School Start Times 2020-21

  • Many Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) families have shared a preference for later school start times for secondary students. Based on several factors, Johnson High School was selected to pilot an 8:30 a.m. start time in fall 2015, with the additional benefit of using Metro Transit to get to and from school.

    This pilot program is a direct result of feedback received during our Rethinking School Start Time engagement process.

    Johnson High School was selected because:

    • The school is in a good location to use Metro Transit's current bus routes.
    • Principal Micheal Thompson has experience working with Metro Transit.
    • SPPS will be able to understand how a Metro Transit partnership will work with a district-wide magnet school.
  • Benefits to Changing Start Times:

    Results of a later start time for secondary schools


    Science behind teen sleep patterns

    • Later sleep patterns are biological, not necessarily behavioral
    • 9 or more hours of sleep is best for teenagers
    • However, 69% of high school students do not receive 8 hours of sleep
    • Delayed onset of melatonin (a chemical in the brain that regulates sleep) for teens makes it difficult to go to sleep earlier
    • Melatonin release and natural sleep cycle begins between 10:45 – 11 p.m.
    • Later school start times show no impact on when teens fall asleep


    When students receive fewer than 8 hours of sleep

    • Increased rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue
    • Interference with brain development (memory formation)
    • Increased rates of auto accidents
    • Decreased athletic and motor skills
    • Weight gain and/or elevated blood pressure
    • Increased likelihood of risk-taking behaviors
    • Increased risk of suicide 


    When students begin school at 8:30 a.m. or later

    • Improved attendance and decreased tardiness
    • Improvement in continuous enrollment
    • Improved health and fewer trips to the nurse
    • Improved alertness
    • Increase in GPA
    • Increase in percent of students scoring “proficient” on MCA math
    • Increase in secondary students eating breakfast

    *Source: Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study, Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D., University of Minnesota.


    Family and Student Based

    • High school students would not be able to watch younger siblings after school
    • Students will get home later from after-school activities
    • Student athletes likely to miss last period for non-conference games
    • Less time for after school student employment

    School Based

    • After school activities, including athletic practices and competitions, will run later
    • Schedule shifts may be needed for evening high school or credit recovery programs
    • Disruption to staff routines

    Letter: Later Start Time Plan --12-2-14 -- Through a year-long community feedback process, many Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) families shared a preference for later school start times for secondary students. Based on several factors, Johnson High School was selected to pilot an 8:30 a.m. start time in fall 2015, with the additional benefit of using Metro Transit to get to and from school. | READ MORE


Information for 2020-21

Metro Transit Student Pass

Start Times Overview