A later start time is better for students | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

"The Renton School District enforces one of the earliest start times in the state. Though most of Washington’s high schools begin before 8 a.m., few dare to see students in their seats before 7:30."

I am a senior at Hazen High School, though I participate full time in the Running Start program. Attending Bellevue College allows me to have control over my schedule that was impossible at Hazen.

I have experienced first-hand the consequences of the early start times that the Renton School District employs in its high schools. I never thought I would be one of the kids who falls asleep in class, but I found my head on my desk more times than I can count during sophomore year.

I missed 30 days of school that year – that’s one out of every six school days – due to illness and anxiety that was in part caused and exacerbated by poor sleep. In order to preserve my academic performance, I was forced to sacrifice my health to the 7:20 morning bell.

The Renton School District enforces one of the earliest start times in the state. Though most of Washington’s high schools begin before 8 a.m., few dare to see students in their seats before 7:30.

The National Sleep Foundation states that “Adolescent sleep deprivation is largely driven by a conflict between teens’ internal biological clocks and the schedules and demands of society. Therefore, it makes sense to look at school start times.” The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement last year recommending high schools delay the first bell to 8:30 a.m. or later.

A study done in the Minneapolis School District demonstrated the positive impact of pushing start times forward. A change from a 7:15 to an 8:40 a.m. bell improved attendance and enrollment rates and decreased student-reported depression. Other advantages include better grades, fewer tardies and a decreased risk of drowsy driving.

I am bringing this to your attention because I believe it is the Renton community’s time to act. Our neighboring school districts are currently pushing large advocacy efforts.

Issaquah students and parents are petitioning for an 8:30 a.m. start time. The Bellevue and Mercer Island School Districts have paired up to form a High School Start Time Steering Committee that is urging for an 8:30 a.m. bell. Finally, the Seattle Schools Superintendent has proposed for its high schools and middle schools to start at 8:50 a.m.

Transportation conflicts are fixed by making elementary start times earlier, something that pairs well with young children’s internal clocks.

The benefits in student performance and well-being that these school districts will reap mean that Renton cannot stay “ahead of the curve” by forcing students to wake up more than an hour before their surrounding peers. I do not want to see future students disadvantaged because of an unhealthy policy.

Kate Lilly,
Renton

More in Letters to the Editor

Please consider keeping eight period schedule

Mr. Ron Thiele and ISD school board, I highly encourage all of… Continue reading

I’m voting no on I-1631 and so should you

On election day, voters will decide the fate of Initiative 1631, which,… Continue reading

“If we do not get a fair contract this school year we will be forced to strike”

Hello Renton parents and community: We are parents and teachers of students… Continue reading

Classified staff deserve more | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following Letter to the Editor is a copy of… Continue reading

Alliance Defending Freedom not hate group | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following letters to the editor are in response to… Continue reading

Florist exercised 1st Amendment rights | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following letters to the editor are in response to… Continue reading

Punish red-light runners, now | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following letter is in response to the June 8… Continue reading

Swim time changes hurt working families | Letter to the Editor

My name is Shannon Richards, I have lived in Renton for many… Continue reading

Thank you for support | LETTER

“I am writing to thank and commend Mayor Denis Law and council for supporting survivors of sexual assault.”

Nation needs stricter gun laws, not more guns | Letter to the Editor

Recently, President Donald Trump wanted to put a law into effect that… Continue reading

Lakeside should be allowed to call Maple Valley home

“It is my hope that my personal story will help in a decision to allow Lakeside Industries a permanent place in Maple Valley.”

Lakeside should be allowed to call Maple Valley home | Letter to the Editor

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jody Keeler. I… Continue reading