100 signatures reached
To: HTPS Superintendent and Board of Education
Healthy School Hours for HTPS
As parents, students, and residents of Hillsborough, we urge you to adopt healthy school hours, starting school at 8:30 AM or later in both middle and high school. Extensive research has found that later start times improve health and academic success among teenagers.
The scientific evidence clearly shows the benefits that our students would get from healthy school hours, including:
• higher test scores
• lower risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide
• fewer athletic injuries
• reduced substance use and risk-taking
• lower rate of car accidents
You have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on student health and academics in HTPS. Every year that we maintain the unhealthy status quo of early start times, our students suffer. We owe it to our students to act now.
For more information, visit https://www.startschoollater.net/why-change.html
Why is this important?
84% of high school students in NJ don't get enough sleep on school nights (minimum of 8 hours). When kids go through puberty, their biological clock shifts later. Teenagers’ bodies are in “sleep mode” from about 11 PM to 8 AM, which does not match with early school start times. This fixed sleep/wake pattern is about biology, and goes beyond healthy habits like avoiding screens before bed. By starting school before 8:30 AM, we are preventing teens from getting the 8-10 hours of sleep they need to be healthy, happy, and successful.
Research shows that in school districts that delay start times to 8:30 or later, students really do get more sleep. Their sleep time increases by about the same amount that the start time shifts later, and they reap all of the expected benefits. Although there are challenges with changing school start times, we can overcome them to do the right thing when we prioritize student wellness and success.
There is growing momentum for healthy school hours across the state and the country. Rather than waiting for a New Jersey law that mandates healthy school hours, let Hillsborough be a leader in promoting student well-being and academics in a way that works for our town.
Healthy school hours are supported by:
• American Medical Association
• American Academy of Pediatrics
• National Parent Teacher Association
• National Education Association
• U.S. Surgeon General