Start School Later Newsletter
Vol 4 Issue 1
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New Year, New Momentum

Happy New Year! From pending legislation in several states to later start times as one of the National Sleep Foundations's top policy priorities, 2015 promises to be a big one for the Start School Later Movement. This year, too, Start School Later has some exciting new initiatives lined up, including some targeted sleep education materials and awareness-raising videos. We'll keep you posted in the coming months.

With gratitude,

Maribel, Terra, and the Start School Later Team

Latest News

Chapter News

We now have 35 chapters in 16 states, with the newest just launched this week: Westport, CT. To see a list of all Start School Later chapters around the USA, or to find out about how to start a new one, click here.

Chapters across the Mid-Atlantic and New England are joining forces to share strategies and promote legislation, publicity, and endorsements. We currently  have chapters 4 Maryland chapters, 3 Connecticut chapters, 5 New York chapters, and 4 Massachusetts chapters, as well as a chapter in nearby Maine and Rhode Island.

The record for most tenacious advocates has to go to the Arlington, TX chapter.  Four members, led by Debbie O. Moore, waited five hours to testify before the AISD at the evening hearing, held on January 15.  The group left at 1:05 a.m., a mere five hours before the high school start time!

Maryland Study of Safe and Healthy Hours

In late December 2014, the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) released a Study of Safe and Healthy School Hours for Maryland Public Schools, recommending that the state board of education (MSDE) advise all 24 Maryland school districts of the benefits of starting school days after 8 a.m. and encourage them to conduct feasibility studies on implementation of necessary changes.

The study, mandated by the nation’s first piece of legislation to provide guidance to local school districts on appropriate school start times, was introduced by Delegate Aruna Miller (D-15) and supported by Start School Later. It tasked DHMH with conducting a study of morning bell times by reviewing the science on student sleep needs, examining how other school systems have implemented alternative starting times; and recommending whether schools should start after 8 a.m.

To track all the legislation on school start times by state, click here.

Media Coverage

So many communities have the start time issue on their radar that it's hard to keep track. Fortunately we do that for you on our website. Click here to see some of the start school later activity across the USA, and the world. And please let us know if we're missing something in your district!

You can check the almost daily media coverage of Start School Later and our chapters on our website. Some of the most recent media coverage includes yet more support from the Washington Post Editorial Board, which concludes: "The decision will basically come down to priorities, the health and well-being of students should rank high."

Petition Updates

Our national petition now exceeds 10,000 names - more than doubling our original goal. If you haven't done so, feel free to sign and share the petition. Thanks!

Several chapters are launching petitions, most recently including South Portland, ME. Please share it with anyone you know there or who cares about children and families there. For a list of all Start School Later petitions for local, state, and national change, click here.

Amazing Public Testimony

The Montgomery County MD chapter organized a very moving public testimony for two sets of two hour public hearings, for a total of four hours of viewpoints on why the current school board recommendation to move high school start times 20 minutes was insufficient to deal with the chronic sleep deprivation due to early starts. Parents, students, sleep experts, pediatricians, adolescent mental health providers, teachers, and public health service officials came out in force.

You can see the complete hearings here:
Session 1 - 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Session 2 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm (look for a special poem, written and recited by a concerned parent at 17:00!)

Special thanks go to Ann Gallagher, Michael Rubinstein, Mandi Mader and Merry Eisner-Heidorn, the leadership of the Montgomery Chapter for coordinating such an exemplary proceeding.

Our New Board of Directors

We are delighted to announce our 2015-16 Board of Directors:

Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD, President
Maribel Cabrera Ibrahim, Vice-President, Treasurer
Dolores Skowronek, MLIS, Secretary
Kimberly Charis, Project Director, National Association of State Boards of Education
Terry Cralle, RN, MS, Sleep Health and Wellness Professional, Certified Clinical Sleep Educator
Daniel Lewin, PhD, Psychologist, Sleep Specialist, Children's National Medical Center
Sina Nader, Founder, CEO, SWAN Medical Group
Amy Wolfson, PhD, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Psychology, Loyola University

About Start School Later, Inc.

Start School Later is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to ensure that all public schools can set hours compatible with health, safety, equity, and learning.

Visit for more information about joining or starting a local chapter or to get the facts about early school start times.
Copyright © 2015 Start School Later, Inc., All rights reserved.
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