The Beyond Grades Podcast Episode 1: California Students Can Hit Snooze One More Time

podcasts, storytelling

You snooze, you win podcast promo

News flash: we launched a podcast!

A majority of our work over at our parent agency, Holdsworth Communications, is focused on public relations and storytelling. However, to say that the last two-and-a-half years have been tough to promote good stories is an understatement.

So, we decided to launch our own NPR-style podcast to share snippets of great stories happening in both K-12 and higher education. The Beyond Grades Podcast aims to educate and motivate. Check out the podcast page here for more information and links to listen.

After each episode airs, you’ll find the transcript and wrap-up on our blog. We’ll also share the podcast through our e-newsletter (sign up here).

Episode 1: California students can hit snooze one more time

A new law has taken effect in California which may only be controversial among early birds. 

This summer, the golden state just got a little more golden for public school students and teachers as it becomes the first state to move back school start times. 

Three years ago, California legislators passed a law requiring that public high schools begin classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and that middle schools start no earlier than 8 a.m. The law officially went into effect July first this year.

If you don’t live anywhere near California or you are no longer in school— but you do remember fighting to keep your eyes open in 10th-grade social studies— know that science says you were not a bad student— you were a teen. 

The average U.S. school start time this past year was around 7:30. However, research shows that this is not actually healthy. 

Matthew Walker, a University of California, Berkeley, neuroscience professor, told NPR this. 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night for 13- to 18-year-olds.

And the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. 

So why don’t teens just go to bed earlier? Well, ask author and mom Lisa L. Lewis. In her recent book, “The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, and How Parents and Schools Can Help Them Thrive,” Lewis explained why exactly sleep is so important for teens in particular and what happens when it isn’t respected. 

According to Lewis, research shows how when teens hit puberty, melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) is released later. This affects their circadian rhythm because they are not ready to go to sleep until later than typical and, in turn, not ready to wake up until later. 

Not only do they need to sleep later, but they need to sleep more. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that teens should get nine to 11 hours of sleep while adults should get seven to nine. However, research from this past year shows that only 15% of teens got at least 8.5 hours of sleep. 

Considering that most teens participate in an extracurricular activity or sport and follow that with homework, this isn’t too surprising. Which is why California is taking this dreamy action. 

According to the national sleep foundation, later start times are proven to lead to positive outcomes in school and out of school. Research shows later start times lead to better grades, better attendance, improved mental health and wellbeing, fewer disciplinary issues, and one study showed a 16.5% decrease in the teenage crash rate after the school start time was pushed back one hour.

Luckily for the adults who had to wake the students and teachers, you can try and get some more sleep too.

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