Vacaville Unified School District

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Evaluating School Start Times

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Sleep Health Tips for Teens

The following sleep health tips are recommended by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.

  • Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold.

  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.

  • Avoid large meals a few hours before bedtime. 

OTHER VIDEO LINKS

Other Resources

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Sleepy Teens: More To It Than Getting to Bed Earlier

Significant research shows that the circadian rhythm (or sleep cycle) for humans changes during the adolescent years. While young children typically are naturally wide awake early in the morning, teens biologically struggle with waking early, regardless of the time they go to sleep. Aligning school start times to better fit students' biological rhythms results in improved student performance and success. 

graph of teen sleep patterns
 

2018-19 School Start Times

VUSD has been evaluating school start times for over two years. This evaluation included reviewing research, recommendations, transportation routes, cost analysis, feedback from principals and polls for students, parents and teachers. On September 21, 2017 the VUSD Governing Board of Trustees voted to adjust school start times for the 2018-19 school year so that middle and high schools start later. The following times will be adopted for next school year:

M,T,Th,Fri*

Start Time

End Time

School

2017-18

2018-19

2017-18

2018-19

 

Alamo

8:40 a.m.

8:25 a.m.

2:50 p.m.

2:35 p.m.

 

Browns Valley

8:30 a.m.

8:15 a.m.

2:40 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Jean Callison

8:45 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

2:55 p.m.

2:40 p.m.

 

Cooper

8:15 a.m.

8:15 a.m.

2:25 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Fairmont

8:30 a.m.

8:15 a.m.

2:40 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Hemlock/ACE

8:25 a.m.

8:10 a.m.

2:40 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Edwin Markham

8:45 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

2:50 p.m.

2:35 p.m.

 

Orchard

8:30 a.m.

8:15 a.m.

2:40 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Eugene Padan

8:30 a.m.

8:15 a.m.

2:40 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

Sierra Vista K-5

8:35 a.m.

8:35 a.m.

2:52 p.m.

2:52 p.m.

 

Sierra Vista 6-8

8:20 a.m.

8:20 a.m.

2:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m.

 

Willis Jepson MS

7:55 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

2:27 p.m.

3:32 p.m.

 

Vaca Pena MS

7:50 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

2:32 p.m.

3:42 p.m.

 

Vacaville HS

7:50 a.m.

8:40 a.m.

2:50 p.m.

3:40 p.m.

 

Will C. Wood HS

7:50 a.m.

8:40 a.m.

2:50 p.m.

3:40 p.m.

 

 Buckingham HS  8:30 a.m.  8:30 a.m.  2:55 p.m.  2:55 p.m.  
 Country HS  9:00 a.m.  9:00 a.m.  2:00 p.m.  2:00 p.m.  


*Wednesday schedules are not represented above. Schools will start at the same time, but may release earlier in the day.

Benefits for Students

Because they are drowsy in the morning, teens have more trouble being alert in school, paying attention, solving problems, coping with stress & retaining information.


Researchers have studied the effect of delaying start times for high school students and have found that even a modest shift in start times benefits adolescent students. Student benefits include improvements in academic achievement, reduced truancy, and fewer behavioral problems. These studies also indicate that elementary students would not be adversely affected by slightly earlier start times. Numerous national organizations support changing to later start times for adolescents. These include the National Sleep Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since the 1970s, studies have indicated that sleep patterns change as children grow into adolescence. Research indicates that teenagers need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night, but average fewer than 7 hours. Most adolescents go through a change in sleep patterns with their natural time to fall asleep shifting to 11 p.m. or later. This biological shift in their internal clocks causes them to be alert at typical bedtimes and to have difficulty waking early in the morning.
In addition, sleep deprivation has many other consequences for adolescents including increased accidents from drowsiness; emotional and behavioral problems such as irritability, depression, poor impulse control and violence; health complaints; tobacco and alcohol use; impaired cognitive function and decision-making; and lower overall performance in everything from academics to athletics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. While changing start times has many benefits for adolescent students, there are many complications to implementing the changes. Major issues include alteration of bus transportation schedules; impacts to after school activities; safety concerns with younger children starting school earlier; family stress from altering transportation, meal, and homework schedules; and costs of implementation. 

Research Around School Start Times

VUSD has done extensive research on the topic of school start times. Here are some of the research that has been considered.

Survey Summaries

Click here to view summaries of the multiple choice questions in the student and adult surveys.

adult survey screen

En Español

Hola VUSD Familias,

 Tal vez recordará que nuestro distrito ha estado evaluando los horarios de inicio de nuestras clases con la intención de crear ambientes de aprendizaje óptimos para nuestros estudiantes. Ha bastante investigación que muestra que el ritmo circadiano (o ciclo del sueño) para los seres humanos cambia durante los años de la adolescencia. Más información. 

video on benefits of sleep

School Start Time Bill SB 328 Passes State Senate

Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) presented SB 328 on the floor of the California State Senate in May 2017. The bill requires middle schools and high schools in California to ...more

Link to summary of current legislation on school start times

VUSD News Stories

VUSD Takes a Look at Sleep Research for Students
April 21, 2016, KCRA 3 News

KCRA News story interviewing a student
 

VUSD Considering a Change in School Start Times
April 21, 2016, ABC 7 News

ABC 7 News story interviewing female student

School Start Times in the News

More Articles and Stories About Later School Start Times