Decatur High Mentioned in New York Times For Later Start Time

Robin points out this article on the “front page” of the New York Times website about high schools adopting later start times to accommodate “the adolescent body clock”, which includes this blurb…

The sputtering, nearly 20-year movement to start high schools later has recently gained momentum in communities like this one, as hundreds of schools in dozens of districts across the country have bowed to the accumulating research on the adolescent body clock.

In just the last two years, high schools in Long Beach, Calif.; Stillwater, Okla.; Decatur, Ga.;, and Glens Falls, N.Y., have pushed back their first bells, joining early adopters in Connecticut, North Carolina, Kentucky and Minnesota. The Seattle school board will vote this month on whether to pursue the issue. The superintendent of Montgomery County, Md., supports the shift, and the school board for Fairfax County, Va., is working with consultants to develop options for starts after 8 a.m.

Before the school system increased the school day by 30 minutes to make up for recent snow/ice days, DHS was starting at 8:30a.  Until May, DHS starts at 8:15a.

26 thoughts on “Decatur High Mentioned in New York Times For Later Start Time”


  1. Not quite the remainder of the year, I don’t think. Pretty sure it goes back to normal the first week of May.

  2. when you’re mixing music, there’s a phenomenon called “fader creep” which results from making what seem at the time to be independent volume tweaks on individual tracks:

    “make the bass a smidge louder”
    “just a skosh more guitar”
    “bump up the cowbell”
    . . .

    until you’ve managed to raise the relative volume of **everything**—defeating the intent of the original adjustments.

    feels like this is our MO societally as well: all of these various and sundry microtunings of behavior and policy based on what strikes me as “scientific” ephemera. it all leads to a creep of complexity that makes us feel as though we’re accomplishing something, when in fact we’re just treading water.

    1. If that’s true, Rick, we should give purposeful study to the temperature of the water we’re treading in. The latest data suggests 78-81 degrees is the sweet spot. What can we do to ensure our children this level of consistency?

      1. research shows children (and most adults) sleep more soundly when the ambient air temperature is below 70º. let’s crank up the AC to 65º and swaddle our wittle punkins in hypoallergenic yak skins at naptime in pre-school.

        research shows eating lunch too early or too late in the day contributes to a myriad of issues:
        distractedness, anxiety, emotional outbursts . . . the optimal feeding time varies by season, but as we’re heading into spring, we need to do mass feedings at precisely 12:35

        etc.

    1. Two different goals: preparation for adult work schedules and maximizing learning in the adolescent brain. The only body clock that is more askew than that of a 14-17 year old is that of a newborn. Most college classes start a lot later than high school classes so any good early-to-rise habits that high school students might develop are lost once they go to college.

  3. “any good early-to-rise habits that high school students might develop are lost once they go to college.” — Except maybe not for students who need to get up early and make it to work before going to class.

    I honestly don’t believe the adolescent body clock is significantly different now than it was 50, 100, 500 years ago. What is different is the current generation of parents who insist on micro-tweaking the world to try and optimize life for their offspring. I think Rick is absolutely right.

    1. Re: “Except maybe not for students who need to get up early and make it to work before going to class.”: Yeah,but they’re all baristas so they have that caffeine IV drip going to stimulate their still developing frontal lobes. No wait, that’s the college graduates, not the students. Never mind.

    2. No one said the clock changed. Educators are simply adjusting their approach as they better understand how improve the school experience for most people. I fail to see the controversy here.

    1. Well, 30 years ago, my high school started at 7:30. And I’m STILL tired. In fact, I think I’ll use that as an excuse to leave early today.

      1. If you were in high school 30 years ago, then your problem is simply that you’re old. Leaving work early isn’t going to solve that problem!

        1. I was also in high school 30 years ago. If what you say is true, then why do I continue to be accused of adolescent behavior? Old must come later.

Comments are closed.