Welcome to Start School Later
Northern Westchester County, NY!
SSL Northern Westchester County is one of ten chapters in New York state. We are advocating for local districts to respond to the overwhelming research that shows later school start times enhance our children's academic and physical performance, emotional well-being, and overall health.
Why are we doing this? Insufficient adolescent sleep is a public health crisis. Middle and high schoolers are exhausted. They have countless activities to fit into their schedules, in addition to core academic work. The American Academy of Pediatrics, National Sleep Foundation, and American Medical Association have all stated that most school schedules are out-of-sync with the sleep needs of middle and high schoolers. Early school start times prevent students from getting the 9 hours of recommended sleep they need to function well. As children become adolescents, their internal body clocks shift naturally, resulting in later bedtimes. But, since many students have to catch buses before 7am, they are robbed of crucial rest, thus creating a huge sleep debt each week. The myth that teens can just ‘go to bed earlier’ is prevalent in communities. The physiological shift in their bodies makes that nearly impossible. This is why, despite frustrating parental attempts to ensure an early bedtime routine, kids in this age group cannot simply fall asleep at 9 or 10pm. Insufficient sleep can lead to negative effects such as mental health problems, substance abuse, obesity, and drowsy driving accidents just to name a few. It is imperative that we take this data seriously and begin to align start times with the changes that occur in children during adolescence.
If you are interested in working with us to promote later, healthier start times in Northern Westchester County, NY, please fill out our contact form on this page. Together, we can bring this conversation to our local districts, communities, and administrators.
So why do school districts approve of early start times when they know well enough this is harming our students. The answer I received from teachers and board members was “SPORTS!” The sports teams need to be released for practice and game participation. Although, I have my doubts that this is the only reason, it is an altogether unacceptable one! When did we in society give more importance to sports over academics? Children should be in school to learn first, play later.
- Dr. Toni Lyn Salvatore, excerpt from Letter to the Editor, Journal News