Thank you to the Collierville School Board & COmmittee!

Start school later

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.

Myths and Misconceptions

Get the facts! Learn more about the myths and misconceptions HERE.

Local media coverage

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:

Fast Facts

A large majority of American high school students did not meet the CDC’s recommendation for 9-10 hou

Public Health: Center for Disease Control

Our position: 

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.


  • The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2017 showed that 75.4% of U.S. high school students get fewer than 8 hours of sleep on school nights, and 43% get 6 or fewer hours. This is an increase from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 surveys.
  • A large majority of American high school students did not meet the CDC’s recommendation for 9-10 hours of sleep per night according to a study of four nationally representative successive samples of American high school students from 2007-2013.

National Sleep Foundation


  • A National Sleep Foundation poll found 59 percent of 6th through 8th graders and 87 percent of U.S. high school students were getting less than recommended hours of sleep on school nights.
  • Most middle and high school students need about 9 hours of sleep per night. 
  • Girls are less likely to report getting > 7 hours of sleep per night than boys, as are racial/ethnic minorities, urban students, and those of low socioeconomic status (SES). However, minority or low SES teens and families are also more likely to believe they are getting adequate sleep. (Pediatrics, Feb. 16, 2015)
  • Shifts in the sleep-wake cycle at puberty mean that most adolescents get their best sleep between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

American Academy of Pediatrics


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Medical Association all recommend that middle and high schools start class no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to allow students to get healthy sleep
  • More than 4 in 5 (82.3%) of U.S. middle, high, and combined public schools require students to attend class at times earlier than recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Medical Association. (Wheaton, CDC, August 7, 2015)
  • Over 10% of U.S. high schools start the school day before 7:30 a.m., 42.5% before 8 a.m., and only 14.4% at 8:30 a.m. or later. (NCES, 2015-16)
  • The average public high school in the U.S. starts at 7:59 a.m. (NCES, 2015-16 and NCES. 2011-12)
  • Average high school start times in U.S. public schools got progressively earlier from 1986-2002: 7:56 am in the 1986-1987 school year, 7:56 a.m. in 1991-1992, 7:55 a.m. in 1996-1997, and 7:54 a.m. in 2001-2002. ( Wolfson & Carskadon, 2005 )
  • In the 1950 and 1960s, most In the 1950′s and 1960′s, most schools started between 8:30-9:00 (National Center for Health Research)
  • Among an estimated 39,700 U.S. public middle, high, and combined schools, the average start time is 8:03 a.m. (CDC Report 2015, based on 2011-12 data). 
  • Over 20% of U.S. middle schools start the school day at 7:45 a.m. or earlier. (American Academy of Pediatrics).
  • 20-30% of high school students and 6% of middle school students fall asleep in school each day.
  • More than half of licensed teens (56%) admit to having driven when feeling too tired to drive their best, and nearly one in 10 teens report that they have completely fallen asleep at the wheel.  (SADD and Liberty Mutual Study, 2016)
  • Insufficient sleep in teens is associated with obesity, migraines, and immune system disruption and with health risk behaviors including smoking, drinking, stimulant abuse, physical fighting, physical inactivity, depression, and suicidal tendencies
  • Sleep-deprived teens participate in more violent and property crime than other teens.
  • An estimated 27% of all drowsy-driving-related car crashes involve 16-19 year old drivers. (AAA Foundation, 2018).
  • When schools have delayed the start of the school day, communities have seen reduced tardiness, sleeping in class, and car crash rates, as well as improved attendance, graduation rates, and standardized test scores
  • A major, multi-state study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked later high school start times to significant decreases in teen substance abuse, depression, and consumption of caffeinated drinks.
  • When Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming shifted its start time to 8:55 a.m., the number of car crashes involving teenage drivers dropped by 70%
  • Switching middle school start times by 30 minutes or more to after 8 a.m. in Wake County, NC was associated with increased math and reading test scores, with disadvantaged students benefiting most
  • A study at the US Air Force Academy showed first-year students starting classes after 8 a.m. performed better not only in their first classes but throughout the day
  • A report published by The Brookings Institution associated a significant increase in test scores with later middle and high school start times, with benefits roughly twice as great in disadvantaged students
  • The Brookings report also estimated that later high school start times create a lifetime earnings gain of $17,500 per student with a school system cost of $0.00 to $1,950 per student, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 9:1 or better
  • Bills to study, incentivize, or mandate healthy school start times have been introduced in at least 14 U.S. states--and so far at least 4 of them have passed.