By Kathy Walsh
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– This school year, Littleton Public Schools will have new start times. High school and middle school students will start classes about an hour later than in prior years. Elementary students will go in earlier.
In the 2017-2018 school year, Cherry Creek Schools made similar changes. Now, Cherry Creek is reporting the number of high school students getting eight hours of sleep or more has more than doubled.
“I’m so glad that the district decided to do this,” Tanya Bond told CBS4’s Kathy Walsh.
The Bond family is united in education in the Cherry Creek District.
Tanya coaches volleyball at Eaglecrest High School. Chad teaches in an elementary school. Their son, Aiden, is now a sophomore at Eaglecrest. All agree starting high school at 8:20 a.m. instead of 7:10 a.m. has been super.
“It’s made a difference in our household instantly,” said Tanya.
“We don’t have to wake him (Aiden) up with a bucket of water anymore,” laughed Chad.
“I feel like I’m less grumpy in the morning,” said Aiden.
“Year one went really well,” said Scott Siegfried, Ph.D., Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent.
He said student surveys show, before the change, about 27 percent of high school students were getting eight hours of sleep. After the change, the number more than doubled to nearly 58 percent.
“Kids … they’re happier, they have less anxiety,” Siegfried said. “I’ve talked with students that have actually gotten teary-eyed telling me ‘This changed my life.'”
“I think every school district needs to take this into serious consideration,” said Lisa Meltzer, Ph.D., Sleep Psychologist at National Jewish Health.
Meltzer is helping Cherry Creek evaluate how more sleep has affected students’ academics, mood, physical and emotional health.
“We have some self-report data suggesting that adolescents are reporting improvements in all of these areas,” said Meltzer.
The Bonds are believers.
“I’m definitely more attentive,” said Aiden.
“It’s been a great change,” said Tanya.
While Littleton Public Schools will roll back start times this year, Jefferson County Schools will begin studying the changes.