HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Research that suggests teens do better in school if they get more sleep, is not new. But slowly, some schools are starting to adjust their schedules to accommodate that idea. In Houston, the private Emery/Weiner School is one of a handful of Texas campuses and districts to start the school day 40 minutes later.
"This isn't a question of enabling teenage behavior, or fostering laziness or bad habits," says Head of School Stuart Dow. "Instead, this is what works better for a kid at that point in time."
Emery/Weiner parents Jeff and Jeryl Golub were among the critics of the move.They have 13- and 16-year-old girls who attend the school, and were concerned the extra time would be wasted. Instead, they say they've seen the opposite. Helped, in part, by a household that still gets moving in the morning.
"They get up at just about the same hour, but they make better use of the time and it's been a stress relief for all of us," says Jeff Golub.
11th grade student Orly Golub says she knows there will come a time for early-starts, but she's enjoying the schedule while it lasts.
"It's definitely more calm," says Orly. "There's less yelling to wake up. My parents like me to be at school at 7:45, to do some extra learning, in the morning. But if i can't get there by 7:45, it's not a problem."
To be sure, the later start time is not without complications.
After-school activities, like sports, are still tied to schools that have traditional schedules and student drivers or parent carpools are vital to getting kids transported. They are considerations that would be more difficult for larger districts.
Still, supporters of the Emery/Weiner system believe more schools should take a harder look at changing their schedule to improve student performance.