Schools pushing back school times to help kids get sleep

Flushing School District pushed back the start of the school day three years ago. (Picture from Marketia Bady)

FLUSHING, Mich - The national sleep foundation has found that pushing back the beginning of a school day to at least 8a.m. can lead to better grades, a reduction in absences and an overall better mood.

The Flushing School District pushed their start times back three years ago and are now seeing results.

Waking up and getting ready for school is not something most students enjoy.

Sydnei Chandler is a freshman at Flushing High School and is one of them.

"I'm pretty slow in the morning," said Chandler

Chandler was happy to learn that Flushing High School starts classes at 8a.m.

it’s still early, but three years ago the first bell rang in flushing at 7:40.

Click here to read the latest research from the National Sleep Foundation on school start time & sleep.

Teacher Amanda Canterbury says it may not seem like a big difference, but it is.

"Even five more minutes with their brain on their pillow is helpful," said Canterbury.

Flushing pushed back their start time three years ago, principal Jason Melynchek and chandler saw an immediate change in their students.

"I think every little bit counts, we saw a little bit more pep in their step a little bit easier to get to school at 8am in the morning that was effective and i think it still is," said Melynchek.

"The kids know we started it as late as we could, i think that sends a message to them, we acknowledge your tired, we care, i think it’s helpful in that way as well," said Canterbury.

More and more school districts are pushing back their start time, some parents like the idea, we met one who said it’s really all about getting the kids to sleep on time.

"I like it better early in the morning because i think it helsp with as they are getting older you have to be at work early, get them started and they will be ok be at work at 8a.m." said Christine Chandler

Christine also argues that if the start of the school day is pushed back kids will then have an excuse to stay up late.

That’s why she takes away all electronic devices a half hour before bed.

"They want to stay up and watch TV, my TV show comes on at 9:00 and you want me to go to bed, while guess what record it that's what DVR is for," said Chandler

Canterbury realizes students will still be tired, even with a later start time.

She said it’s her job to keep them awake and moving the minute they walk in the door.

"Make sure there is an opportunity for them to have some conversation to be interactive to get up and move those type of things certain help with morning classes," said Canterbury.

"So much instruction does still fall back to the instructor in the classroom to make sure their content is engaging and they are keeping the kids engaged with the material," said Melynchek.

Melyncheck says the other obstacle to pushing back school start times is the coordination with other districts and the bus routes.

It's something he hopes that all districts can work together in hopes of giving students a fresh, rested start to the day.