Later Start of Day for Dearborn High School Students

After years of study and debate, Dearborn schools will launch a trial this fall allowing 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders to start the school day an hour later if they choose, at 8:25 a.m. rather than 7:20. It’s one of the first school districts in Metro Detroit to take such an approach.

The change for upperclassmen could improve attendance and boost grades. Classes now get out at 2:15 p.m.; under the new trial, students would get out at 3:20.

The new flexible start time was approved by the school board in late February. It was proposed by a group of parents who said research shows teens are biologically programmed to go to bed later and wake up later.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out.  Proponents of the trial plan still say it doesn’t go far enough because it’s optional. Not all parents in the district wanted the change.

In an article today in The Detroit News, Dearborn parent Ernest Oz, who was on a committee that studied start times, told the paper that children need sleep for safety, health and academic reasons. He said the flexible start trial “is not what it should be, but it’s a start.”

The new start time will be tested for one year before it is assessed. Freshmen aren’t eligible, nor are students behind on credits. Students will have to provide their own transportation.

Another parent, Helena Thornton, told The News that the trial is “a poor excuse of a plan.” She said the committee proposed several more ambitious options the district could have pursued, such as flip-flopping the middle school start time with the high schools, meaning younger students would start earlier.

“The trouble in Dearborn is politics,”  said Thornton, an industrial engineer who has a son, 17, who graduates this spring, and a daughter, 13. “Nobody wants to rock the boat.”

About 10 teachers at each high school have volunteered to start later and work later, though scheduling will need to be ironed out. welcomes your views and encourages lively -- but civil -- discussions. Comments are unedited, but submissions reported as abusive may be removed.

One Response to “Later Start of Day for Dearborn High School Students”

  1. says:

    So, really? that is what the problem is? the start time?
    How is it that at one time our high schools ranked quite well in the State of Michigan.
    So the problem now is the start time. that will fix it.

    he state?

    so they think starting a little later is going to make a difference.