Start School Later Than 8:30 a.m. - Missoula, Montana

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Missoula County Urban Area High Schools Should Not Start Earlier Than 8:30 a.m.

Let the Missoula County Public Schools Board of Trustees know that you support starting high school no earlier than 8:30 a.m., as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Sleep Association, and the Centers for Disease Control, among others.

Studies have documented that adolescents are not getting the recommended nine hours of sleep they need, with nearly 66% getting less than eight hours and nearly 40% getting less than six hours of sleep per night. The result is “chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy adolescents.”

Studies have also shown that shifting school start times later does not result in later bedtimes, and as a result students obtain additional sleep on school nights. Students who get more sleep show improvements in areas of memory, attention, and emotional regulation. Athletes who sleep more perform better and are 68% less likely to be injured than athletes that regularly slept less.

Hundreds of schools in 44 states in the US have instated later school start times and have found affordable, feasible ways to do so. These schools report benefits to physical and mental health, learning, attendance, graduation rates, car crashes, and overall student well being.

The American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Society of Pediatric Nurses, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, all endorse instituting healthy school start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics list of physical, mental, and academic impacts of chronic sleep loss in adolescents is sobering, and other evidence shows that school start times for young people before 8:30 a.m. can result in a long list of mental and physical ailments, safety hazards, and decreased academic performance.

Learn more about health, safety, learning, equity and economic benefits associated with delaying school day start times. This is a local petition directed to Missoula County's urban area high schools, but the concepts apply to teens and school start times universally. Sign the national petition here.

Review the MCPS white paper prepared for the school board here; the board will be taking public comment at their next meeting on May 9. You can also find more information about our national Start School Later organization on our website. Click here to learn more about Start School Later - MISSOULA, MT, or Like Us on Facebook and get regular updates on our progress.



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