Welcome to Start School Later New Fairfield, CT!
Start School Later New Fairfield was recently founded by Samantha Kennedy, a mother of 2 (8th and 6th grades), and Pete Pomeroy, a father of 3 (8th, 5th, and 3rd grades). Conversations over the past year motivated them to bring this issue to the New Fairfield Board of Education, and to the community.
Research has clearly shown that our adolescents aren’t getting enough sleep. Teens need 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night. Most HS kids get closer to 7 hours per night by senior year.
The American Medical Association (AMA) says “Sleep deprivation is a growing public health issue affecting our nation's adolescents, putting them at risk for mental, physical and emotional distress and disorders, scientific evidence strongly suggests that allowing adolescents more time for sleep at the appropriate hours results in improvements in health, academic performance, behavior, and general well-being”.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says “The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life”.
Why aren’t teens getting enough sleep? There is no one reason, but there is a growing body of research indicating our bodies undergo a natural shift in sleep cycles during adolescence. Teenagers’ bodies are naturally inclined to fall asleep later, closer to 11:00pm, even when you remove texting, homework, TV, extracurricular activities, etc. from the equation.
For all of these reasons the AMA, the AAP, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and other organizations recommend that High Schools start no earlier than 8:30 am.
The New Fairfield HS day begins at 7:19 am. The New Fairfield Middle School day begins at 7:50.
We’re not alone – most high schools start before 8:30. Many are changing and seeing positive outcomes. Wilton, CT changed in 2003. Newtown and Greenwich just shifted their HS start times for the 2017/2018 school year. Ridgefield has been evaluating the change for over a year. The Brookfield BoE is just starting to evaluate now.
Evaluating the impact and potential costs of implementing later school start times takes time and effort. But there is clear and compelling evidence indicating a change to start times will have significant positive effects on our children’s physical health and safety, mental health, academic performance, and long-term success.
If you’d like to find out more and/or help move this evaluation forward please join our local chapter on www.startschoollater.net and join us on Facebook at “Start School Later New Fairfield CT”.