Welcome to Start School Later Ridgefield, CT!
Dr. Wendy Troxel discusses teen sleep deprivation and start times.
Our favorite best practices and research - ideas for moving Ridgefield forward: Evidence-based best practices
Healthy Sleep - Why School Start Times Matter
Athletes and Sleep - What do researchers and coaches say?
Ridgefield's Project Resilience program hosted a program in Feb: The A to Zzzz's of Managing Sleep with Kids and Teens
Spreadsheet of local and national articles and research (thanks to Start Masco Later for starting!): Sources-reference list
Minnesota Sleep Society Start Time Toolkit
Open Minds Find Solutions - Hamlet Hub
Follow us on Twitter: @SSLRidgefieldCT and Facebook for latest research.
Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that biological sleep cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty, making it more difficult for adolescents to get to sleep early in the evening and wake-up early in the morning as they grow older.
Despite this knowledge, as students in Ridgefield Public Schools move through the system, they start school earlier and earlier. Too-early school start times, resulting in sleep deprivation among students, are a national public health concern with serious consequences that impact children and their families. Sleep deprivation has been found to be detrimental to both health, growth and learning, and is considered to be one of the leading causes of learning difficulties, teen depression, car accidents, and risky behaviors.
Changing school start times is a complicated issue for Ridgefield; it has been discussed for many years. However, concerns about its effect on sports schedules, childcare, extra-curricular activities, student employment, and bus schedules are imprudent. Schools and districts, similar to Ridgefield that have successfully delayed start times have reported positive impacts on the emotional health, stress levels, and academic performance of students. Our community should not fear this change but embrace adjusting the schedule for the betterment of ALL our students.
Again, the question is not should Ridgefield middle and high schools’ start times begin at healthier hours, but rather how can we make this happen. It is not acceptable to allow bus schedules and adult convenience to dictate school start times. It is not acceptable to make budget decisions on the backs of our adolescents.
The Ridgefield Board of Education voted in Oct 2017 to implement healthy start times across the district for the academic year 2019-20. On December 10, 2018, the BOE voted to rescind their motion from Oct 2017 and not change bell times to improve the district's alignment to the research on student sleep and health.
Currently, RHS begins the day at 7:20am with some students scheduled to be picked up by bus as early as 6:19am. Moreover, many teachers' schedule their office hours as early as 6:50am.
ERMS/SRMS start at 8:00am with some students scheduled to be picked by the bus up as early as 7:10am.
Communities around the nation are coming up with innovative ways to implement later school start times. Wilton made the change successfully ten years ago. Greenwich changed their times in 2017. Westport, Norwalk, and Newtown have adjusted their schedules. New Canaan and Brookfield are planning changes in 2022. Ridgefield can do this too! Let's prioritize our kids health and use our energy to find solutions that work for the majority of our kids. Please contact us to see how you can help.