Editorials and Opinions


By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Elissa Spinner

It’s six in the morning, and a loud, obnoxious, ring splits  through the peaceful silence of your room. You groan, swear at your alarm clock, and hit the blessed snooze button.
This cycle continues five times until you realize you have only ten minutes to gather your things, finish last night’s homework, grab some breakfast, and dash to the bus. This is the morning routine of many Newton South students.
Every six weeks or so, this rushed routine is broken by a Professional Development Day. For students, this has traditionally meant getting out of school early. Now, it means coming to school late.
What’s better than sleeping in until 11 and only having three easy classes to breeze through before going home? Probably a lot, but as far as the school week goes, this is a pretty good deal.
My brain can’t properly function before 9 am. Last year, I had A-block math; half my class slept while the other half struggled to pay attention. It is nearly impossible to absorb any new information in class while fighting to keep your eyes open. With late arrivals, students can catch up on much-needed sleep and can even focus during class.
Early releases also leave students with no after-school activities. Most parents are still at work when students are released, so Newton is filled with an entire school of students out and about with no one to watch them. Situations like this tend to end badly.
With an early dismissal, students have the rest of the day free. Most sports or theatre practices, however, still run after school, this leaves students stranded at school with no means of getting home.
Teachers assign more homework because they believe we have more time to do it. So in reality, early dismissals don’t actually give us any extra free time.
With a late arrival, we have time in the morning to catch up on homework. Wouldn’t you rather relax in the morning than stand bleary-eyed and freezing at a bus stop?
If when I wake up it’s dark outside, I do not feel at all ready for school. I feel tired and moody, and I’m sure many students, as well as teachers, would concur.
Ever heard of a cheerful person with a “sunny personality? That phrase stems from the fact that when the sun’s rays beat on our backs, we feel more relaxed and energetic. It would make more sense to start school when we feel happier and more excited about learning.
Studies show that teenage bodies are wired to stay up late and that our brains function and retain information better later in the day regardless of how much sleep we get at night.
Given this information, wouldn’t it be more logical to schedule school on a short day during the hours our minds can focus?

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