School may have started once again, but this time around there’s something a little different. La Cañada High School students have been able to enjoy a later start time- or have they?
The decision came late last school year, when, after lengthy discussion among board members and the general public, the school board voted unanimously to shift the campus’s start time from 7:45 to 8:30. The decision was heavily influenced by SB 328, a state proposal by La Canada’s own Sen. Anthony Portantino that would require all California high and middle schools to start no earlier than 8:30, passed in the Senate and moved onto the state assembly. The change was also influenced by Challenge Success, a program recently implemented here at LCHS in coordination with Stanford University that conducted research that a later start time would have a positive effect on students.
“I like it. I pushed for it.” says Dr. Ewoldsen when asked for his opinion. “My first period freshmen are both more awake and attentive.”
Dr. E also briefly mentioned other benefits based upon a study done in Minnesota that argued that the later release time also led to decreased drug and teen pregnancy rates.
But despite all the administrative, parental, and outside perspectives, there is no better way to measure its success than to ask those directly affected: the students.
Ryan Chen (12), the vice-president of ASB who also avidly campaigned for this change, expressed nothing but affection for the late start. As a member of orchestra, he no longer has to wake up as early as he did previously, since zero period has also been shifted later to 7:28.
“This new late start has done wonders for me,” Ryan said. “Though I don’t get any extra sleep, the extra half an hour in the morning is time for me to relax and unwind instead of rushing to orchestra every day. I feel more refreshed and more efficient.”
Gabby Mitchell (9) shared a similar opinion: “Late start is definitely a huge advantage. We get an extra hour in the morning to get ready, get some extra sleep, or catch up on schoolwork.”
However, there are certainly students who have been inconvenienced by the new school schedule, like those with parents on strict work schedules. Instead of sleeping in, they have to arrive at school early and wait around, and then get out at a later time. Students who have after school extracurricular commitments have also found the change to be inconvenient.
“As a junior with a heavy school load and time consuming activities on my plate, I’ve found it difficult to balance classes with extracurriculars because of the later ending time. Sure an extra hour of sleep may help, but I’ve never realized how important 30 minutes are in regards to time management until this year,” commented Nathan Chung (11), who takes multiple AP courses and is also heavily involved with marching band.
Naomi Stephen (12), who is a nanny in her free time after school, also has been negatively impacted by the later release. “It is difficult for me personally because I pick up kids from the elementary school, and now I cannot get them until almost half hour after their school gets out,” Naomi recounted. “However, the change I think is beneficial, but just takes some getting used to.
Students certainly have mixed positions on the start time, but mostly seem to be in favor of or indifferent about the change. We’ll have to see if the late start continues to play a large role at our high school as students become more and more used to it.