The city of Miami and the Miami-Dade public school system has been paying careful attention to the most recent data on the impact of sleep deprivation on high schoolers’ ability to learn, and as a result they may be changing their classroom hours. If they decide to pursue the course of action, the school district will become one of the pioneering few that have decided to allow science to trump tradition in determining when morning classes begin.
The change may come as early as this September, and that’s not a moment too soon for students who are currently waking up as early as 5:00 a.m. in order to arrive at school on time for a 7:20 a.m. start. The school district has only just begun investigating the possibility, and as a result rather than making a widely applied overhaul they may select just a few of their high schools to engage in a pilot program. The delay – or slow rollout – is not a result of anybody questioning the science behind the change … there is overwhelming evidence showing that the teen brain needs more sleep than the existing schedule allows for. The problem is with the impact that the change makes on a number of other areas of school life. Continue reading