Pioneer students recently took a survey in their math classes about the possibility of changing the high school start time to 15 minutes later than its current start time. Parents were surveyed as well via email, as was the Ann Arbor Public Schools teaching staff. However, it has still not been decided whether or not the changes will occur nor when it would go into effect.
Although they enjoy sleeping in, some students have reservations. “I don’t think it should be later because we won’t have time to do homework,” says Junior Julia Haviland.
Junior, Carly Rabideau has similar concerns regarding the issue. “It’ll make school go later, and school activities go later, and then people won’t get home sooner, and will go to sleep later, and won’t get all of their homework done,” she says.
The school board has expressed worries about having to change elementary school start times to accommodate the bus schedule, and the difficulties this could provide for families getting their children to school and providing childcare after school. Pioneer Principal Cindy Leaman feels the opposite may be true, especially if they decide not to change elementary start times. “Students with elementary and younger siblings will be able to help out more, bringing them to school, et cetera. There’s benefits and problems with both of them,” Leaman says. “ The benefit would be there are plenty of children who are late so it would give them a few extra minutes.”
Currently the school board approves of the potential changes, but only with certain restrictions. These include not changing the elementary and middle school start times at all and just making the 15-minute adjustment to high school start and end times.
The results of the survey concluded that a small majority of Ann Arbor high school students were in agreement with the school board, with 53.9% of students preferring a later start time and 46.1% of students in favor of no change. The majority of students also believed that this would most benefit the amount of time students can sleep and the potential of arriving at school on time more consistently. High school staff members primarily agreed with the students, 130 out of the 227 that participated preferring the change.
No changes have been put into action for next year yet, but based on the survey results it is under consideration. As Leaman says, “I think there are difficulties with both ends.”
But it looks like students and staff have decided that the benefits of sleeping in outweigh the costs of school starting later.