Statement from the grassroots parent group supporting a later school start time for Collierville High School:
Presented at the Nov. 29th, 2018 School Board Meeting by Dan Osborn, spokesperson & parent leader:
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak at this meeting, and for your time and dedication to studying school start times. The committee worked hard for six months, and we applaud them for the incredible time investment as they looked at all of the critical decision-making points, case studies, and financial matters involved with a change in start times.
We urge the board’s approval of the committee’s recommendation in favor of later school start times. We are pleased there was a unanimous recommendation for changing start times.
A change in start times is worth investing in. Our school system is dedicated to following the recommendations of the CDC. Therefore, voting against a later school start time is going against our own school handbook. Any move in the direction of a healthier student body is worth doing.
There are a number of arguments against change, the social media commentary seems to focus on "my kids turned out fine" and/or "the kids don't want different times." After reading social media comments against change, none seem to based on the science or research that’s been done over the past 30 years. It seems to us that a lot of students turned out fine IN SPITE OF such an early start time. Imagine how they could have excelled even more with extra sleep? When safety guidelines are established by credible organizations, we don’t stop to survey students to ask them, if they want to wear seatbelts or if they prefer texting while driving or not. As parents, we know better than to ask them what they prefer to eat. We provide healthy meals and teach them about learning healthy habits for a lifetime of success.
When making this decision, consider the fact that you’re not just making a decision for a 30-minute change, you are making a 45-minute change for increased sleep. We especially applaud the committee for coming up with that point. Pledging a 6:45 pickup is an incredible step! There’s a big difference between a 6 am bus and a 6:45 am bus. Also, for kids to wait for school buses in the daylight, it’s a tremendous psychological benefit and a huge safety benefit. Kids won’t be walking to a bus stop in the dark where they are at a much greater risk for being injured or potentially killed by careless drivers.
More daily sleep adds up considerably and will greatly benefit their ability to stay awake in class, it is shown to reduce anxiety and depression, and help keep kids more engaged and attentive in school. Kids who score better on tests and have a higher GPA will also be less likely to drop out.
In regards to the numerous surveys that were sent out, one point stands out to us. It’s alarming. Of the 1,957 students who took the survey ... there are 645 of them who fall asleep occasionally at school, 371 fall asleep FREQUENTLY at school, and 215 who fall asleep DAILY at school. Imagine 1,231 students all in one giant auditorium at CHS. That is 63% of students who report falling asleep. There’s a reason only 4% of schools in our country have a 7 am start time. It’s hard to teach kids when ⅔ of them fall asleep at school.
Research shows more sleep results in higher GPAs, higher test scores, lowered absenteeism, lowered tardiness, and fewer behavioral problems. If a change in start time saves just 1 teen from dropping out, or 10 teens (or more), what is that cost savings to the district? There’s a dollar value to everything. Ultimately though, the emotional values need to be weighed as the most important factor. What is the value of 2550 kids being more rested and positive to their friends, teachers, and parents...and to themselves? What’s the value of just one student’s well being who’s feeling the pressure of today’s student experience and overwhelmed? If just one student is saved from the edge of despair, this can be an incredible thing you’re doing. Small things add up. Sleep adds up. There are some BIG emotions and too many teens who make permanent decisions when they’re on the edge emotionally. What if just one suicide is prevented?
We urge you to make the kind of leadership decision tonight that will improve the academic and psychological well being of our entire student body.
Thank you for taking the time to consider everything in this decision!
Update: The Collierville School Board voted 3-2 in favor of changing to a later school start time beginning August 2019 for next school year. Current CHS start time: 7 am (new time 7:30 am). Current MS start time: 8 am (new time 8:15 ). No change for 9 am ES. Important: No students will be picked up earlier than 6:45 (Currently, some bus stops start at 6:00 am.) There will be 7 buses added with an estimated cost of $463,000.
Our committee notes that there should be some positive impact on cost savings to help reduce the $463K cost through lowered absenteeism, and fewer transfers to neighboring Houston High School (which has a 7:45 start time). There are a number of students attending HHS for the later start time.
We are thankful for the board's decision to improve the health and safety of our teens!
To find informative articles and research, please use this site HERE for reference.
Get the facts! Learn more about the myths and misconceptions HERE.
As featured on Local 24 news 9/26/18!
Memphis Commercial Appeal Article - Part 1
Collierville psychologist: Teens benefit from later school start time
Katie Fretland, Memphis Commercial Appeal Published 7:00 a.m. CT Sept. 28, 2018 | Updated 9:49 a.m. CT Sept. 28, 2018
Memphis Commercial Appeal Articles: Parts 2 and 3
Collierville committee recommends 7:30 a.m. start time for high school:
Divided Collierville board moves to start school later
Katie Fretland, Memphis Commercial Appeal Published 6:13 p.m. CT Nov. 29, 2018 | Updated 5:47 p.m. CT Nov. 30, 2018:
Following the medical organization recommendations and the respected expert opinions of psychologists, sleep study organizations and the CDC is in alignment with our own school policies.
From our Collierville Schools student handbook:
“This policy applies to Collierville Schools’ commitment to providing a school environment that enhances learning and the development of lifelong wellness practices.” ~ STUDENT WELLNESS (Policy #6.411)
1. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) Coordinated School Health approach is implemented to managing new and existing wellness-related programs and services at all schools. Such programs shall be implemented in accordance with State Law and State Board of Education Coordinated School Health (CSH) Standards and Guidelines.