February 21, 2019
Radnor Township School District and the Sleep and School Start Time Committee hosted renowned pediatric sleep expert, Dr. Judith Owens from Boston’s Children Hospital and Harvard University, on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Radnor High School auditorium (pictured). More than 100 community members from Radnor and the surrounding area attended Dr. Owen’s presentation, which focused on the "science of sleep" as well as how districts from areas around the United States have addressed changes to school start times. Following the presentation, audience members had the opportunity to submit their own questions for Dr. Owens. The committee will reconvene during the month of February and continue conversations regarding the various schol start time options, including those recommended in the final study expected from Transfinder, the third-party bus routing company the district retained to examine its transportation routes for efficiencies.
February 1, 2019
Led by Mr. Bechtold and Dr. Rybarczyk, members of the Sleep and School Start Time Committee reconvened on Wednesday, January 23 to discuss and receive updates on various topics. The meeting began with a presentation by RTSD director of communications Mr. Michael Petitti on the district’s communications efforts to date regarding sharing information with parents and the community about the district’s study of sleep and school start time.
Following this presentation, the committee reviewed the status of the study being conducted by Transfinder, the third-party transportation routing company the district retained to examine district bus runs for efficiencies. The committee also learned about discussions the district has been having with Family Support Services (FSS), the district’s current before/aftercare provider, to determine services based on different start times.
The committee also reviewed the current feedback from stakeholders, including emails received via email@example.com, and discussed the upcoming presentation by Dr. Judith Owens scheduled for February 7 at Radnor High School. Dr. Owens will provide valuable information for parents/guardians of all students in grades K-12.
The district is scheduled to receive the report from Transfinder in February and the committee will be reconvened at that time. The district will evaluate and analyze the information presented as to whether it supports the school start time scenarios being explored. In addition, district administration will provide an update at the School Board’s Curriculum Committee meeting in February.
January 10, 2019
Approximately 80-100 parents and community members attended a second feedback session on sleep and school start times in RTSD on Jan. 7. Members of the RTSD Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee -- RHS Athletic Director Mike Friel, RTSD Director of Transportation John Hearn, RHS student Annabel Zhao, and parents Dr. Jackie Kloss, Michele Leonard, and Sarah Fox helped facilitate the discussion. Significant feedback and questions were collected from attendees and is being processed to provide additional information and answers where possible. The RTSD Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee will meet on January 23 to debrief.
December 21, 2018
Since November 13, 2018, when the Radnor Township School District Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee offered the RTSD School Board its initial recommendation of an 8:30 a.m. start time at Radnor High School (from the current start time of 7:35 a.m.) and a 9:15 a.m. start time at RTSD elementary schools (from the current start time of 9 a.m.), focus group sessions have been held with various stakeholder groups to gather feedback on the initial recommendation and related topics (see Dec. 7, 2018 update below).
The committee values the information provided to date by the Radnor community and has discussed and considered the input received. Below are highlights of additional steps taken based on this feedback since the initial recommendation was offered. For updated answers to frequently asked questions raised at the various feedback sessions, visit https://www.rtsd.org/Page/22398.
Contracted with Bus Routing Company TransFinder
TransFinder is the routing company the RTSD Transportation Department uses to manage bus runs. The district has entered into an agreement with TransFinder to help identify efficiencies in bus runs and explore the logistics of how a later start at Radnor High School might work. The report from TransFinder is slated to be completed by mid-February 2019 and will provide valuable information to allow for the maximization of resources in terms of district buses and bus drivers.
Re-Opened the Possibility of Starting Elementary Schools First
Feedback from elementary school teachers and parents of elementary-aged students requested the committee reconsider an option that would have RTSD elementary schools start first as opposed to last at 9:15 a.m. Popular rationale was that many times, elementary-aged students are more awake and alert earlier in the morning but tend to fade in the afternoon. The committee is currently working on developing an option that would have elementary schools start first, followed by Radnor High School and Radnor Middle School.
Working to Solidify Before- and After-School Care Options
RTSD administration has met with Family Support Services (FSS), the third-party before- and after-school care provider used by many RTSD elementary families, to discuss expanding their services and to determine various costs in the case of adjusted start times. Administration has also looked at how before-and after-school clubs could be structured to provide opportunities for students to be engaged in meaningful and interesting activities outside of the school day.
Re-Examined the Radnor High School Schedule
Based on student and teacher feedback at Radnor High School, an option to move Community Period back to its currently scheduled spot in the school day (after 1st and 2nd periods on Wednesdays and Thursdays) has been created. The initial recommendation proposed Community Period be moved to the end of the school day to mitigate lost instructional time caused by early dismissals for athletic events. Radnor High School administration is now exploring scheduling athletes into “Fitness for Athletes” Physical Education classes that would meet during 8th period to account for early dismissals.
Contacting Various Radnor Township Groups
District administration is working to establish contacts with various stakeholder groups in Radnor Township, such as the Wayne Business Association, Penn Medicine, and administrative departments within the township itself. The goal is to educate these group about the initial recommendation, solicit feedback, and explore how these groups might be able to help.
Again, the above information highlights just some of the activities accomplished since the initial recommendation. Ongoing suggestions and feedback from parents, students and community members is encouraged. The next formal feedback session will take place Monday, January 7, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the Radnor High School Auditorium. Questions and comments are also welcome anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please be sure to mark your calendars for an evening with nationally renowned pediatric sleep expert Dr. Judith Owens on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the Radnor High School Auditorium.
December 12, 2018
The Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time committee met on December 12 to reflect on the thoughts shared by staff, students and community members at the past month's feedback meetings. The input has and will continue to guide the committee in understanding the unanswered questions and identifying additional resources that will help in educating the community about this topic.
The second half of the meeting was used to further discuss the first of the two planned community feedback sessions, which took place on Dec. 3. Since the session was lightly attended, the group pinpointed various stakeholder groups to be invited to the second community feedback session on January 7, 2019. Distrct administrators in attendance shared that they will continue to work with the district's Communications Office to develop strategies to ideally reach the various stakeholders.
December 7, 2018
Since the Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee offered its initial report and recommendation to the School Board on Nov. 13, several feedback sessions with parents, students, staff members, and community members have taken place. The committee itself has also reconvened.
- November 27: Feedback Session with Radnor Elementary School staff
- November 28: Feedback Session with Radnor High School students
- November 28: Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committe Meeting (see corresponding progress update)
- December 3: Evening Meeting for Community Feedback
- December 4: Feedback Session with Radnor High School staff
- December 5: Feedback Session with Wayne Elementary School staff
- December 7: Feedback Session with Radnor Middle School staff
- December 7: Feedback Session with Ithan Elementary School staff
We are currently compiling and reviewing all the feedback received. A meeting of the Adolesecent Sleep and School Start Time Committee is scheduled for Dec. 15 to synthesize this feedback. Based on additional and refined information to date, revised versions of the initial Nov. 13 report were published on Nov. 15 and Dec. 6. All versions can be accessed here. A updated timeline can be found here.
November 28, 2018
On November 28, the Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee reconvened for the first time since the initial recommendation was made to the School Board at the November 13, 2018 Curriculum Committee Meeting of the Whole School Board. During this meeting, the committee was provided updates regarding its efforts to contract with the bus routing company, TransFinder. This company will be able to further explore the most efficient bus routes and school bell schedules to help guide the committee in revising the recommendation to best serve all RTSD students.
Furthermore, the committee reviewed the comments taken from the feedback sessions that were held with Radnor High School students and staff members from one of the elementary schools. The remaining staff feedback sessions will take place prior to the committee's next meeting on December 12, 2018.
November 13, 2018
After more than a year of studying the scientific research on adolescent sleep and school start times, the Radnor Township School District Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee presented progress on its findings and its initial recommendation to the full School Board at a special Curriculum Committee meeting on November 13. (View video)
The Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee presented the below initial recommendations at the Nov. 13 meeting. The complete report from the committee, which is subject to updates as logisitics are further examined, can be found here. No recommendations offered by the RTSD Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee will be implemented without School Board approval.
- An initial recommendation to change the start time at Radnor High School from 7:35 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (a 55-minute delay). Under this recommendation, the end of the school day would change from 2:27 p.m. to 3:04 p.m.
- An initial recommendation to change the start time at Ithan, Radnor and Wayne elementary schools from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. (a 15-minute delay). Under this recommendation, the end of the school day would change from 3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
- An initial recommendation of no change to the schedule at Radnor Middle School, but the development and implementation of a new afternoon bus transportation model for RHS and RMS students
Initial planning of the new afternoon bus transportation model has begun, but many logisitics still need to be studied in greater detail, including possible additional costs as well as the impact of transportation changes on the more than *3,500 900+ (revised 1/28/19) private school students who rely on the district's bus fleet each day. *Please note the 3,500 number of private school students reflected is the number attendibng private schools within Radnor's attendance area. Radnor Township School District actually transports approximately 900+ students within and/or 10 miles beyond RTSD attendance borders.
The School Board will review the intial recommendation over the next several months. Students, parents, staff members and community members are invited to share their feedback at email@example.com as well as during an evening community meeting currently scheduled for Mon., Dec. 3. More details regarding this meeting will be available shortly.
- An initial recommendation to change the start time at Radnor High School from 7:35 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (a 55-minute delay). Under this recommendation, the end of the school day would change from 2:27 p.m. to 3:04 p.m.
October 10, 2018
The Committee met on October 10 to provide initial feedback on the draft initial recommedation. There was still more work to be done to the recommendation and the committee assisted in the develop of the layout and identified the information to be included. The meeting consisted of committee members taking the time to talk in small groups to share their initial perspectives of the recommendation. Members of the committee were asked to share what additional information was needed and/or what could be removed from the report. Finally, the group came together for a robust discussion regarding the small group conversations. Based on the feedback from the committee members, administration will continue to revise the report in preparation for its presentation to the the Board on November 13, 2018.
May 7 & 21, 2018
The Committee met on May 7 and 21, 2018. Both meetings were designed to evaluate the different scenarios of maintaining our current model or implementing a later high school start time. These options were developed through discussions of the committee throughout the year During each of the two sessions, the committee discussed implications that could impact a change in school start time that included, but were not limited to; transportation, building bell schedules, sports, community youth sports, and clubs/activities.
Towards the end of the meeting on May 21, it was decided that an administrative team, including , Mr. Bechtold (RHS Principal), Mr. Hearn (Director of Transportation, and Mr. Friel (RHS Athletic Director) would meet and further evaluate the scenarios to determine the impact not just for the District, but for the community as a whole.
The Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee will reconvene over the summer to review and discuss the results of the administrative analysis. Initially, the goal of the committee was to provide a recommendation to the RTSD School Board by the end of this school year; however, the committee is dedicated to a thorough analysis and is confident they are moving in the right direction to make a recommendation in the fall.
May 8, 2018
Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Update; presented at the Curriculum Committee Meeting
April 26, 2018
The Committee met on April 26, 2018. The meeting began with an overview of the agenda and a look at where we are in the process. Following the opening, the committee began digging into the data and insight provided by the survey of RHS students regarding their current sleep hygiene. A lengthy and lively discussion ensued and the committee determined that the next step will be to evaluate at least four different options ranging from no change in school start time to a 90 minute adjustment. The next meeting scheduled for Monday, May 7th will focus on exploring these options, the obstacles for each, and solutions to accommodate adjustments. Following this detailed exploration, which will require multiple meetings of the committee, the group will work to develop a recommendation to Mr. Batchelor and the administration.
April 12, 2018
The Committee met on April 12, 2018. The meeting opened with a brief update from a representative of the Regional Adolescent Sleep Needs Coalition (RASNC). The update included information from the coalition’s last meeting where they announced a webinar/phone conference with Dr. Haghani, an expert in the field of transportation. Participants included transportation directors, school board members and administrators from surrounding districts. In addition, the Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee had several members who participated in the webinar to determine whether Dr. Haghani could be of further assistance establishing transportation efficiencies. The RASNC also noted that interest has expanded as a result of Wendy Troxel’s visit to the area. Many surrounding districts are now considering studying the topic of adolescent sleep related issues.
Committee members were also presented with a quick overview of the survey recently completed by 848 of our high school students. The data collected from the survey will be presented in a more comprehensive manner at our next meeting where we will apply the information into the scenarios developed at previous meetings.
The Committee then continued its work of developing two different scenarios; one group focused on not moving school start time, while the other developed a scenario of changing the high school start time. At the end of the meeting, each group reported out about what they had developed and further discussion ensued regarding each scenario.
The group will meet again on Thursday, April 26th to further explore each scenario, as well as investigate the impact these scenarios might have on our District.
February 22, 2018
The Committee met on February 22. The meeting included a final review of the Teen Sleep Habits Survey that will be administered to Radnor High School students in the coming weeks. RTSD was granted permission to use and slightly modify the survey in order to collect the information most relevant to guide our study and to aid in understanding our students’ needs and the activities they engage in that may impact their sleep habits.
The Committee further reviewed questions to be answered and posted to our Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time website for community reference. The questions and answers developed will be supported by information derived from past studies and/or by researcher Dr. Wendy Troxel at her presentations on March 12 and 14.
The meeting concluded with the Committee breaking into groups to begin the process of weighing two different scenarios. One group was assigned to create the scenario of not moving the RHS start time and proposed a plan of action that would address our adolescent students' sleep needs within RTSD.
The second group created a scenario of a later RHS start time and planned for the accommodations required. Due to the initial agenda items, the group had limited time to develop each scenario and will continue development during the next scheduled meeting time.
January 25, 2018
The committee met on January 25. The meeting included a presentation by three of the members from the Regional Adolescent Sleep Needs Coalition (RASNC) who provided information about the background of their organization and their guiding principles. Following the presentation, there was a brief question and answer period that engaged the committee in a robust conversation regarding topics we have explored in previous meetings.
Committee members then participated in a review of questions that will eventually be presented to Radnor High School students to complete. The hope is that the results of the survey will help give the committee a better understanding of students’ needs and the activities they engage in that may impact their sleep habits. In addition, committee members worked to develop possible FAQs (eventually to be posted on the website) that could assist community members in better understanding the topics being studied.
The meeting concluded with updates regarding the Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time website, including the announcement of our own dedicated committee email address so the public can send questions and comments pertinent to our work. In addition, the committee was updated on the planning for the Dr. Wendy Troxel visit scheduled to occur March 12 and 14.
January 11, 2018
The committee met on January 11, 2018. The meeting included a review of the district’s mission statement and the purpose for the committee in regards to studying the topic of adolescent sleep and school start time. The three statements of purpose presented to committee members were:
- Understand and educate the community about the identified national public health issue of chronic sleep deprivation in adolescents and the contributing factors and consequences;
- Evaluate the impact for Radnor; and
- Develop recommendations to provide to RTSD Administration and Superintendent
The Committee also engaged in a robust discussion behind the research and its potential impacts on the Radnor Township School District community. During the second half of the meeting, committee members worked within their sub-committees on two tasks: Identify questions that can be posted to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage on the district website and continue identifying the pros and cons of a later school start time or other strategies that address the sleep needs of our students.
December 14, 2017
The committee met on December 14. Committee member Dr. Roberta Winters provided a brief presentation on Dr. Judith Owens, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, and her work regarding adolescent sleep. Dr. Owens visited our area in February 2016. For the remainder of the meeting, committee members met with their specialized sub-committees (Academics, Community/Regional Impact, Education/Communication, Transportation, Wellness, and Extracurricular/Athletics) to begin identifying the pros and cons within each category. In addition, the groups began to develop essential questions they would like to see included in a survey that will eventually be administered to all district students and constituents.
November 29, 2017
The Adolescent Sleep/School Start Time Committee met on November 29. The committee members introduced themselves to the group; participated in a brief survey to help identify the characteristics of sleep deprivation; reviewed the district’s mission statement and its importance as the study is conducted; discussed qualities of an effective committee process; came to an understanding for the study and its intentions as a recommendation to administration is developed; and worked to establish topics and begin the process of developing sub-committees to explore each of these areas.
The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for December 14 and will include a brief presentation from committee and community member Dr. Roberta Winters regarding adolescent sleep, which will help further educate the committee. The group will also begin working within its sub-committees to research their identified topic area.
September 26, 2017
The district's initial Sleep Task Force met on September 26, 2017 after having recessed for a period of time.
During this meeting, district representatives explained the district's ongoing commitment to the topic of student sleep and school start time, as a study of these topics was identified as a proirity project by the district for 2017-18 school year. The objective of the meeting was to share with the previous task force members the timeline and action plan for this current study. A new committee will be formed to conduct the study and determine the impact on Radnor Township School District. Previous task force members are encouraged to apply to become a member of the new committee.
Once the new committee has been assembled, it will begin exploring student sleep and school start time through literature, surveys, focus groups and forums. The committee will forward its recommendation to the Superintendent and the district's administrative team by the end of the 2017-18 school year.