The Golden State Introduces A New Start Time that is Gold


Mayfield Crier Staff

Mayfield Senior students walk onto campus at 8:00 on the first day of school.

Returning students may remember the rush to get to campus before 7:50 a.m. Slowing only for those speed bumps and dips on Grand avenue, running up the hill from the senior and junior parking lots, and texting a friend in your first block to tell the teacher that you went to the bathroom when in reality you slept in. As the new school year of 2022-2023 begins, an important change has been made. Mayfield Senior School officially starts at 8:00 a.m..

This is due in part to a state law that went into effect. Back in 2019, Senator Anthony J. Portantino presented Senate Bill 328 which would require public and charter high schools to begin classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. 

“Sleep loss among adolescents causes higher rates of car accidents, suicide, mental illness, physical illness, absences, tardies, and lower grades, and it is disproportionately harmful to low-income students and students of color,” states Senate Bill 328.

Portantino’s bill goes on to claim that “Abundant evidence demonstrates that when secondary schools start later, students get more sleep on average and they are healthier, safer, and perform better in school.”

The introduction of later start times was not a new concept. Portantino’s bill is built upon almost over a decade of warnings and studies from medical experts.

In 2014, The American Academy of Pediatrics recognized that “insufficient sleep in adolescents as an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students. The AAP’s study found a correlation between the number of hours that teens sleep and their academic success and advised school districts to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.. 

“The evidence strongly implicates earlier school start times (ie, before 8:30 am) as a key modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep, as well as circadian rhythm disruption, in this population,”stated the September 1, 2014 press release.

Eight years later in July of 2022, Senate Bill 328 went into effect under California jurisdiction, answering the call to action that medical experts have described as the adolescent sleep loss epidemic.

Although private high schools are not required to follow that law, several local schools such as Westridge School, Saint Francis, and Flintridge Preparatory School implemented that policy before it even went into effect, shifting their own start time to 8:30 a.m.. 

This year, Mayfield joins other independent schools in starting school later in the morning. Mayfield starts at 8:00 a.m. instead of 7:50 a.m. and the extra 10 minutes have saved many students from receiving that dreadful pink late slip. 

”I’ve noticed a difference in the girls punctuality with the new time,” Nurse Cathy Cota said. 

Some students said it would be advantageous to join other independent schools in the area with a start time of 8:30 a.m., but believe the extra 10 minutes to eat breakfast and put on mascara by 8:00 a.m. is a start.

 “It creates less stress in the morning and in turn I am more awake during my first period,” said Morgan Burns ’25.