choose to sleep in or attend a study hall. The school will also provide different options for group exercises from 8 to 8:45 a.m.
Jake Guadnola, director of Upper School for Girls, said in a press release, “The research is overwhelmingly clear. Teenagers need more sleep. They also need more exercise. With this schedule, we will accomplish both. I believe it will fundamentally change the way school (and life) feel to our students.”