LBUSD Middle Schools to Begin an Hour Later Starting Fall 2013

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.

{loadposition latestnews}The new start time only impacts six of the district’s 15 middle schools because the others already start at or just before 9AM. In their decision to approve a blanket 9AM start time, the Board cited a growing amount of literature that directly correlates adequate sleep with academic performance. Under this new model, all middle schools will recess at 3:40PM.

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.]

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.