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Start Barrington High School Later to Support Student Health and Performance

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Start Barrington High School Later was created by a group of district parents and students who feel that the District 220 Board of Education should take action to enact later start times at the High School beginning with the 2017/2018 school year. The research that has been provided to the BOE throughout the past year clearly demonstrates the overwhelming benefits that would positively impact our children by having a later start time. We encourage you to read the letter below and to sign it, and support us in sharing this view with the Board. We need your voices to make sure the Board is aware that there is a large group of stakeholders in the community who support this change. Thank you for your support. (Please note - you can ignore the randomly generated 'Donate' pop up if it shows up after you sign. Your name will still register)

May 5, 2016

Dear Board of Education Members and Administrators of Barrington 220 -

We, the undersigned parents, students, and community members, feel that it is vital that the Board of Education and the District 220 Administration take action to vote to approve a later start time at the High School. The research is clear, as is our own anecdotal evidence: teens' natural biological rhythms require them to fall asleep later and wake up later than our school schedules permit. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control strongly urge that adolescents not begin school before 8:30 a.m. We support the Board and The Administration in finding creative solutions that allow our high school students to begin their day at or around the optimal time for learning. Districts that have made this change have shown significant benefits in increased grades and standardized test scores; reduced absenteeism and tardiness; improved sports team performance; reduced car crashes involving teens; and reduced substance abuse and depression among students.

We believe that the physical and mental health of children should take precedence over the barriers discussed in the Board of Education's meetings to date. It appears that an approximate start time of 8:30 and an end time of no later than 3:30pm is achievable to accommodate after school activities, sports, jobs, and other commitments. Given the studies on sleep deprivation, many of us feel instructional time should be measured by quality instead of quantity; ultimately, the undersigned concur with the Board that 47 minutes of class time, down from the current 49 minutes, could lead to a workable solution. As to the potential additional costs associated with bus transportation for the various scenarios discussed, there were some alternative scenarios that had increased costs of $850K or less per year. As you have done with other important district projects, we hope that you might discuss allocating resources within the district budget to solve this issue. Alternatively, or in addition, many, if not all, of the undersigned taxpayers would be supportive of a separate bus fee to cover this cost (understanding that free and reduced lunch students may have a different fee structure, if any).

Finally, we thank each of you for the energy, commitment and personal time you have given to our schools. Your job is an often thankless one, and we appreciate the quality with which the Board and the Administration operates and the benefit the community receives from your service. We support you to make this change and to stand firmly on the side of physical and mental health for the children of Barrington 220.

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