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Local school district tests out theory to boost test scores for students

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STILLWATER, Okla. - An Oklahoma school district is hoping an extra hour of sleep will boost test scores for students.

Stillwater Public Schools is joining hundreds of districts across the country to find out if more sleep leads to more successful students.

This is a first for Stillwater Public Schools, instead of starting school at 8:00 a.m. junior and high school students don't have to be here until 9:00 a.m.

The district spent several years looking into the pros and cons so this change didn't just happen overnight.

Students at Stillwater High School are working on a different kind of schedule this school year.

"I have a lot more energy now," said Cameron Jackson, senior student.

Juggling classes and a part time job has gotten a whole lot easier for senior student Cameron Jackson now that he's getting to start school an hour later.

"For the most part I still wake up at the same time just because that's what I've been trained to do," said Cameron. "It gives me another hour to sit there and wrap up any homework I have left over or just get ready for day, eat breakfast a lot more than I normally do."

Stillwater Public Schools is just one of a handful of schools across the country that have opted for a time change.

"At first it was a little rough just because it was change," said Dr. Ann Caine, Stillwater Public Schools Superintendent. "Some parents were changing their work schedule to go to work later or go to work earlier."

Superintendent Dr. Ann Caine said, the district researched the idea for three years . It formed a committee made up of parents and teachers so they can talk and take a look at the impact of the switch.

The school board voted to change the time figuring the move would be beneficial to help them see more student engagement in classrooms and better test scores.

"The research is very clear that teenagers should have a later start time and younger children should start earlier," said Dr. Caine. "It's good for them and as we're expecting more and more out of teenagers and students why would you not make this change?"

Social studies teacher Jason Carley said he hasn't seen much of a change in the classroom when it comes to his teaching and how students learn, but has noticed that students are more alert.

"It was an easier transition at least fo rme and for what I've seen from students than I thought it was going to be," said Jason Carley, teacher. "After a year of doing this and if this continues I think this will be the new normal."

With state testing next month for students, the district will take a closer look at those scores for data, but the superintendent tells NewsChannel 4 it's still too early to tell how things are going to turn out.

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