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Healthy Start Times

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This year three district campuses launched an early implementation of San Diego Unified's Healthy Start Times initiative in the 2019-20 academic year. They are: La Jolla High School, the School of Creative and Performing Arts, and Muirlands Middle School. Beginning next year, in the 2020-21 academic year, all high school students will have a later start time, varying anywhere from 8:35 a.m. to 9:05 a.m.

Why the move to later start times?

On February 12, 2019, the Board of Education approved a resolution to implement Healthy Start Times for all district high schools beginning in the 2020-21 school year, based on extensive scientific research on teens and sleep. Conclusive evidence has demonstrated that later start times have been found to increase student attendance, improve academic performance, and most importantly, keep students healthier.

Eight months later, on October 13, 2019, California Senate Bill 328 was signed into law, bringing state policy in line with the goals of San Diego Unified. Under the new law, high schools are banned from starting the day before 8:30 a.m. Middle schools are banned from starting before 8 a.m.

Insufficient sleep in adolescents has been associated with a wide variety of adverse outcomes, from poor mental and physical health to behavioral problems and lower academic grades. However, most high school students do not get sufficient sleep. The American School Health Association found:

"Most studies reviewed provide evidence that delaying school start time increases weeknight sleep duration among adolescents, primarily by delaying rise times. Most of the studies saw a significant increase in sleep duration even with relatively small delays in start times of half an hour or so. Later start times also generally correspond to improved attendance, less tardiness, less falling asleep in class, better grades, and fewer motor vehicle crashes."

A wide range of the nation's leading experts on adolescent health have substantiated the argument for later start times, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the National Associateion of School Nurses, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NCAA Sport Science Institute. This information, and more, can be found here: https://sites.google.com/a/sandi.net/oss/oss/healthy-start-times

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