Seattle Sleep Community Urges School Board to Vote Yes

The Seattle sleep community encourages the School Board to vote “yes” on the revised Bell Times and Transportation proposal at their Nov 4th meeting.  Here is the text of the letter that will be delivered during the public testimony.

Seattle School District Attention: Board of Directors MS 11-010 PO Box 34165 Seattle, WA 98124-1165

November 2, 2015

Dear SPS Board of Directors,

As local sleep specialists, we support the revised Bell Times proposal, and urge you to vote “yes” on November 4th, for implementation in fall 2016.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that secondary schools start at 8:30am or later.  This recommendation is based upon conclusive research that with puberty the circadian rhythm shifts later, making it virtually impossible for teens to get the recommended 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep nightly before getting up for early school hours.  Later school bell times have been shown to increase the total weekly sleep in teens, and thereby improve learning, performance, health and safety.

The current proposal is a profound improvement over current Seattle school hours, with 100% of high schools and 90% of middle schools starting at a healthy bell time.  It also decreases significantly the number of schools in tier 3, a time that is inconveniently late for many families.  Although you may hear from a few families who struggle with the time their child attends school, this is an important public health advance that supports the health and learning of the vast majority of secondary school students.  We thank you for the diligent efforts on the part of yourselves and the district staff to engage the community in finding this solution.

Thank you for your work to align school schedules with optimal learning times thereby improving Seattle students’ academic success, health and safety.

Best,

Sleep Specialists in the Seattle area

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