Later Clark County school starts could improve test scores, attendance

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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How much sleep do you need each night? Here are the recommended guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

But school leaders say schedules are complicated and later starts could affect extracurriculars, homework time.

How much sleep do you need?

Here are the recommended sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation, updated in 2015:

Newborns (0-3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day

Infants (4-11 months): 12 to 15 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years): 11 to 14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5): 10 to 13 hours

School age children (6-13): 9 to 11 hours

Teenagers (14-17): 8 to 10 hours

Younger adults (18 to 25): 7 to 9 hours

Adults (26-64): 7 to 9 hours

Older adults (65+): 7 to 8 hours

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Clark County high schools daily start/end times

Catholic Central: 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Emmanuel Christian: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Greenon: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Kenton Ridge: 8:25 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Northeastern: 8:25 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Northwestern: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Shawnee: 7:30 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Springfield/Clark CTC: 7:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

Springfield: 7:22 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Southeastern: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tecumseh: 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

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Research shows daily high school start times should be pushed back to allow high school students to get more sleep, but Clark County school leaders say many complicating factors are involved in setting those times.

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended start times at high schools be pushed back to 8:30 a.m. Teens who don’t get enough sleep can suffer mental and physical health issues, an increased risk for car crashes and declining academic performance, the study says.

Seven of the 11 high schools in Clark County start before 8 a.m., including Tecumseh and Springfield, which start at 7:15 a.m. and 7:22 a.m., respectively. Northeastern and Kenton Ridge have the latest start time at 8:25 a.m.

Sleep researchers nationally have pushed for later start times, which studies show can increase test scores, said Natalie Huber-Raiff, Springfield Sleep Center manager and registered sleep technologist.

“(Adolescents) internal body clocks are actually set for them to go to bed later,” Huber-Raiff said. “If you provide them opportunity to go to bed by 9 p.m., they’re not going to.”

The typical high school student goes to bed about 11 p.m., she said.

“It’s common across the globe, it’s not a cultural thing,” Huber-Raiff said. “Something about puberty does that to their body clock. The fact that we demand them to get up so early, it completely fights their biology.”

The topic was recently mentioned by parents during public meetings as part of the Springfield City School District’s strategic planning process, Superintendent Bob Hill said. It’s on his list of things to discuss with school board members.

“This is one of those that I certainly think deserves some consideration,” he said. “If it benefits kids, it’s absolutely worth looking at.”

Logistics can be a problem, Hill said, and before any decision is made a group would be put together to weigh the pros and cons. With high school students, later school start times typically mean practices and events for extracurriculars are pushed back, leaving less time for homework.

Some school districts in Central Ohio have switched start times for elementary and high school students, meaning the youngest students get to school earlier. However, that also means they’re getting out of school earlier, Hill said, which causes problems for parents who work later hours.

“There are all kinds of complications with it,” he said.

Truancy and school attendance would improve if school times were later, Springfield resident Joanna Perdue said. She has four children who attend the Springfield City School District.

It’s unrealistic for students to get up as early as 5 a.m. to get on the bus at 6:15 a.m. to make the earliest start times, she said.

“As a working adult, I don’t even have to get up that early for my job and would probably not be able to function fully if I did,” Perdue said.

The later start times at Northeastern and Kenton Ridge work, Superintendent John Kronour said, but it can also be challenging because many students will have jobs that start earlier than 8:30 a.m. The decision was made before he was hired as superintendent last year and he doesn’t see a change coming soon.

“Overall, having done this for 31 years, I didn’t see anything that was bad about having the later start time,” Kronour said, “but I also can’t say I saw that many more positives either.”

In his previous job at Tippecanoe, high school started at 7:30 a.m., which he said is a little bit too early.

“I would much rather be around 8 o’clock,” Kronour said.

Sleep deprivation — including staying up for 17 to 19 hours without a nap — can be as bad as alcohol intoxication, Huber-Raiff said. The Sleep Center wants to educate students, parents and school districts about the importance of getting enough sleep in the future, she said, which isn’t typically taught in health courses.

“There’s not a real focus on maintaining sleep health,” Huber-Raiff said.

She has three teenagers who play sports at Shawnee High School. They typically get up at 5 a.m. to catch the bus by 6:30 a.m. to be at school by 7:20 a.m.

During sports season her children might not get home until 9 or 10 p.m., depending on the location of the game, and might not get to bed until 11 p.m. or midnight, Huber-Raiff said. After getting about five to six hours of sleep each night, teens typically need 20 hours of sleep on the weekends to catch up, she said.

“It’s impossible to make that up on the weekends,” Huber-Raiff said.