Start School Later Newsletter
Vol 4 Issue 9
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Sunday, November 1st, marks the end of Daylight Saving Time. At bus stops around the country, our kids will have a little more light to guide their way, but many of them will be too groggy to notice. Read on for some glimmers of hope.

Heather and the Start School Later Team


New Acting Secretary of Education: John B. King Jr.

President Obama's pick to succeed Arne Duncan as the US Secretary of Education has been called one of the most polarizing figures in education. Given that Secretary Duncan was a vocal supporter of later start times, we hope that will continue on King's watch. King said that his top priority is “moving forward with the ambitious agenda that Arne and the president have laid out,” Washington Post article here.

Great News in Seattle!

Our Seattle Chapter is seeing some results! Middle and high school students in Seattle Public Schools could start their days later and elementary students earlier under a recommendation from Superintendent Larry Nyland. Nyland recommends that, starting next September, high schools and most middle schools start at 8:50 a.m., most elementary schools start at 8 a.m., and K-8 schools start at 8 a.m., 8:50 a.m. or 9:40 a.m. Start School Later Seattle's leader Cindy Jatul says in a Press Release, "While not perfect, the current proposal before the board represents a significant improvement and we strongly advocate for its passage". The School Board will vote November 4th. Seattle Times article.

Call To Action: Take a few minutes

The Department of Health & Human Services is accepting public comment to propose new objectives under existing areas of focus in the Healthy People 2020 initiative. Under "Sleep Health" we should all propose an objective relating to later school start times. Follow this link to impact public policy

Looking for SSL Merchandise?

Help support Start School Later and visibility for our organization at your local events. Shop Here.


College Students: Call for Videos

How much coffee should I drink?
Is pulling an all-nighter a good idea?
How many hours of sleep do I really need?
We want to know your questions about sleep in college for a national sleep education course we are developing. Submit a short video of you asking us a short question about sleep like the ones above, and we might include it in our course. 
Or, tell us a story about how sleep deprivation, sleep drugs/aids, early classes, etc. have affected your academic performance, health, and your college life in general.
Some of the topics we are particularly interested in include the following:

  • How have your roommates affected your sleep?
  • How do your sleep habits differ between the weekdays and the weekends?
  • Describe your caffeine consumption habits.
  • How do students on your campus use drugs like Adderall to stay awake?
  • How has your workload/schedule gotten in the way of your sleep?
  • Have you ever fallen asleep at the wheel? Please describe.
  • Are you sleeping better or worse in college than you did in high school? In what way?
  • How do you determine if it is worth staying up all night to finish a paper or to cram for an exam?
  • Have you ever experienced serious consequences from not sleeping enough? Please describe.

Recordings can be as short as a few seconds and as long as a minute. No editing is necessary – just a brief clip recorded on your phone or laptop camera is fine.
Please email all submissions to and include your name, expected date of graduation, and the name of your college.


Profile: Phyllis Payne, Implementation Director

Last week, Phyllis travelled from Virginia to Anne Arundel County, Maryland, offering real-world experience to help another school system wrestle with concerns about start time change. Sitting between the Transportation Directors of both Fairfax County and neighboring Montgomery County, Phyllis articulated the process of educating the community, working through transportation software to find creative solutions, questioning assumptions, and building consensus among board members, and the community.

The main ingredients in successful start time change? Leadership and Communication. Phyllis is a health educator and science writer with extensive experience in community health education and outreach. As co-founder of SLEEP in Fairfax, the advocacy group that successfully ushered in healthy school start times in Fairfax County, VA and an SSL partner, Phyllis worked for a decade to see a successful transition to FCPS's new schedule that includes an 8:00-8:10 am start for its 57,000 high school students.



Volunteers Needed in VA & CA

Carmel, CA and Virginia Beach, VA We are looking for people willing to voice their support and help move efforts in these local areas forward. Carmel contact: Hilary Leforte at Virginia Beach contact: Phyllis Payne at


Events Across the Country

Upcoming events include a sleep education seminar by pediatric sleep expert Dr. Judith Owens, a member of the SSL Board of Directors, in Southborough, MA; the Inaugural Meeting of SSL Houston, TX; and a  "Later High School Start Times" webinar put on by NY State School Boards Association! Visit our site's Calendar of Events for these and other upcoming events & sign up to receive weekly updates.Let us know if your local chapter has a gathering planned. There's lots going on!
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