Mon-Fri 8:00am - 6:00pm EST
Find Close

The Average School Start Times in Every U.S. State

What time does school start for your children? Many students (and parents and teachers!) would agree that school start times are not ideal. In America, the average school start times are notoriously early — the average school start time in the United States is 8:03 a.m. In 42 U.S. states, 75% to 100% of public schools start before 8:30 a.m., which is the CDC-recommended start time. 

What State Has the Earliest School Start Times? 

For both middle school start times and high school start times, Louisiana is the earliest state, at 7:37 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively. The earliest elementary school start time is in Mississippi, at 7:40 a.m.! 

The team at AAA State of Play has conducted an analysis of school start times in the United States to shed light on where students are rising the earliest and latest. Check it out: 

Embed this image on your site:

Here are the top five states with the earliest elementary school start times: 

  1. Mississippi: 7:40
  2. South Carolina: 7:44
  3. Alabama: 7:49
  4. Hawaii: 7:53
  5. Texas: 7:56 

Here are the top five states with the earliest middle school start times:

  1. Louisiana: 7:37
  2. Delaware: 7:40
  3. Mississippi: 7:44
  4. Maine: 7:46
  5. Alabama: 7:49

Here are the top five states with the earliest high school start times:

  1. Louisiana: 7:30
  2. Connecticut: 7:39
  3. Massachusetts: 7:38
  4. New Hampshire: 7:41
  5. Nevada: 7:45
  • Why Does School Start So Early?


Why do American schools start so early? And why does school start at 7 a.m.? These are common questions surrounding the extreme school start times in the United States. The main contributor to early school start times is busing. Many school districts use the same fleet of buses to pick up and drop off students across all grades, which creates the need to stagger the school schedules, often pushing average high school start times to early hours. 

  • Are High School Students Sleep-Deprived?


Absolutely. More than 2 out of 3 high school-aged adolescents do not get enough sleep, and the problem is escalating. 

  • What Percentages of Students Are Sleep-Deprived Overall?


A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 87% of high school students and 59% of middle school students get less than the recommended amount of sleep daily on school nights. 

  • Why Should School Start Later?


There are many advocates for later school starting times, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which points out that better health is one of the biggest benefits of later school start times. According to the CDC, a lack of sleep is associated with several health risks, including weight gain, drinking alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and poor academic performance. 

Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation that middle and high school students should start school at 8:30 a.m. at the earliest to give them enough time for rest. This opinion states that insufficient sleep is a significant public health issue that can severely impact the health, safety, and academic success of students. Optimal levels of sleep can protect physical health and mental health (such as by lowering rates of depression), reduce unsafe behaviors (drowsy driving), boost academic performance, and improve overall quality of life. 

Another neuroscience study has concluded that a 10 a.m. school start time improved the overall health and performance of students aged 13-16, leading to higher student attendance, better test scores, and improved sleep quality and duration.

  • Why Should School Start Early?


What about the benefits of early school start times? One of the biggest concerns about shifting school start times is conflict with parent work schedules. If school were to start around 9 a.m., many parents and caregivers would struggle to balance preparing their child for school and getting them there with getting themselves to work on time. Transportation logistics is another issue: Many school districts use the same buses for all grades, creating a need for staggering the pick-up and drop-off schedules. Extracurricular activities may also suffer from later school start times — if school ends later, extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs would end later, too, cutting into time that could be spent studying, doing homework, and socializing. 

Here is some additional reading about early school start times’ pros and cons: 

  • The Average School Start Times in Every U.S. State



  • High School Start Times by State

State

Average Start Time

Alabama

7:57

Alaska

8:26

Arizona

8:03

Arkansas

8:01

California

8:04

Colorado

7:52

Connecticut

7:39

Delaware

7:51

District of Columbia

8:41

Florida

7:51

Georgia

8:07

Hawaii

8:07

Idaho

8:06

Illinois

8:08

Indiana

8:00

Iowa

8:16

Kansas

7:59

Kentucky

8:06

Louisiana

7:30

Maine

7:51

Maryland

Insufficient data

Massachusetts

7:38

Michigan

7:49

Minnesota

8:21

Mississippi

7:52

Missouri

7:53

Montana

8:12

Nebraska

8:13

Nevada

7:45

New Hampshire

7:41

New Jersey

7:51

New Mexico

7:58

New York

8:02

North Carolina

8:11

North Dakota

8:11

Ohio

7:51

Oklahoma

8:04

Oregon

8:08

Pennsylvania

7:48

Rhode Island

7:46

South Carolina

8:34

South Dakota

8:14

Tennessee

8:01

Texas

8:07

Utah

7:56

Vermont

8:06

Virginia

8:14

Washington

7:59

West Virginia

7:46

Wisconsin

7:54

Wyoming

7:53

  • Middle School Start Times by State

State

Average Start Time 

Alabama

7:49

Alaska

8:15

Arizona

8:11

Arkansas

7:58

California

8:11

Colorado

8:03

Connecticut

7:55

Delaware

7:40

District of Columbia

Insufficient data

Florida

8:50

Georgia

8:14

Hawaii

7:56

Idaho

8:06

Illinois

8:14

Indiana

7:58

Iowa

8:11

Kansas

8:01

Kentucky

8:07

Louisiana

7:37

Maine

7:46

Maryland

Insufficient data

Massachusetts

7:52

Michigan

7:56

Minnesota

8:11

Mississippi

7:44

Missouri

7:50

Montana

8:15

Nebraska

8:05

Nevada

8:05

New Hampshire

7:56

New Jersey

8:05

New Mexico

8:13

New York

8:00

North Carolina

7:58

North Dakota

8:30

Ohio

7:50

Oklahoma

8:11

Oregon

8:17

Pennsylvania

7:51

Rhode Island

7:52

South Carolina

7:59

South Dakota

8:16

Tennessee

7:56

Texas

8:05

Utah

8:01

Vermont

8:05

Virginia

8:11

Washington

8:12

West Virginia

7:58

Wisconsin

7:49

Wyoming

8:02

  • Elementary School Start Times by State

State

Average Start Time

Alabama

7:49

Alaska

8:31

Arizona

8:13

Arkansas

7:57

California

8:16

Colorado

8:14

Connecticut

8:41

Delaware

8:23

District of Columbia

Insufficient data

Florida

8:20

Georgia

7:56

Hawaii

7:53

Idaho

8:31

Illinois

8:30

Indiana

8:19

Iowa

8:26

Kansas

8:17

Kentucky

8:08

Louisiana

8:04

Maine

8:20

Maryland

Insufficient data

Massachusetts

8:35

Michigan

8:29

Minnesota

8:41

Mississippi

7:40

Missouri

8:26

Montana

8:19

Nebraska

8:14

Nevada

8:48

New Hampshire

8:37

New Jersey

8:32

New Mexico

8:06

New York

8:32

North Carolina

7:56

North Dakota

8:31

Ohio

8:37

Oklahoma

8:14

Oregon

8:22

Pennsylvania

8:32

Rhode Island

8:44

South Carolina

7:44

South Dakota

8:15

Tennessee

8:01

Texas

7:56

Utah

8:32

Vermont

8:06

Virginia

8:22

Washington

8:47

West Virginia

8:10

Wisconsin

8:19

Wyoming

8:27


Related: Playground equipment for schools


Find more about the author: Kim Hart

We can't find products matching the selection.