California schools push back school start times:
Pencils are sharpened, notebooks are ready, and backpacks are hanging by the door in preparation for the first day of school.
As school starts for many California students, this year, high schoolers are preparing to sleep in and elementary school students in Roseville will be waking up earlier to attend their classes.
A law passed in 2019 made school start times for all middle schools and high schools in California begin no earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, by the start of the 2022-23 school year. The law doesn't apply to non-mandatory "zero period," or rural schools.
The new law will make little or no difference for some California high-school students, but for students in Roseville, it pushes start times back by about 45 minutes.
The reason for pushing start times back? According to the law, early school start times can lead to sleep deprivation, which impacts students' health and academics.
Will students actually get more sleep?:
Since the law passed, it's led to a debate among students, parents, teachers and school boards about whether it would actually help students get more sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends children ages 6-12 should regularly sleep 9-12 hours per day, and teenagers between 13-18 should sleep 8-10 hours per day.
Based on results from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys in 2015, 57.8% of middle schoolers weren't getting enough sleep and 72.7% of high schoolers weren't getting enough sleep.
Alicia Wright is a mom with five kids who attend Stoneridge Elementary School, Eich Middle School and Oakmont High School.
"At first, when I heard that the high schoolers got to start later, I was excited about that just because I think it's so early for them to have to get to the school and I think that they could use some extra sleep," Wright said.
But after she found out elementary school students would be starting school at an earlier time, Wright said it likely won't improve sleep for her kids.
"Once I found out that the middle school and the elementary school is flip-flopping schedules that actually makes it harder than what we're doing right now, just because my high schooler will not get to sleep in because I drive them all to school, so she's going to have to get up with her siblings," Wright said.
Lisa Shrider teaches at Eich Middle School and she previously said the transition from middle school to high school could be difficult for some because they would have to get up much earlier.
"In retrospect, we always worry about our middle schoolers starting at 9 a.m. now and then going to the high school and starting at 7:45 a.m. and they seem to adjust. But, now it'll be the flip so we'll just have to see how it all plays out," Shrider said.
Rob Hasty, the executive director of Human Resources for the Roseville Joint Union High School District, said whether or not the new schedule helps improve sleep depends on the students.
"If students continue to stay up late into the night, early morning hours then all of this will not have the positive impact that we're hoping. As for kids, if they're taking advantage of that and getting the rest that they need, then I think we're going to be in really good shape and we hope that we will see the results as we start to look more deeply at the data and the information that comes to us from our students," Hasty said.
What time do schools start?:
There are three elementary and middle school districts in Roseville feeding into the high school district, said Pete Constant a board trustee with Roseville Joint Union High School District.
Roseville Joint Union High School District
Schools start on Aug. 9 in the Roseville Joint Union High School District, and will typically start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m. There are also special schedules for minimum days and school events that may vary by school.
Roseville City School District
Middle schools in the Roseville City School District will typically start at 8:05 a.m. and end at 2:16 p.m., and they go back on Aug. 11.
"In addition, since we do share transportation for our students with Roseville Joint Union High School District, our elementary schools will also be impacted next year with most sites moving up their start times to around 7:45 am in order to accommodate bussing for all students," Michele Perrault, the Executive Director of Communications for this district, wrote in an email to ABC10.
Eureka Union School District
For the Eureka Union School District, there are two middle schools starting at 8:25 a.m. on a typical day and ending at 2:55 p.m. School starts on Aug. 11.
Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District
Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District schools start on Aug. 10, and the two middle schools will start at 8 a.m. and end at 2:11 p.m. on a typical day.
"Staff and families actually will feel very little to no impact on this as we are only needing to move two of our schools' bell schedules (Silverado Middle School and Antelope Crossing Middle School) by five minutes. Currently, each school starts at 7:55 a.m., and next school year they will begin at 8 a.m. We keep all of our bussing needs in-house, so this will also not impact us in this area either," Gina Nielsen, the Chief Communications Officer wrote in an email to ABC10.
Two Roseville school districts share buses:
While not every school is heavily impacted by the changing start times, the Roseville Joint Union High School District and Roseville City School District face a unique issue because they share buses.
Pete Constant, a board trustee with Roseville Joint Union High School District, said the buses would have time to drop off students at both schools when high schools started at 7:45 a.m.
"Some of those issues that we had solved previously, like 'what does a family do when two kids have to go to school at two different schools?' well now they have to be there at the same time, which means the parent can't be in two places at one time. It also means our school buses can't be at two places at one time," Constant said.
The solution? Moving up the start time at elementary schools in the Roseville City School District.
"In addition, since we do share transportation for our students with Roseville Joint Union High School District, our elementary schools will also be impacted next year with most sites moving up their start times to around 7:45 am in order to accommodate bussing for all students," Perrault wrote in an email to ABC10.
Myndi White is a parent with a student at Sargeant Elementary School and a student at Oakmont High School.
"With the elementary, it's more of just getting your younger kid up in the morning and going, which can be difficult at times. Just like with a teenager, it can be — you know all kids are different and out the door by like 7:15 a.m. so they can be at school at 7:30 a.m. that's pretty early for little kids that aren't used to that, so we'll see how it goes," White said.
White's teenager at Oakmont High School is on the swim team and she wonders how athletic practices will be affected by the later start time.
"They’re not done until 5 p.m. or 4:45 p.m.... well, if it’s a whole another hour and fifteen minutes added on to school, they aren’t going to be done until like six, then it’s dinner time, then homework and before you know it it’s time to go to bed again," White said.
What about Zero Period?:
One of the exceptions to the law guiding the new bell schedule is classes or activities offered to a limited number of students before the start of school, often referred to as "zero period."
Zero period isn't offered at every school, but for some students, it could mean their schedules won't really change with the start of the academic year.
Theresa Tran is a senior this year at Granite Bay High School. She's in International Baccalaureate and said she has to go to zero period as part of her program. Zero period at Granite Bay High School starts at 7:30 a.m. this year.
Tran said shifting back start times just means she's getting home later.
"I'm not really looking forward to it because like with the amount of sports I'm taking and like the rigor of academic work I have, I like getting to leave school earlier in a way like 2:30 p.m. in comparison to 3:30 p.m. I get home at around 7 p.m., I don't want to get home at around 8 p.m. where my brain completely shuts off at that time so I don't really like that idea," Tran said.
But for fellow Granite Bay International Baccalaureate senior Maggie Lindhurst, her dream is to go to bed at 9 p.m., but she usually gets to bed around 11 p.m.
"I think that shifting the start time earlier is gonna actually do a lot to help me get to bed at a reasonable hour. Because then if I fall asleep at 11 p.m. then I would get probably more like 8 hours of sleep, which is really, for me, like what my body needs and that would be very nice to have every night even if I was still not going to bed as early as I wanted — would be very, very helpful to have just a little bit of extra sleep like right before school," Lindhurst said.
Pete Constant said he thinks more school districts will take advantage of zero period.
"I think you're going to see a lot of school districts take those after-school activities and move them before school, which means it circumvents the whole purpose of the law. But again, you only have so many hours on a clock, and so if you can't do things after school, the only thing you're left with is before school because we can't have kids on campus at 10 p.m. at night either, so we've got to find a way to work all this out," Constant said.
For more information on schools in Roseville, click on each of the respective websites: Roseville Joint Union High School District, Roseville City School District, Eureka Union School District, and Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District.
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