On Monday, February 24, 2020, the Ephrata Area School District Board of School Directors approved the proposal to adjust school start times, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. This decision followed an in-depth, year-long study into the mounting scientific evidence linking sleep deprivation to the growing emotional, physical, and mental health issues among adolescent students. We believe these changes will contribute to a school experience that sets every student up for success each and every day.
2020-2021 School Year Start and End Times
|Building||Start Time||End Time||Student Day Length|
|Elementary||9:00 AM||3:40 PM||6 hours 40 minutes|
|Intermediate School||8:55 AM||3:45 PM||6 hours 50 minutes|
|Middle School||8:05 AM||2:55 PM||6 hours 50 minutes|
|High School||8:10 AM||3:00 PM||6 hours 50 minutes|
New Start Time Benefits
- Provides an opportunity for High School students to get 40 additional minutes of sleep
- Provides an opportunity for Middle School students to get 45 additional minutes of sleep
- Provides an opportunity for Intermediate School students to get 30 additional minutes of sleep
- Maintains approximate current start time for elementary students
- Presents a more consistent length of school day across all levels
- All schools would start after 8:00
- School extra‐curricular practice schedules will not significantly be impacted by dismissal
- Elementary and Intermediate School students will continue to be dismissed after secondary students.
- District transportation will continue to serve K‐4, 5‐6, and 7‐12 in separate buses.
If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your building principal.
MORE INFORMATION ON EASD SCHOOL START TIME STUDY:
In recent years, there has been increased scientific research related to adolescent sleep. As a result, a growing number of school districts have made changes to school start times. Since spring 2019, the Ephrata Area School District has been studying a significant body of research on this topic to ensure school times within the District meet the sleep patterns of our students.
The study included the review of research on adolescent sleep patterns and its impact on student performance and well-being.
- The District has consulted with WellSpan Health to learn from licensed psychologists who have compiled research on school start times and the importance of adolescent sleep.
- Data from Ephrata Area School District parent and student surveys on sleep habits continue to be reviewed and used as a reference. A summary of this data is available here.
- There has been an assessment of the impact of any potential time changes to transportation, athletics, extracurricular activities, food service, and other District operations.
- Additionally, leaders are learning from others’ experiences as they glean insight from districts who have already adjusted their school times.
Ephrata Area School District leaders continued to explore options while facilitating conversations with stakeholders, including School Board members, teaching staff, and District families, to meet this goal. A community information session was held on Monday, December 9, and a recommendation to adjust school start times for the 2020-2021 school year was made to the School Board in early 2020.
“This effort represents an additional way that we as a district can look at research about how to best serve our students. It helps us identify ways to better align District operations to reflect this research and to improve how we serve students,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.
As this study continues and potential next steps are determined, information will be made readily available on the District website or sent directly to parents and guardians as necessary.
- Start Time Proposal – February 10, 2020
- Parent Email – January 7, 2020
- School Board Meeting Handout – January 6, 2020
- Parent Email – December 20, 2019
- Community Information Presentation – December 9, 2020
- American Journal of Public Health: School Start Time and Adolescent Sleep Patterns
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Most US middle and high schools start the school day too early
- Commonwealth of PA: Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents: The Case for Secondary School Start Times
- Dept. of Health & Human Services: School Start Times, Behavioral, Health, and Academic Outcomes
- Education Commission of the States: Later Education Start Times in Adolescence
- Education Week: Making Smarter Use of Time
- Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry: Sleep Restriction Worsens Mood and Emotion Regulation in Adolescents
- Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Population
- Journal of the National Sleep Foundation: Delayed High School Start Times and Impact on Graduation and Attendance Rates
- Journal of the National Sleep Foundation: The Economic Implications of Later School Start Times in the U.S.
- Mindshift: How A Later School Start Time Pays Off For Teens
- National Center for Education Statistics
- NPR: Later School Start Time Pays Off For Teens
- Psychology Today: The New Science of Sleep
- Rand: Later School Start Times in the U.S.
- SAGE Journals: High School Start Times and Student Academic Outcomes
- Sinai Grace Hospital, Northville Public Schools: Association of Sleep Groups and Sleep Survey Results of High School Students
- Science Advances: Later School Start Times are Associated with More Sleep and Better Performance in High School Students
- Science News for Students: Exam Scores Benefit From Months of Regular Sleep
- University of Washington: Teens Get More Sleep, Show Improved Grades and Attendance with Later School Start Time
- WellSpan Health: School Start Time and the Importance of Adolescent Sleep
- WITF: Starting School Later – Possible Solution to Kids’ Sleep Deprivation Crisis?
- Yahoo: Doctors Say This Is What Happens When Teens Don’t Get Enough Sleep