Principal Leadership - December 2014 - (Page 14)

healthy schools, healthy students Let Them Hit Snooze Starting school later can lead to increased academic performance, improved mental health, and fewer car crashes. Saara Myrene Raappana S tudies indicating that later school start times positively impact students' academic performance, mental health, and even safety have been piling up in recent years, prompting some schools to push start times later. A report released in March by the University of Minnesota states that, based on data collected from eight high schools in three states before and after they moved to later start times, the later a school's start time, the better a student's performance in many areas, including mental health, car crash rates, attendance, grades, and standardized test scores (Hoffman, 2014). In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement regarding school start times and insufficient sleep among adolescents, which said, in part: "The National Sleep Foundation has long recognized that our nation's teenagers are sleep deprived. We are encouraged by any measure that will improve sleep health and well-being. School administrators, local school boards, and parents should continue to embrace these efforts and be engaged in the discussions about sleep need and sleep deprivation in the adolescent population; these groups should continue to revisit HEALTHY SLEEP HELPS EVERYTHING ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Athletic performance. Multiple studies of football players, tennis players, and swimmers have shown that getting more sleep-at least 10 hours per night in one study-improves athletic performance, reduces fatigue, and increases stamina. Attention span. David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program, says that inadequate sleep can actually result in children displaying ADHD-like symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsiveness. Bodily health. Proper sleep is linked to reduced inflammation, healthier weight, better cardiovascular health, and longer life spans. Creativity. Harvard University research has found that people appear to bolster the emotional elements of new memories while sleeping, and that may help stimulate the creative process. Driver safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2009 report, driving while tired is even more dangerous than driving drunk, accounting for the highest number of fatal, single-car, driver-performance related accidents in which cars run off the road. Just one night of insufficient sleep affects your driving as much as one alcoholic drink. Grades and test scores. Numerous studies have shown that children with impaired or irregular sleep perform more poorly on tests and have lower grades than those who get ample Zs. Memory. While we sleep, a process called consolidation occurs, during which we strengthen new memories or "practice" skills we're trying to learn. Mental health. Sleep actually reduces stress levels, decreases anxiety, and can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. SOURCE:,,20459221,00.html the impact this may have on school start times. The positive effects of adequate sleep are unyielding" (National Sleep, 2014). The following statistics and facts highlight the problem of teen sleep deprivation: ■ About 45% of adolescents get insufficient sleep on school nights. An additional 30% sleep longer than the minimum UNDERSTAND TEEN SLEEP According to the National Sleep Foundation, even though teenagers function best if they're getting about nine and a quarter hours of sleep each night (though for some teens, about eight and a half hours is fine), most teens don't get enough. One study finds that only 15% of teens reported sleeping the bare minimum eight and a half hours on school nights. SOURCE: 14 Principal Leadership | December 2014 recommended but less than the ideal, which means that only 20% of teens are getting sufficient sleep (National Sleep, 2006). ■ During puberty, teenagers' brains release melatonin-the "sleep" hormone-later in the day, which means they're unlikely to feel drowsy until 11 p.m. or later. Increasing use of electronic devices in the evening can delay the onset of melatonin further (Hoffman, 2014). ■ A study conducted by Findley Edwards found that making school start times later by one hour increases scores by a minimum of two percentile points in math and one percentile point in reading (Edwards, 2014).,,20459221,00.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - December 2014

From the Editor
Bulletin Board
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
Thinking Outside the Office
Engagement: The Secret to Sustainable Learning
Motivation: The Key to Academic Success in Culturally Diverse High Schools
Leading Together: Reculturing the Assistant Principalship
Incentivizing Accomplishment
Learn to Move, Move to Learn
What Teachers Need: Support in a Time of Reform
Student Services
Instructional Leader
Breaking Ranks in Practice
Discussion Guide

Principal Leadership - December 2014