Schedule Change Editorial

Charles Deng, Opinion Editor

The blinds in a students’ room open to welcome the sun and its warm glow, but instead it’s pitch black. The darkness is not caused by an eclipse or pollution, but by the school district’s early start time for schools.

The pitch black sky students wake up to every morning is just one of several problems early school start times create. Many schools now are changing their schedules to have later start times and shorter school weeks to benefit students. The promising results prove that Kingsport City Schools should change their schedule to promote better health and less stress for students.

Many states are now changing start times for middle and high schools to start at 8:30 am. For example, several schools in California have already changed their start times.

According to the Center for Disease Control, schools that start later are beneficial for students. Students are able to receive the 7 to 10 hours sleep they need. Also, later start times allow students to eat their breakfast instead of having to go to school very early and not eating their breakfast.

Another reason why schools starting later is a good idea is that it reduces the time students might stay home alone after school. If schools start later, then they will end later, ultimately decreasing the time the child stays at home without supervision from working parents.

Starting schools later also improves test scores. According to the Denver Post, Colorado schools that changed their starting time to a later time saw math and literacy scores increase.

According to the CDC, research has found that students who wake up too early are at risk for symptoms of depression, were more likely to become overweight, had a higher chance of smoking and drinking, and a higher chance of doing poorly in class.

Also, if schools started later students would not have to wait in the dark for school buses, which is clearly a safety issue.

According to the CDC, teenagers need more sleep than younger children. In Kingsport, however, middle and high school starts at 7:45 am, while elementary schools start at 8:30 am. Simply switching those times could have a huge positive impact on students.

While later start times for schools would be helpful, another step toward better grades and health for students is needed. One way would be to switch to a four day school week. Students would attend school four days and takes the fifth day off.

Some parents may worry that the students would have less time to gain knowledge, but most of the schools who have attempted this schedule make up the lost time by shortening the student’s summer vacation or increasing the length of the school day.

In the midwest and in rural areas, schools have been experimenting with this type of schedule and have found many benefits, such as saving money for schools. According to NPR, schools that have tried a four-day school week saw an average of 0.4% to 2.5% of savings. Many schools have saved millions of dollars. The money they saved up could then be used to fund extracurricular activities and help pay for school supplies.

Students who are on a four day schedule are able to take the fifth day off to relax and be productive. The schedule also allows high school students who need volunteer hours to have a full day to get the hours they need.

Schools who tried a four-day week also saw attendance levels rise. According to “Idaho Education News”, schools in Idaho saw attendance increase by nearly 20%. This means that more students came to school and were able to learn. According to “Science Alert”, schools that tried a four-day week also saw test scores increase by several points.

Four-day weeks would also be beneficial for teachers. The schedule would give them the fifth day of the week to grade papers, learn new ways to teach, and plan lessons for the next week. This schedule would also give coaches a day where they could have extended practice.

A four-day school schedule and a later start time could have many positive effects on all of Kingsport students. Kingsport City Schools is always trying to improve their students’ learning experience, their technology, and their knowledge. Now it is time to change and innovate a new schedule for students.