By Elinore Boeke
Using an extensive body of multidisciplinary research, the Summit established once and for all that most US schools should—and can—start later in the morning. It also identified ways future research questions might help turn this research into school policy — including ways to build community support for and awareness of healthy sleep while reducing disparities.
PLEASE WIDELY SHARE THIS TERRIFIC SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTING HEALTHY SCHOOL START TIMES!
We’ve created the shareable graphics you see in this blog with quotes from the paper for your use. (If we missed a useful quote, or if you need a different size, please reach out to Elinore Boeke, SSL communication director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The impetus for the Summit was California’s SB328. Passed and signed into law in 2019, this is the first U.S. statewide legislation ("healthy school start time" law) explicitly designed to protect adolescent sleep health by requiring most California public school districts to start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools. The bill was co-sponsored by Start School Later and the California State PTA.
California schools must implement the new law in place by July 1, 2022, or by the expiration date of any district or charter school’s bargaining agreement in effect on Jan. 1, 2020
Recognizing the unique opportunity presented by the the groundbreaking new law’s three-year implementation period, Start School Later brought together participants from a wide-range of academic backgrounds who organized a virtual summit to review current knowledge on adolescent sleep health and school start times and provide key research recommendations.
The summit’s conclusions support the National Sleep Foundation’s new position statement recommending that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and calling on the federal government to provide and fund evidence-based resources and monitoring to help school communities delay bell times and reduce sleep health disparities associated with school start times.
We encourage you to share this paper with school leadership, elected officials, community leaders, and others with an interest in improving student outcomes.