BREAKING: Archer implements late start for 2020-2021 school year


Photo credit: Nicki Rosenberg

Archer administration announced that school will start 30 minutes later at 8:20 in the 2020-2021 school year. A pilot program was conducted in October with this same schedule, and the feedback encouraged administration to make the permanent change.

School start times will be moved from 7:50 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. starting next school year, according to an email sent to parents Saturday morning. Class times will be shortened by 5 minutes, and a week will be added to the beginning of the year to make up for instructional time.

In the first week of October, Archer conducted a late start pilot program, where the schedule was adjusted to start school 30 minutes later each morning.

“Feedback on the late start pilot conducted earlier this year was overwhelmingly positive from students, families, and faculty alike,” Head of School Elizabeth English wrote in the email.

The pilot program conducted in October allowed the administration to understand how a later start schedule would function within the community.

I know sleep was a part of the reason for the late start,” interim Dean of Students Brianna Coughlan said in an interview in October during the initial pilot program. “We have read some research studies that say teenagers benefit from a later start, so they can sleep longer.” 

Although the late start program has been designed with the intention to give students more time to sleep, Los Angeles traffic can impact student’s travel time in the morning. 

“The biggest feedback that I’ve gotten is that it depends on where you live. For people that live close to campus, they have really been enjoying the extra 30 minutes, but I’ve heard that people who live further away, like in the Valley, it has not really affected their schedule,” Coughlan said.

With students commuting from 79 different zip codes in the Los Angeles area, the traffic patterns cause difficulty in assuring an equal experience for all students with the late start program. 

“I think potentially it could be helpful for people who live farther away,” junior Gracey Wyles said. “But because it’s later, and traffic can differ on different days, it might result in no change in their normal schedule, and, with traffic, it can make for a longer bus ride.” 

Junior Rachael Azrialy said she was initially “very excited” to hear about the 30 extra minutes of sleep but then realized that her parents would have to change their schedules.

“I think that it’s a great idea and that it’s proven that starting school later is more beneficial for learning and absorbing information, but I think that it’s also important to think about everybody’s situation,” she said. “It’s not the most ideal situation for my family in particular because both my parents…work long hours, and they need to get into the office.”

After the pilot program in October, feedback surveys were conducted to understand the entire community’s perspective on the change in schedule. According to English, the input from the surveys was “invaluable” in the decision-making process.

“We believe this change is in the best interest of our students’ well-being,” English wrote. “[We] are very much looking forward to rolling it out in the new school year.”

Archer administration released the 2020-2021 major dates calendar along with the announcement about the later start time.