Petition statement to be delivered to Dewey Chapman, Superintendent, Portage County ESC

Start Northeast Ohio Middle and High Schools After 8:30 am

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Start Northeast Ohio Middle and High Schools After 8:30 am

To be delivered to Dewey Chapman, Superintendent, Portage County ESC

Petition Statement

We are asking each school in Portage County and Northeast Ohio to form a start time committee. The purpose of the committee would be to explore the clinical data and discuss the feasibility and benefits of delaying start times for middle and high school to after 8:30 am.
There are currently 328 signatures. NEW goal - We need 400 signatures!

Petition Background

LOCATION NOTE: This petition was originally written for Portage County but support quickly grew throughout Northeast Ohio. We will therefore share this with the ESC in any NE Ohio county represented by signatures. A national petition can be found at StartSchoolLater.net.

For the health, education, and safety of our youth it is recommended that middle and high schools start after 8:30 am. Schools across the nation have acted upon these recommendations, and the best first step is to simply create a committee to discuss the concept.

The recommendation to delay start times for middle and high school is due to a later shift in sleep cycle that occurs during puberty. Because of this temporary later shift in circadian rhythm teens cannot fall asleep early enough to accommodate an early morning wake time - which results in chronic sleep deprivation and a myriad of associated problems including obesity, increased sports injuries, changes in insulin resistance, cognitive deficits, and behavioral problems. Among schools that have changed the benefits include: decreased auto accidents, increased enrollment, improved grades, higher standardized test scores, improved behavior, and fewer nurse and counseling referrals.

There are too many studies to list them all, but here’s a few highlights:

Auto Accidents: 24.3% reduction in teen auto accidents in Fayette County KY compared to the rest of the state after high schools changed from 7:30 am to 8:30 am start times. (Danner and Phillips, 2008)

Grades: Improved grades for 7th grade girls and 8th grade boys and girls in middle schools that started at 8:37 am compared to middle schools that started at 7:25 am in Rhode Island. Remember that girls hit puberty before boys. (Wolfson et al, 2007)

Improved grades among US Air Force Academy Cadets who started their day at 7:50 am compared to 7:00 am. Remember that puberty extends into the early 20’s. (Carell et al, 2011)

Sports Injuries: 68% reduction in sports injuries among students who get one hour more sleep than their peers. (Milewski, 2012)

Financial Benefits: Estimated benefit to cost ratio of 9 to 1 in changing high schools to one hour later. (From the Brookings Institute Hamilton Project report: “Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments” available online.)

Additional resources for more information:
The National Sleep Foundation at www.sleepfoundation.org.
The national non-profit group Start School Later at www.startschoollater.net.

For information about the NE Ohio Start School Later Facebook page, or for questions about the petition or clinical data, feel free to contact the petition representative S. Simera via the above link.

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