CONCORD (CBS) — Pediatricians and sleep doctors say that teens do better when school starts later and many districts are taking the recommendation to heart, including Concord-Carlisle High School.
The district moved the start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The change was a relief for students like senior Bella McKinney, who says that, under the old schedule, she did not want to get up out of bed in the morning.
“Last year I think is when my schedule started to get really crazy,” she said.
Like many students at Concord-Carlisle, she was getting up at 6 a.m., some days even earlier, just to be on top of the day.
“I would wake up at 5 a.m.,” said junior Chris Jones.
Senior Teddy Storrs says he was waking up at 6 a.m., when it is pitch black in the winter.
It is a schedule pediatricians and educators say just isn’t healthy.
“Many, many districts are talking about the level of student stress,” said Concord-Carlisle Schools Superintendent Dr. Laurie Hunter.
Johanna Boynton, a member of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee, says that just a few days into the new schedule, there is a visible difference.
“The levity amongst the students and the whole environment is obvious, right out of the gates,” said Boynton.
The schedule change is more in line with the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which Boston Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Judith Owens helped write.
“I see teenagers come into my clinic all the time who are utterly exhausted,” Owens said. “They are depressed, they are anxious, their school performance has gone down.”
“I wasn’t fully ready to process certain questions at 7:30 a.m.,” said Jones.
This spring, Dr. Owens and others took their concerns to Beacon Hill, petitioning lawmakers to consider legislation to move Massachusetts high schools and middle schools to an 8:30 a.m. start.
Students and administrators say the shift has been a game changer.
“Yeah, so far the few days that we have, it’s been really nice to be able to wake up that much later,” said Storrs.
But it isn’t just pupils who are loving the change.
“It’s made a difference in what time they get up in the morning, and that cumulatively will make a big difference,” said Concord-Carlisle High School Principal Michael Mastrullo.
There is a ripple effect when school schedules are changed, specifically on middle and elementary schools.
Concord-Carlisle was able to minimize the impact because they purchased more buses for their own school bus fleet.