What is the best time for students to start school?
The Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Directors and Administration have set a district goal to study school start times. While no decisions have been made to alter school start times, there is compelling information that has led the Board and Administration to take the next step of engaging with stakeholders in the community to evaluate both the science and the options.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Unionville students initiated the Chester County Student Forum Delayed Start Time Project. Under the leadership of the Chester County Intermediate Unit, students from across chester county came together to research school start times. Citing convincing research and recommendations from the American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The Centers for Disease Control among others, the students recommended later start times for high school and middle school students across chester county.
Schools around the country have had later start times for middle and high schoolers for many years. Studies of outcomes from some of these schools are available online for review.
In our state, legislation has been introduced to direct the state Department of Education to study the relationship between teen sleep and school start times. Last year, Governor Christie of NJ signed a bill ordering state education officials to determine the feasibility of later starts for secondary students.
This website will provide the UCFSD community with information about this important study and provide opportunities for input and feedback.
Evaluation Process Overview:
The first two steps in the process (form a commitee and hold a sleep science presentation) are now complete. The advisory committee has begun its work and their report and recommendations are due laster this school . The advisory committee work is open to public review via the advisory committee website. The advisory committee website can be accessed by clicking here.
- Form a committee of diverse stakeholders to review options, benefits, obstacles, and costs leading to a report with recommendations to the Administration and School Board:
The District has organized a committee of relevant stakeholders including parents from elementary to high school, teachers, support staff, students and administrators to assist in conducting a thorough evaluation of school start times. The committee will participate in multiple meetings this fall and winter.
The advisory committee website can be accessed by clicking here.
- Hold a public presentation on the Science behind later school start times:
A public meeting was held on November 7th, 7:00PM - 8:30PM in the Middle School Auditorium. Dr. Judith Owens, MD, MPH made a presentation on the science behind this national movement. Click here to watch the presentation.
- Provide an opportunity to gather community thoughts and concerns:
This process in ongoing. Surveys and focus groups will be conducted as part of the process. All community members are encouraged to share thoughts and concerns by filling out our community input survey.
- Present recommendations to the Board of School Directors:
The Administration has set an ambitious goal to complete the work of the committee and develop a recommendation by late winter.