Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
67° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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We need sleep

We+believe+that+a+later+start+to+school+would+result+in+better+student+mental+and+physical+health.
Leah Fagin
We believe that a later start to school would result in better student mental and physical health.

As students, we are constantly told to get more sleep, an idea that was reinforced in March’s health and wellness program at CESJDS. However, many students find it extremely difficult to get the sleep they need when they must wake up early every morning to make it to school before the 8 a.m. bell. Therefore, school should start later.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that teenagers get a minimum of nine hours of sleep per night. However, early school start times make this task virtually impossible. Most students wake up at between six and seven a.m. every morning to get to school on time, which means that students would have to go to bed by nine or 10 p.m. in order to follow the CDC’s suggestions. Considering many JDS students are involved in extracurriculars and have an intense workload, balancing these and going to bed early can be very challenging.

Importantly, lack of sleep impacts students’ performance in school. The Brookings Institution reports that later school start times are associated with better student attendance, grades, behavior and performance. This is because increased sleep improves students’ cognitive abilities, so while early school start times might seem ideal for a productive day, a later start time would allow students to get the most out of their classes.

We understand that starting school later is logistically difficult, but it is not impossible. Here is our solution: JDS could start at 8:30 a.m. and, in order to ensure that school could still end at the same time, classes could become 50 minutes rather than 55 minutes. Cutting five minutes out of the six classes each day would account for the 30 minutes lost in the morning. This also means that no time would be cut from Zman Kodesh, which we recognize is of utmost importance to our school community.

This solution is also in line with the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). The state only has requirements for the amount of days in a school year, which allows private schools to decide the amount of hours required for a credit in each class.

While suggesting that school start later seems like a bold proposal, JDS must always prioritize student health. JDS has shown a clear concern for mental health through the variety of health and wellness programs they provide, but programming is not enough; administrative action must be taken to truly prioritize students’ wellness. By making school start a mere 30 minutes later, students would feel the impact on their mental well being.

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