Later Start Times for AMS and AHS
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The research clearly shows why a later start time for middle and high school brings positive results. We respectfully request our school board to recognize the large and compelling body of research regarding teen sleep and academic, psychological and physical well being and move middle school and high school start times to 8:30am or later.
We respectfully request that Anacortes School District (ASD) Board and Superintendent follow the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics(1) and move our middle school and high school start times to 8:30am or later. Specifically, we request that the ASD create a committee to determine how to make later start times happen. We do not need a committee to study the need; rather, we want a committee formed that will determine HOW we can make this happen, ideally to be implemented by the completion of the new High School construction.
Scientific research has proven that there is a shift in the circadian rhythm of adolescents. During this shift, it is hard for teens to fall asleep before 11pm or midnight, and they continue to produce melatonin well into the morning hours which makes it difficult to wake up. This shift coupled with early morning start times, results in chronic sleep deprivation which is detrimental for our kids on so many levels.
When schools have delayed the start of the school day, communities have seen reduced tardiness, sleeping in class, and car crash rates, as well as improved attendance, graduation rates, and standardized test scores (2). WA School districts (including Seattle, Evergreen and Mercer Island) have responded to the research and changed their start times. Since the discussion on school start times began more than a decade ago, not a single district that has made the change has decided to change back (3).
Saving money on transportation costs, impact on sports and child care scheduling are legitimate concerns but do not outweigh the damage done to the physiological and psychological functioning of middle and high school students. To improve the learning ability of students we call on the Anacortes School District Board and Superintendent, with the help of a new committee, to work through key issues and provide guidance in scheduling start times so that the middle and high school in our district start no earlier than 8:30 am.
We can no longer continue to deprive our kids of adequate sleep. Please help make this very important change by signing this petition. Thank you!
(1) American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, August 25, 2014, School Start Times for Adolescents
(2, 3) Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2010, Later School Start Times and ZZZs to A’s
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