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DR. FRASER FEB. 6TH SCHOOL START TIMES LETTER TO COMMUNITY

Yesterday, nationally-recognized expert on sleep health, Dr. Wendy Troxel, was in our District to share her findings on sleep, adolescence, and healthy school start times. In the morning, Dr. Troxel visited each of our high schools to educate 9th and 10th grade students, as well as select junior and senior class members of student government, on the importance of sleep during the adolescent years. She discussed the risk factors associated with consistent sleep deprivation and shared some helpful tips on how to achieve a successful night’s sleep.

Last evening, Dr. Troxel shared more information on sleep when she delivered “Snooze or Lose: Promoting Sleep Health in Adolescents” for our school community. In her presentation, Dr. Troxel spoke on the science behind why adolescents require more sleep than adults and elaborated on the national movement to push back high school start times. If you weren’t able to come out in person last evening, I urge you to watch Dr. Troxel’s presentation by clicking on the following link: Dr. Troxel February 5 Snooze or Lose Presentation. I think you’ll find it very interesting and a great means by which to acclimate yourself to our very own school start times conversation. 

Now that Dr. Troxel has given us a foundation of understanding regarding adolescent sleep health and healthy school start times, we’re ready to explore the topic on our own to determine what, if any, changes we may want to see occur for Council Rock. As a reminder, our exploration is just that. We are not committed to any change at this point in time. Also, if a change was to take place, it would not occur until the 2021-22 school year.

Next week, we will be sending out a brief survey to all Council Rock parents. The survey will ask about your basic impressions on changing school start times and inquire about your interest in joining our School Start Times Exploration Committee comprised of students, parents, staff, and community members. Prior to taking this survey, we respectfully request that all parents take time to familiarize yourself with the science behind the topic of adolescent sleep, which can be done by viewing last night’s presentation and/or reviewing the RESOURCES section of our School Start Times Hub. We’ve already uploaded many informative school start times web links, videos, and studies/reports in our hub and will continue to populate the section with more items for your benefit. 

Once assembled, the Committee will take a deep dive into school start times by examining current research on the topic, analyzing various school start times adjustment models, and discussing the pros and cons of modifying our current start times. Allow me to reiterate that there are indeed various models that schools across the state and country have used to adjust their start times. We will be comprehensive and thorough in reviewing all of them.

Our exploration of school start times is an opportunity for us to come together as a community to creatively look at a wellness issue that has a tremendous amount of scientific backing behind it.  In developing our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, we prioritized physical and mental wellness because we know that when children are physically and mentally well, they have a greater ability to succeed in school and life.

Thank you- 
Dr. Robert Fraser
Superintendent of Schools