Radnor school board votes to start classes an hour later

By a vote of 7-2, the Radnor school board has voted to start classes at Radnor High School an hour later.

The vote comes after more than a year of studying the scientific research on the benefits of adolescent sleep and school start times, and follows a national trend at school districts nationwide.

With that move, Radnor High School becomes the first school in Southeastern Pennsylvania to begin classes an hour later, at 8:30 a.m. beginning next year.

"We really took our time with it and we got a lot of solid feedback from a variety of different stakeholders and that helped us to make it. It's not perfect but certainly is a very, very good plan," said Radnor High School Principal Dan Bechtold.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association have all issued policy statements recommending that adolescents get 8-10 hours of sleep each night and that the high school day should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Ken Batchelor, the school district superintendent says, "The science, what we've learned about the major medical associations have shared with us about adolescent sleep and what time is the proper time to start high school we found that to be very convincing."

At Radnor High School, most of the students we spoke with support the change.

"I think it's a good idea, especially for high school students with all the work and things we have to balance here. I think it'll be a positive change," said freshman Noelle Kuhn.

"I agree with the time change," said sophomore Abbie Frost. "I think it'll give me an opportunity to get all my work done and might instead of having to wait. And I like it for sports and I think it'll give me a lot more sleep."

Most parents we spoke with also support the move.

"There's so much research behind the benefits of the change in their circadian rhythms," said Theji Brennan.

Parent Missy Halberstadt said, "I think it's a great idea, I read all the studies and I think these kids can only benefit from having more sleep."

Phoenixville, Unionville and Tredyffrin-Easttown all recently voted to begin their high school start times a half hour later.

With the change this fall, Radnor High School will end their school day 45 minutes later.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.