The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Directors voted last week to move all fifteen middle schools to a 9AM start time beginning this fall.
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In a highly recognized study last year in the Psychological Bulletin, researchers discovered that shorter episodes of sleep negatively affected the cognitive functioning of children, with those receiving the least amount of sleep also exhibiting the lowest academic performance. Another study has shown that simple sleepiness can make a 6th grader perform at a 4th grade level.
In addition to citing this benefit, Disctrict Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser also noted that the district will save $1 million in transportation costs with the shift by staggering pick-up and drop-off times.
The Board also considered--and ultimately rejected--beginning the same schedule with its high schools, opting instead for a pilot program at the new McBride High School to measure the effects, if any, on high schoolers.
[Eds. note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that all 15 of the District's middle schools would be moved to a 9AM start time. Nine of them already begin at or just before 9AM, so the change only affects the remaining six middle schools in the district.]