Time to reconsider teens’ school start time

Research and recommendations from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control to start middle schools and high schools at 8:30 a.m. have prompted the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District to reconsider its schedule, which has teens beginning their school day at 7:35 a.m.

Research suggests that teens would function better if they started school later in the morning.

Research suggests that teens would function better if they started school later in the morning.

An advisory committee of community stakeholders was formed to assess the benefits, obstacles and options for later start times, which is expected to lead to a recommendation to the school board later this school year.

In an effort to involve the community in the evaluation process, the district will be hosting a special event in the new Patton Middle School Auditorium, on Monday, Nov. 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The session, entitled “The Science Behind Later Start Times,” will feature Judith Owen, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Ma.

Owens is a nationally renowned pediatric sleep expert whose particular research interests involve the neurobehavioral and health consequences of sleep problems in children and adolescents, sleep health education, and cultural and psychosocial issues impacting sleep.

This past week the American Academy of Pediatrics published a new study and report that Owens co-authored on teen sleep. Titled “Self-Regulation and Sleep Duration, Sleepiness, and Chronotype in Adolescents,” the research, which tracked more than 2,000 students in Fairfax County, Va., supported the value of a later start time.

To help plan for the presentation, district officials are requesting that those interested in attending send an email to communications@ucfsd.net The event will also be live-streamed and archived on the district.

For more information or to learn how to get involved, visit http://www.ucfsd.org/school-start-times/.


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