As hopefully many of you may be aware, over the past 18 months there has been heightened awareness within our community and surrounding school districts of the effect sleep, or rather lack there of, has on our teenagers. It began with a forum on Sleep and the Adolescent Brain in February 2016 that featured Dr Judith Owens, Director of Sleep Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dr Katherine Dahlsgaard, Lead Psychologist at the Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at CHOP. Both their presentations gave irrefutable evidence of the role sleep plays in the academic, social, emotional and behavioral well being of young people as they strive to meet expectations and realize their goals.
Since then, a lot of work has been going on to try to convince the powers that be of the urgent need to review school start times/look at healthy hours. Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is on the verge of delaying start time for its high school and middle school students by 25 minutes to 8am. There will be a vote in April 2017 that will result in this change being implemented for the 2017/18 school year. Also before the House in Harrisburg is House Bill 762, legislation being brought by Representative Tim Briggs, which seeks to require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct a study of issues, benefits and options related to instituting a later start time to the school day for secondary schools.
What does this have to do with me? Well, if you are at all concerned about the amount of sleep your teenager is getting and the impact this is having on them, please contact the school board (by email or in person at a meeting) and encourage them to study the issue in TESD. Second, please contact your Representative (Easttown Duane Milne 717-787-8579 Harrisburg or 610-251-1070 Malvern Tredyffrin Warren Kampf 717-260-6166 Harrisburg or 610-251-2876 Paoli) and ask them to co-sponsor the above Bill. Third, to become part of a group of fellow concerned TE parents, contact Sarah Culbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Vadner (email@example.com). We need your help to move this issue higher up the agenda.