Schools in at least 20 states to delay bell times this year
School districts in at least 20 states will be ringing the first bell later this year according to the national non-profit organization Start School Later. These districts include nine in Pennsylvania and seven in Massachusetts.
“School communities are increasingly finding creative, affordable, and livable ways to run schools at sleep-friendly hours," says Start School Later's Executive Director Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD. “With so many health and educational professionals calling for schedules that give students a chance for healthier sleep, it’s no surprise we’re seeing more and more schools make these changes every year."
Among the many organizations calling for later start times are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three groups specifically recommend that middle and high schools start class no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Not every district delaying bell times this year meets this goal, notes Snider, but all are moving to schedules that are healthier and safer for many more students.
Districts announcing plans to start school later for the 2018/2019 school year include, by state:
California: Fremont Union High School District, Vacaville
Colorado: Brighton, Littleton, Thompson School District
Florida: Hillsborough County, Pinellas County
Georgia: Cartersville City
Illinois: District 128 (Libertyville and Vernon Hills),
Indiana: South Bend
Iowa: Clinton Community School District, Des Moines
Massachusetts: Acton/Boxborough, Burlington, Melrose, Stoneham, Watertown, Winchester, Weston Michigan: Berkley School District
Minnesota: Edina Middle Schools, Mounds View
New Jersey: Burlington City, Princeton
New Mexico: Los Alamos (pilot program)
New York: Nanuet Union Free School District
Ohio: Bexley Schools, Forest Hills School District, Kings Mills, Three Rivers
Pennsylvania: Burrell, Erie, Mechanicsburg, Peters
Township, Seneca Valley, State College, Three
Rivers, Washington Public Schools (trial), Woodland Hills
Texas: Goose Creek ISD, Houston ISD
Virginia: Chesterfield County
Washington: Camas, Highline
While there is no official tracking of U.S. school start times each year, Start School Later regularly watches progress toward healthier school-day start times and provides support to communities making these changes. To learn more about the research and success stories, visit Start School Later’s website at www.startschoollater.net .
National Contact: Stacy Simera, Communications Director