Late arrival system requires a more efficient alternative

♦ Staff Editorial ♦

It’s late arrival. You saunter to class tardy as usual, claiming that your bus ran behind schedule. Sheepishly, you hide your pumpkin spice latte behind your back and scurry to your seat. For the next ten minutes, many of your peers mumble similar excuses.

Today, the starting bell seems more like a suggestion than a mandate. And let’s face it: we’ve all been there.

We may save an hour of sleep on late arrival mornings, but we often sacrifice a productive school day. The current arrangement fosters frustration. There should be a more efficient alternative.

Though District 203’s monthly late arrivals may seem like a respite from the sporadic sleep cycle that students often endure, some local high schools employ a different method: early dismissals.

Students would meet this change with groans, and they are justified. Without a doubt, later school start times boast overwhelming merits. Earlier this month, staff writer Lauren Bell explored the subject of sleep deprivation and later school start times in her in-depth feature. New research from the American Academy of Pediatrics does in fact recommend later school start times for middle school and high school students.

However, Naperville North’s principal, Kevin Pobst, said that District 203 is unlikely to start schools at 8:30 a.m. or later. If District 203 adopted a later school start time for each school day, then students may reap the benefits. Yet, one extra hour of sleep one day a month seems to do little good. Let’s skip the hectic mornings and excuses.

District 204 ends the school day 20 minutes early every Wednesday. District 203 could adopt this practice without modifying the morning bus schedule, which is what causes the problems we currently experience on late arrival days. Maintaining the consistency of the bus routes would allow everyone to make it to first period on-time. And if students had the opportunity to begin their homework and extracurricular activities earlier, they could make it to bed earlier.

In the meantime, we need to accommodate District 203’s rigid schedule. As students, it is essentially our job to take matters into our own hands. It all comes down to time management.

As Naperville students, we often become victims of high expectations and standards. But next semester, instead of taking on another weighted course, perhaps opt for a study hall. Or, try and complete that science project early because you know its due date falls close to game day.

It is all too easy to procrastinate and overextend ourselves. But if these choices become a habit, they will not lead us to a healthy lifestyle. After we graduate, we may not land a job that caters to our sleep-wake cycle. Instead, we must learn to cope and manage our time. We have to balance our schedules to succeed. We have to know our limits.