District Wide Survey Study (D75/D120)
Research supports that later school start times for older students results in better sleep-related outcomes, wakefulness during school, improved academic performance, and reduced car accidents in older students. Research also suggests more pronounced implications associated with reduced sleep (as a result of early school start times) for youth of minority backgrounds. Even so, most of the research on sleep and school start times is focused on primarily white, non-Hispanic, and middle income families. Scarce research is available on the educational and health disparities based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic with respect to school start times. Further, only five studies of school start time changes looked at students in early elementary school. Very few studies include factors like parent and teacher wellness or even student social-emotional health. For the research to be applicable across groups, data needs to be conducted in broader contexts, with a wide range of functional outcomes, and within more diverse socio-demographic samples.
Recently, two diverse Lake County school districts (Mundelein D75 & D120) planned for a school start time change, moving older students to a later start and younger students to an earlier start. As they considered this change, they began partnering with a team of social-emotional, educational, and sleep researchers at Rush to assess the implications of their choice before making a change in the fall of 2022. To date, data were collected and analyzed from before the time change across K‑12, as well as the first year after the change. We will again be collecting longitudinal data for the 2023–2024 academic year. These district wide surveys include parents and school personnel. The Rush team analyzes de-identified data as provided by the districts.
EARLY ELEMENTARY ADD-ON STUDY (Grades K‑2)
Emphasizing the impact on early elementary study, a small sample of students from grades K‑2 are participating in an add-on study. In this study, we are examining the relationship between the change to an earlier start time (7:50 a.m.) and students’ sleep, social-emotional behavior, physical health, academic performance, and family well-being over time to determine the consequences of this change for these families. Data include self-report and third party (parent/teacher) surveys, questionnaires, and student direct assessment. To date, we have collected data from academic year 2021–2022 (baseline) and one year post time-change, in academic year 2022–2023.
Initial results will be presented at an upcoming national conference (see Publications page for details).