Creative solutions can solve start time issues

There are a lot of stakeholders in the issue of start time, and sometimes a school district can craft a creative solution that solves more than one problem at once. The principal of Jackson Hole High School (in Washington) changed the school day from a start at 7:25am to 9:00am. To eliminate the impact on athletics, the school added a regular strength and conditioning class during the school day for all students. While this meant that the school had to hire some new P.E. teachers, the result was a win for everyone: healthier start times, more P.E. for all students, and coaches could shorten regular practice sessions and focus on specific skills.

Most of the time, according to Terra Ziporyn Snider, the co-founder and executive director of Start School Later, people just don’t want to change the status quo. “The fear of the impact is incredibly powerful politically,” she says. “It’s fear of change and failure of imagination. It doesn’t mean that because you change the time you suddenly can’t have sports practice because school gets out an hour later. But people do think that and it stops change in its tracks.”