Winnipeg School Division looking into later start time for high schoolers

Are local high school students starting the day too early?

Some Winnipeg School Division trustees think so.

Trustee Chris Broughton (Ward 2) told 680 CJOB Monday that the idea of starting classes later in the morning for select high school students is being studied by the division.

“A little over a year ago, a colleague of mine introduced a motion for our administration to study the idea, to look at all of the possible benefits and impacts on the Winnipeg School Division to explore this option as an idea to improve academic outcomes for our students,” said Broughton.

“We’ve been looking at the research that adolescents have a change in their circadian rhythm – where they stay up a little later at night and tend to sleep in more in the morning as a natural rhythm for their sleep – and harnessing that to try and maximize their learning potential.”

School trustee Chris Broughton.

Broughton said the idea, which is still a long way from potentially becoming a reality, would involve increasing the flexibility in high school students’ schedules and making the early-morning slots on their calendars potentially available as spare periods.

While the change would, ideally, show an impact on academic performance for some students, Broughton admits implementing it would bring about a number of other necessary changes.

“None of these changes would occur in isolation,” he said.

“Everything from how students get to and from school to teachers’ schedules would be impacted.

“The difficulty obviously isn’t just starting the school day a little bit later, but that means the school day has to end later, and that changes things dramatically throughout our communities.”

Broughton told 680 CJOB that the school board will look in its administration’s report when completed, and consult further with students, families, and the community at large about the concept.

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