Examining junior high principals’ perceptions of a delayed school start time.

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The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the perceptions of junior high school principals as they relate to a change in school start time policy in a large suburban school district. Throughout the last two decades, school start time changes have been researched largely as a mitigating factor to adolescent sleep health and, to a lesser extent, as an influence on academic outcomes. The researcher analyzed the perceptions of junior high principals on the benefits, barriers, and implications of a school start time change in their local context. This study addressed the following questions: a) How do junior high school principals perceive the implications of a later school start time for junior high school students? b) How do junior high school principals perceive how school start time relates to academic outcomes? c) How do principals perceive the complications associated with the implementation process of a school start time change? In this qualitative research, a semi structured interview of 11 junior high principals was conducted to gather findings on the implementation process of the school start time change. The qualitative analysis yielded five themes, all of which helped the researcher develop implications for school districts to take a holistic approach to developing school start time policy reform within local school district contexts.

School start time. Policy reform. Principal perceptions. Adolescent sleep.