Toronto high school’s late start-time pilot a success, will be ignored or fought elsewhere
Teenage schoolchildren wake up for class too early. It sounds crazy, but it’s true, and one Toronto high school decided to take the radical step of bending to reality, shifting the start of the school day to 10 a.m. rather than insisting its students come in at 8 or 9. The program at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute was just a pilot project, but the results so far seem pretty impressive. According to the Toronto Star:
“The most important thing is that the kids are in a better place, and I mean psychologically, emotionally and physically, and for optimizing learning — that’s number one,” said principal Sam Miceli. “The fact that they are getting more sleep? It’s key.”
He believes the increased sleep has prompted 4 to 9 per cent more students to accumulate the necessary credits in grades 9 and 10, higher than the Toronto District School Board overall.
In grades 11 and 12, Eastern students showed the highest percentage improvement in English and math compared to the entire board, though they are still below the board average.
What’s funny, in a frustrating sort of way, about this ongoing story is just how timid schools have been. Research on the sleeping patterns of teenagers, which has shown they are wired to sleep longer and later than adults, goes back more than a decade now and isn’t even a little bit controversial, unless the American Psychological Association is someone’s definition of a voodooist. The later start time doesn’t turn dropouts into geniuses, but it does help kids who are struggling in the margins. It shouldn’t cost too much (it’s just moving hours around, not adding them) and it probably doesn’t annoy the teachers too much. Nevertheless, this is one of those things we expect to still be fighting for some time after the 2078 election brings Dalton McGuinty’s cyborg grandchild to Queen’s Park.
• Students thrive with 10 a.m. start at Toronto high school [Toronto Star]
• Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health [APA 2001 report]
• Teen sleep: Why is your teen so tired? [Mayo Clinic]
6 thoughts on “Toronto high school’s late start-time pilot a success, will be ignored or fought elsewhere”
And are the parents expected to reorient their entire lives around their offspring, and head into work late? Come on, just about all of us adults got through school just fine starting at 8 or 9am.
parents just go to work at normal time. teens can take the bus. :)
That picture? That’s not “tired teens” … That’s heads down in shame – only two kids in a classroom? That’s DETENTION – obviously these are very bad boys!
Starting school would be extremely beneficiary to secondary school students. It would boost marks, be much safer for kids (students who drive would be at a lesser chance of getting into accidents in the early morning rush and students would get home closer to the time that their parents get home from work, cause in all honesty, even high school kids need supervision sometimes), and it would put kids in a more ready-to-learn mood. Parents dont care how much sleep their teens get, yet they care about their schedule. What about us? We’re the next generation, we’re going to be the people taking care of all those parents when they can’t take care of themselves anymore. We should have the finest of educations… Now don’t you agree with That?
High school starts at 7:30 here. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. Of course then there’s the 0 hour activities that start at 6:30. Oh joy. Ever wonder what the cost to students is “economically” for this abuse? Less sleep = lower grades, fewer opportunities, depression, increased accidents, etc. Yea, working adults had to (and still do) suffer it too, but that doesn’t make it right (or smart). I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a class-action lawsuit someday.
@snowy I love the sentiment. My former boss used to say, “All parents want their kids to learn math in the way that they DIDN’T learn it.” Saying “just about all of us” means that some portion didn’t get through just fine. It’s usually folks doing well in the world who won’t admit there’s a problem in education and aren’t willing to change for something that might be better.
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