At a Jan. 28 meeting, Wayzata Public School board members reviewed a study that said more than half of Wayzata High School students have difficulties “waking up and getting moving” in the morning.
This lack of energy could be due to the school’s early start time.
According to school board documents, Wayzata High School’s 7:30 a.m. start is the earliest start time in the Lake Conference. Edina High School has a “0 hour” period from 7:30-8:25, which students can optionally attend. Minnetonka High School has the latest school start time in the conference with classes beginning at 8 a.m.
“One challenge that exists in modification to school start times is in accommodating for the busy lives of students and their families,” Superintendent Chace Anderson said in documents, noting that 75 percent of high school students are involved in after school activities. “School start times also have an impact on families and staff members with before/after school care needs and would further impact staff and the before/after school programs offered by the school district.”
Almost 3,000 high school parents responded to a Start Time Feedback Survey sent in October on behalf of the district.
Of those 3,000, 61 percent said that their child “seems to lack energy.” Out of 265 high school employees who took the survey, 65 percent said that their students are more alert and ready to learn in the afternoon than in the morning.
Because of the district’s early start time, school board documents show that Wayzata High School students are only getting a maximum of 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep a night. The National Sleep Foundation reports that teens need a little more than 9 hours of sleep each night.
The district has not yet made changes to school start times. Next steps for the district include analyzing the survey information, considering research that shows connections between adolescent sleep patterns and start times and reviewing issues like transportation.