Later school start times slowly gain traction in Colorado
When Denver’s new Northfield High School opens next August, its students will report to their first class more than an hour later than students at most other district high schools.
The school’s planned 8:45 a.m. start time is a nod to the growing body of evidence that suggest teens are hard-wired to favor later bedtimes and do better academically when school schedules accommodate their natural sleep cycles.
Northfield Principal Avi Tropper said the decision to go with some version of a later start was based on abundant research, with community focus groups helping pinpoint the exact time.
“It’s pretty clear to me starting a school from the ground up…it’s just an opportunity from the beginning to do what works for students,” he said.
While later secondary start times are relatively uncommon, the concept is slowly gaining traction among educators in Colorado and across the country. In August, the topic got a burst of attention when the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, published a policy statement advocating for middle and high school start times of 8:30 a.m. or later.