The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is condoning your teen’s late sleeping habits. A recent AAP study says adolescents who don’t get enough sleep often suffer physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance.
So what’s a parent to do to get that teen to school on time?
Louisiana Connections Academy, a public virtual charter school, solves that problem because a teenager logs on from home and attends class from their home computer. Flexibility is what it’s all about, said Principal Shuanessy Matthews.
According to the AAP study, getting enough sleep each night can be hard for teens whose natural sleep cycles make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. – and who face a first-period class at 7:30 a.m. or earlier the next day.
Principal Matthews said virtual schooling offers scheduling flexibility to middle and high schoolers. She said many don’t start their first class until 8:30 a.m. and some, who have acting or athletic schedules, may start even later.
Louisiana Connections Academy is a free public charter school open to 1800 students across the state. Principal Matthews said there are still openings for middle and high school students for the 2014-15 school year. Students can enroll from every county in the state.
“The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” published in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics. “Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn.”
LACA parent Elise Felix agrees, saying the flexibility that Louisiana Connections Academy provides allows her son, Tyler, to take part in his busy, blossoming acting career and gives him time to sleep in after long days of shooting.
“Some days Tyler would wrap up shooting his scenes at 10 or 11 o’clock at night,” said Elise. “It was a big help that he could sleep in after those long days of filming. The extra hour or two he’d get of rest really helped his focus when he logged in for class.”
Principal of Louisiana Connections Academy Shuanessy Matthews encourages parents who identify with this problem to consider LACA as an option for their children’s schooling. The school still has enrollment spots available for kids and more information can be found at www.LouisianaConnectionsAcademy.com
To read more about the AAP’s recommendation on delaying start times of middle and high school, visit http://www.aap.org