San Diego

San Diego Unified School District to Begin Later High School Start Times

The district anticipates that all schools will be on board by the fall of 2020.

High School students in the San Diego Unified School District may soon have to adjust their alarm clocks.

The district has approved a plan to start working towards an 8:30 a.m. or later start time, and it is anticipating that all schools will be on board by the fall of 2020.

But parents who spoke with NBC 7 had mixed feelings. Some, like James Redd, said the change will be another shakeup in the daily schedule of parents with school-aged children.

Redd has four kids in school and has been juggling school schedules for years.

“Elementary school gets out at 2 p.m. and then the middle school gets out at 4 p.m.,” Redd said. "You get the elementary school kids and then you get home and you just relax and the next thing you know, I have to go pick them up now."

In a few more years, his son will start high school just in time for an 8:30 a.m. or later start time. The school board knows this may be inconvenient for some parents, but they cite studies that show a later start time improves attendance and student achievement.

Although it’s a shuffle, Redd thinks it will be a good move.

"With them coming home later, that means less time by themselves,” he said. “If they get out at 3:30 p.m., almost 4 p.m., it would be much easier for people that get off at 4 p.m. to get home around the same time as their kids."

Other parents are a little more resistant to the change.

“I like the way it is now,” Sarah Fraedrich said. Her daughter will be off to high school in a couple of years, too. Right now, she starts school at 7:45 a.m. and that’s the latest Fraedrich wants it to go.

“It's a double-edged sword, she said. “I get that they're trying to let kids have more sleep, but for working parents, it doesn't work that way. Your kids have to get up and go somewhere before you go to work."

It will be up to each school to implement a plan on what time they'll start school for the day, and each school will determine how they’ll make the transition over the next two school years.

Different schools across the district are taking part in pilot programs right now to see what works best. Some schools are also trying out an online course in place of the first-period class which would allow students to start the day at second period.

The district hopes that option will be available at all high schools by the 2019 school year.

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