SAN DIEGO–More than 100,000 students and some 13,000 teachers and support staff members returned to the San Diego Unified School District Monday morning to kick off the new school year.
Superintendent Cindy Marten, School Board President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, and School Board Vice President Dr. John Lee Evans welcomed students back at the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), which is among three campuses in the district to offer an early implementation of San Diego Unified’s new Healthy Start Times.
SCPA, La Jolla High School, and Muirlands Middle School will start school at 8:35 a.m. this year. Next year, all high schools will begin between 8:35 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. under the Healthy Start Times.
“Students do better when they get more sleep, and starting later will allow our students to arrive rested and ready to succeed. That is going to take their academic achievement to the next level,” Marten said.
The district’s implementation of Healthy Start Times is part of its broader commitment to the overall health and wellness of students. Starting school later in the morning has been shown to be the single best way to address adolescent sleep deprivation and its associated health and public-safety risks.
Junior Mckenna from SCPA was not complaining Monday morning. “It’s a big change, it’s really nice,” she said. “I was always tired last year.”
Along with a healthier start time, students also kicked off the school year with new cafeteria menu items. In addition to Meatless Mondays and the healthy organic options already on the menu, this year all middle and high schools will offer daily plant-based options.
“New this year, we are proud to offer a plant-based option every day of the week on our middle and high school menu, as well as a plant-based option as part of Meatless Mondays at our elementary schools. These plant-based options are a part of our commitment to student wellness and our way of reducing our carbon footprint,” said San Diego Unified’s Chef Juan Zamorano.