On May 15, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed into law the first state legislation addressing the start school later issue – with Maryland Start School Later leaders smiling right behind him. This law (Chapter 620/MD HB 883) requires the state’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to bring together a group of stakeholders - including a representative of Start School Later, a sleep expert, pediatrician, mental health professional, school leaders, athletic and transportation directors, parents, and students - to study and recommend ways to ensure safe and healthy public school hours.
Findings of the study are to be reported no later than December 31, 2014. Hats off to our Maryland Start School Later members for the role they played in shaping this historic legislation, which marks an important milestone towards similar efforts across the nation.
Heather Macintosh, Ann Gallagher, Danielle Brooks, Maribel Ibrahim and Terra Ziporyn Snider (L-R) stand in support of HB 883 as it becomes law. Credit: Jay Baker, Official Photo of Executive Office of the Governor
New! Student-Led Chapters
Many students have approached us about starting Start School Later chapters at their schools. We're happy to announce that we are now able to support these student-led chapters, who can collaborate via our Student Advocacy Facebook group
to share strategies to raise awareness and spearhead change within their schools. Student-led chapters also work with state and regional Start School Later chapters in their vicinity. Our first student-led chapter is Greenhill School (K-12) in Addison, Texas.
If you are interested in starting a local chapter or a student chapter, contact us
Meeting with US Dept of Education
and More National Efforts
Start School Later has many exciting national initiatives planned over the coming year, starting with another in-person meeting with US Department of Education officials in June. Other upcoming efforts include developing new sleep awareness materials and working to get key opinion leaders to speak out for safe, healthy school hours. Meanwhile, we're continuing to support local leaders as they work to engage health officials and school administrators, place articles in local media outlets, petition school administrators, and serve on school start time study committees.
League of Women Voters Taking a Stand
The Tarrant County (TX) League of Women Voters recently voted to survey the adolescent sleep research in order to issue a position paper on school start times. Debbie Moore, Director of the Arlington, TX Chapter
of Start School Later will be providing research to the league. Having local organizations like these make official statements on the issue of school start times is important because it can spur other chapters and states to get involved. In fact, in 2003 the Connecticut League of Women Voters was instrumental in moving Wilton CT's school start times later.
Fueling the Momentum
Even as the school year winds down, Start School Later will continue to work throughout the summer and beyond. With our success come even greater needs to broaden the scope of our outreach, provide more streamlined access to our information, support our local chapters, and develop toolkits for advocates and leaders to educate others on the negative impact of early school start times. Your tax deductible donation allows us to continue to provide information and guidance to the many inquiries we receive each week.
You can support our work through a donation
, a purchase through Amazon Smiles
, or by buying Start School Later merchandise (bumper stickers, mugs, etc.) from our CafePress store
. Meanwhile, we remain grateful for all your support in our efforts to ensure healthy, safe, and equitable school hours..