Dearborn Considers Changing School Start Times

More Sleep Equals Better Grades, Healthier Students

What is the best time to start school for a high school student? Opinions vary but early school start times are a medically proven detriment to health and education.


Dearborn school leaders appear to have finally come to that realization and are now asking parents and students to take part in an online survey to determine the merits of changing the high school start time from the current 7:20 a.m. to something later. A time change could be implemented as soon as the 2010/2011 school year.

Now we all know changing school start times can be very challenging for school districts because of busing schedules, kids missing more classes because of early release for sports activities and to parents. Some students also are concerned that being in school later would cut into after-school jobs and extra-curricular activities.

Later start times might also impact teachers, who as adults do not need more sleep to function better. Will these longer days mean less efficient teachers at the end of the day simply because of fatigue?

While difficult to determine, there are many studies that have been done over the past decade that show pushing back start times to allow teenagers to get the sleep they need yields positive results. In no particular order, studies have shown these advantages to students who get more sleep:

• Better grades;

• Less likelihood of experiencing depressed moods;

• Reduced likelihood for tardiness;

• Reduced absenteeism;

• Reduced risk of fall asleep car crashes; and

• Reduced risk of metabolic and nutritional deficits associated with insufficient sleep, including obesity.

We don’t have the exact number of schools or districts that have pushed back there start times over the past five years but the figure is in the hundreds. Clearly, those school districts have deemed it a positive priority to add sleep to the school curriculum at all grade levels.

As there are advantages and some disadvantages to starting later, the online survey by the Dearborn school district is a good way to get input from the community to attempt to tailor a solution that can work for all.

To take part in the survey, which ends Sept. 30, click HERE. welcomes your views and encourages lively -- but civil -- discussions. Comments are unedited, but submissions reported as abusive may be removed.

16 Responses to “Dearborn Considers Changing School Start Times”

  1. K-12 says:

    This sounds like a lot more cost for the school district. More buses, more drivers, longer hours. the only way to fix this would be to combine middle school bus riders with high school bus riders and that for sure won’t go over well. . . . teachers getting more tired? please.

  2. Uncle Whitson says:

    More educational quackery. Maybe if you changed the start times of the ADministrators from 8am to 4pm there would be a marked improvement in student performance. They cant spell, half cant read or spell English and they are focusing on metabolical issues. Perhaps they could bring in an acupunturist next.

  3. Pete says:

    Why is there always concern about the teachers? Public Ed. shoudl not set-up for the well-being and care of the teachers, but to provide for the students.

  4. Darren says:

    I can tell you the traffic around Edsel Ford H.S. can be a real pain around 7AM. That is just too early for school to start. 8 or 8:30 makes more sense.

  5. LifelongDbnRes says:

    Research has long-proven that the early start time for HS is just inappropriate in terms of their biological clocks developmentally. It is MORE appropriate for Elementary to start at such an early hour, believe it or not. Think about teens you know and young kids you know. Who is more likely to wake up at the crack of dawn???

  6. MyTwoSenseToo says:

    I have a different Dearborn Public School question?

    Has anyone heard that the new Dearborn Education Foundation Coordinator is being paid $70,000? I believe the one that just resigned from the position was paid less than $10,000. I am under the assumption that the position is paid out of the contributions collected by the foundation. After you pay someone $70,000, what is left for the schools?

    If this is true, I will have to seriously think about donating money to the Dearborn Education Foundation.

  7. Shady says:

    Gee let’s think, High school students naturally get to stay up later, some do homework, some work, some are just teenagers who talk and stay up late in thier rooms (remember)! So what does the board deceided A 7:00 a,m, start! Rewind to when most of all of you went school 9:00 a.m. starts. Who are they playing to?

  8. Dearborn Public Schools says:

    Hello DeepSaidWhat Readers,

    In the early part of 2009 the Dearborn Public Schools Education Foundation went through an extensive restructuring process. One of many changes that came out of the process was the addition of a full time Director. This position was needed to enhance the Foundation’s visibility in the community, explore new fundraising opportunities, and increase the overall amount of money the Foundation is providing to District classrooms. This is common practice for the most successful foundations in other school districts. Jim Collogan, Executive Director of the National School Foundation Association, who assisted in the re-structuring process also agreed with this recommendation.

    The new Director’s contract through the Foundation calls for $50,000 plus up to $20,000 based on 10% of monies raised beyond $125,000. His contract is paid by the Foundation. It is not a Dearborn Public Schools staff position. The Dearborn Public Schools donated $50,000 to assist the Foundation in their efforts to create additional funding beyond the $100,000 that is raised each year. The Foundation will evaluate the Director and his effectiveness and will annually determine whether to renew his contract. It will be based on the Foundation’s criteria of effectiveness, most likely on the amount of money raised.

    The Education Foundation is a group of private citizens, independent of the Board of Education, who raise money to fund teacher grants for innovative programs throughout the district. The Foundation is a charitable 501(c) organization with full tax exempt status. The Foundation has raised and returned over $1,000,000 to the schools through grant requests.


    Brian Whiston
    Dearborn Public Schools

    Brian Mosallam
    Dearborn Education Foundation

  9. Confused says:

    Mr. Whiston said the Foundation is paying $50,000 to the Director but then he said the District donated $50,000. It cannot be both so which is it? If the District has extra money to fund things like this why do they need to lay off teachers or for the public to renew the HFCC millage?

  10. Also confused says:

    If the Director’s salary is coming out of Foundation fundraising why do the ads for their golf outing still claim 100% of money raised by the Foundation will be given to the schools through grants? Something is not right here.

  11. Donna Hay says:

    Isn’t it amazing – all the in and outs.

  12. Really? says:

    So the new guy is already almost half way to his bonus based on the “donation” made by the District?

    Who paid and how much was spent for the restructuring consultant? Same question for the extensive Executive Director candidate search that led to the hiring of a sitting Education Foundation Board Member as the new Director?

  13. MyTwoSenseToo says:

    Not only is Superintendent Whiston’s comment contradictory, it is insulting to the tax payers of Dearborn.

    I would like the name of the new Dearborn Education Foundation Director and the qualifications that make a person worth this kind of money.

    Also, how about a list of Dearborn Education Board member names on this blog.

  14. MyTwoSenseToo says:

    Sorry, I mean a list of Dearborn Education Board Member names.

  15. MyTwoSenseToo says:

    Sorry!!! Dearborn Education FOUNDATION Board Member names.

    I guess I’m just a little upset 🙂

  16. Joe Pyne says:

    Confused… you are confused. The HFCC millage has nothing to do with this discussion. It is a completely seperate issue. Do not confuse the mess with the Dearborn Schools with HFCC. The monies or revenues for Dearborn Schools and HFCC are completely seperate. One cannot be used for the other. Also the HFCC millage request is a simple renewal, not a tax or millage increase.