Should Hawaii’s public schools start classes later?

Local News

There’s a push to get more high school kids to sleep in a bit more by starting the school day an hour later.

Right now only Kaimuki High School students start school at 9:00 a.m.

The state Department of Education is looking into more schools doing the same to ease the traffic congestion.

Officials say the later start for some schools will also help offset the recent shortage of bus drivers.

How will it work and how do students, parents, and teachers feel about it?

Wade Araki, the principal at Kaimuki High School, says it’s worked very well so far, but he points out that not all schools will benefit from starting later.

The school is now in its third year of starting the school day at 9:00 a.m. instead of 7:50 a.m.

For students, getting that extra hour of sleep is a no-brainer.

“I love it.” junior Nicole Koncar said. “‘Cause I don’t have to wake up so early and I’m not tired for school.”

Parents don’t seem to mind the later start either.

“Her temper is much better. She has time to do her makeup, her hair, get pretty to go to school, you know,” parent Andrea Koncar said.

Is traffic better?

“Traffic-wise, I think it’s better way better,” Koncar said.

“They have enough time to sleep, and I have time to sleep too,” parent Yaiko Sigrah said.

DOE officials feel it can also help with the school bus driver shortage because drivers can drop off more students with the staggered start times.

“There’s a really strong push right now for high schools to start at 9:00 for example, which will solve a big part of our problem as well,” Dann Carlson from the DOE said.

The principal at Kaimuki High says he would not recommend the later start for younger students, but for high schools it’s been very beneficial. He says tardiness has been reduced dramatically.

“When we started at 7:50, we saw a lot of tardiness. Not really late, but just between 7:50 and 8:30,” Araki explained.

With the 9:00 a.m. start, the day ends at 2:50 p.m. That’s not much later than the previous schedule, but Wednesdays are no longer half days.

Araki said teachers like it because they still start at 7:50 a.m. and get their meetings done in the morning instead of at the end of the day. He has received positive comments from parents and most importantly the students.

“The kids reported in a survey last year that they feel more awake, got to get more sleep, and it’s a positive impact on their ability to study,” Araki said.

No word yet on which other schools would get the late start and when. We’ll keep you updated.

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