The Potential Change in Wake County School Times: Student Thoughts


Gator's Eye Staff

What are your thoughts on school starting later? Here is what we found.

Whether or not school should start later has been a prevalent discussion for quite some time now. For Green Level specifically and most Wake County Public Schools high schools in general, they begin at 7:25 A.M. and release at 2:18 P.M. In comparison to the national average school start-time of 8:00 am, Wake County requires a serious wake-up call and timely morning routines from students who, let’s be honest, probably didn’t get much sleep the night before. 

The national average school end-time is 3:00 pm, meaning Wake County schools dismiss relatively early, providing more opportunities for after-school activities. 

Recently, a new idea has surfaced, and members around Wake County have been speculating about changing the school times to start at 9:15 A.M., and end at 4:10 P.M. This is a sizable shift from the current schedule, and its multifaceted impact is bound to incite controversy amongst Wake County residents. While the proposal is still in the early stages and not yet concrete, the concept is progressively gaining more public attention and is currently being prepped with the goal of taking it to the Wake County Board of Education in early 2023. With all of this in mind, it is crucial to hear the voices and opinions of those who the schedule change will most directly affect: The students.

Here are the results and samples from an anonymous survey made available to Green Level students of all grade levels

Important stats: 

56% of respondents think the change in school times is overall negative, and 44% think the change is overall positive. 

55% of respondents said the shift in schedule would affect their after-school activities, and 45% said it would not. 

About 61% of respondents feel that sleeping in does not justify the late release, and about 39% feel it does justify it. 

Do you think it will be a positive or negative adjustment for students? Why or why not? 


  • “I think it will be an extremely positive adjustment for high school students because it will allow us to be fully awake during school.” -Green Level Sophomore
  • “I think it would be a very positive adjustment for students in the wake county school system. Many High-school students focused on their academic performance as well as extracurricular activities and sports. It’s a lot to handle, when trying to get into the college you want. Sleep is a very important factor in all of these things. Proven that sleep enhances performance changing the time would greatly benefit this, giving students time to complete all aspects of their life with academics, sports, clubs, other extracurriculars, as well as family and social time.” -Green Level Sophomore
  • “Overall, I think the adjustment will be better for our mental health. It will be different for sure, and sports times may be challenging, but to able to get more sleep will be crucial into our development to adults.” -Green Level Junior


  • I think it will be a negative adjustment because it leaves less time for after-school activities, work, and sports, especially in winter when it gets dark faster. We’ll have to start homework even later after coming back from our extracurricular and will stay up even more and get less sleep trying to finish everything.” -Green Level Sophmore
  • “I think the adjustment could be positive to athletic students if they play school sports since the timings for games and practices would likely benefit them. For other students, however, the only potential benefit would be more sleep. I believe that this may simply lead to students still being just as tired in school and just staying up later at night. I think the adjustment itself would start out positive for the most part and then students will realize it’s not any better and potentially worse than the old times.” -Green Level Junior
  • “I feel like the changes do not benefit people, a lot of people have jobs starting around 4 which is around when school ends and if you do sports it’ll run until like 9.” -Green Level Junior

Would the change in schedule conflict with your after-school activities? In what way?


  • “Yes: I go to the gym after-school and it’s already packed enough due to every High schooler going within the same time frame. If we end School later, that time frame is condensed and it’ll be worse.” -Green Level Junior
  • “Yes, many people have activities after school that starts at 3-4, and having this time change would be already halfway into the evening. people would be getting home at 8 and still have homework.” -Green Level Freshman
  • “Yes. I have practice year-round for cross country and track and it would get a lot darker by the time we’re done with practice and we would miss school when we travel for meets. Most of my extracurriculars start at 4, and making dismissal later would leave me less time to get home and relax before studying.” -Green Level Sophmore
  • “Yes. i will have to stay later at work to get the same amount of hours, which will mess with my sleep schedule.” -Green Level Junior
  • Yes, I have rehearsal for the play every day until 5:30. If school ended at 4, I would have rehearsal until 7:30.” -Green Level Sophmore


  • “It would, but I feel like if the school schedule changed so would my after-school activities schedule.” -Green Level Junior
  • “Not really at all since school tennis and clubs would shift to accommodate the change in schedule.” -Green Level Sophmore

How enticing is the idea of waking up later? Is it favorable enough to justify getting out of school so late, or not? (elaborate)


  • “It’s favorable because I think it’s more important for students to get sleep than worrying about athletics. even if the time did change students will still have time for athletics.” -Green Level Sophomore
  • “It is favorable enough since the current schedule doesn’t make much sense I really don’t understand why schools go against doctor’s recommendations and guidelines to make students wake up so early for not much reason.” -Green Level Sophomore

      Not favorable:

  • “I think that waking up later would help with many students’ performances, but some students would abuse the benefit by staying up later at night. This also can lead to a laziness aspect.” -Green Level Junior
  • “No, i think everyone will agree when they say they can sacrifice an hour’s worth of sleep than staying in school for TWO more hours.” -Green Level Freshman
  • “I don’t think it is a good idea, because either way, we’re not getting a good night of sleep. With dismissal later, we have less time to do work before it’s night and will often stay up or have to wake up early to finish homework. With school starting at 7:25, we get time to wake up at a good schedule and have plenty of time to get home after and do other activities.” -Green Level Sophmore
  • “It would be ridiculous as a HS student to be getting out of school at 4:15 pm. That leaves not much time in the afternoon/evening.” -Green Level Junior
  • “Overall the idea is good for students that live close to the school. But for me personally, it would be bad… I live 42.6 miles away from green level, I’m currently not taking a 1st period but I still have to get up early just to make it to school and I also have other stops along the way. But I’d hit peak morning traffic if the times were to change, Could range anywhere from 35mins-70mins to get to school and that’s without stops.” -Green Level Senior

      In the middle:

  • “It honestly doesn’t matter to me because either way I’ll have the same amount of work and have to stay awake for the same amount of time.” -Green Level Sophmore
  • “Waking up later may be hard at first due to the fact we are so used to associating waking up early with school. I, however, do not think this should mean we get out as late as we do. That is the only issue here. No one wants to stay in school till 4:10 especially if they have siblings at home and if their sports do conflict.” -Green Level Junior


      Any other related thoughts or input? 

  • “Maybe we can change the time to 8, and leave at 3. Because I do think that 7:25 is extremely early, but 8 is early enough, and leaving at 3 is a pretty good time. Either way, some people wait for their parents to come and they stay between 2:40-3. If anything it’s more helpful and flexible for the parents as well, from my experience. Hope this helped!” -Green Level Senior
  • “4 Day school weeks have been proven to work and have a positive impact on everyone, so I hope that is brought up in the future.” -Green Level Junior
  • “I know this will not happen but 8:00, in my opinion, is the perfect time for high school to start. Then ends at 2:30.” -Green Level Junior
  • “8:15 to 3:10 might be a better time.” -Green Level Sophomore

Students expressed division on the recent proposition. While the majority disapprove of the potential change in the schedule, it is not a vast majority, meaning there is still a large percentage of the student body in favor of a delayed school day. 

Unfortunately, there’s no official way to declare this potential change in school times as being in the best interest of the student body or not, given that its feedback is based on personal preference and schedule. However, it is undeniable that the GL Gators demonstrate great enthusiasm on the matter! Most respondents delivered well-spoken opinions, and a couple of students even went as far as to propose other related projects, such as different school times and shorter school weeks. If you are opinionated on the topic (as a Wake County student, parent, or staff member), feel free to fill out this Wake County issued survey and give your input in an effective manner.