Welcome to Q&A (As of 5/14/19)

  • The below questions and answers address a range of subjects frequently discussed during the multi-year Sleep and School Start Time Study.

GENERAL

  • Was the final recommended schedule approved by the School Board?

    Posted by:

    Yes, the below final schedule recommended by the RTSD Sleep and School Start Time Committee was approved by the School Board on April 23, 2019 and will take effect beginning the 2019-20 school year: 

    • Radnor High School:  8:30 am - 3:10 pm (currently 7:35 a.m. – 2:27 p.m.)

    • Radnor Middle School: 7:50 am - 2:40 pm (currently 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

    • Elementary Schools: 9:07 am - 3:40 pm (currently 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

    Comments (-1)
  • What is the final schedule recommendation for RTSD schools?

    Posted by:

    The Sleep and School Start Time Committee offered a final school schedule recommendation to the RTSD School Board on March 26, 2019: 

    • Radnor High School:  8:30 am - 3:10 pm (currently 7:35 a.m. – 2:27 p.m.)

    • Radnor Middle School: 7:50 am - 2:40 pm (currently 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

    • Elementary Schools: 9:07 am - 3:40 pm (currently 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What was the initial schedule recommendation for RTSD schools?

    Posted by:

    The Sleep and School Start Time Committee offered an intial school schedule recommendation to the RTSD School Board on Nov. 13, 2018: 

    Radnor High School:  8:30 am - 3:04 pm (currently 7:35 a.m. – 2:27 p.m.)

    Radnor Middle School: No change (currently 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

    Elementary Schools: 9:15 am - 3:45 pm (currently 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

     

    Comments (-1)
  • When will the change to school schedules be implemented?

    Posted by:

    The new school schedules will go into effect next school year (2019-20).

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Was thought given to the option of "flipping" the high school and elementary school start times?

    Posted by:

    Yes, a schedule was developed and examined that proposed that elementary school start school first followed by the secondary schools, referred to as a schedule "flip." This option was eliminated for several reasons, which can be reviewed on Page 52 of the Sleep and School Start Time Report Addendum.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How does the district plan to measure the effectiveness of a change?

    Posted by:

    The sleep committee surveyed high school students in Spring 2017 to gather baseline data regarding sleep patterns and social/emotional well-being. If a change to school start times takes place, the district will measure the effectiveness of such a change using the following metrics*:

    • Student Survey Data (May of Each Year)
    • Parent Survey Data (May of Each Year)
    • RHS Student and Parent Focus Groups (Several Meetings Throughout School Year)
    • Ongoing Collection of Feedback (sleep@rtsd.org)
    • Nurse Visits Attendance Data (Absences and Tardiness)
    • Social Worker/School Psychologist Referrals
    • Athletic Injuries, Including Concussions
    • School Climate Survey (Annually)
    • Review of Historical PA Youth Survey Data (Every two years)
    • Review of Historical Early Dismissal Data

    *Data to be used as applicable

     

    Comments (-1)

SCIENCE/DATA

  • Why are adolescents not getting enough sleep?

    Posted by:

    During adolescence, circadian rhythms are delayed, making it extremely difficult for teens to fall asleep prior to 11 p.m. and wake up prior to 8 a.m. Although a teenager's sleep quality can be made worse by excessive academic/extra-curricular demands, poor sleep hygiene, or misuse of technology at bed-time, it is largely driven by a universal delay in the body’s sleep clock during adolescence. Early school hours play a significant role as they force teens to wake up before they have achieved the minimum amount of sleep required for optimum health and performance.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What are the effects of insufficient sleep?

    Posted by:
    • Effects on health include: increases in depressed mood, anxiety, suicidal ideation, weight gain, obesity, substance use and abuse as well as decreased emotional regulation
    • Effects on safety include: increases in motor vehicle accidents, athletic injuries, risk-taking behaviors and physical fights/bullying
    • Effects on performance include: decreased concentration, problem-solving ability and academic performance, along with poorer cognitive efficiency and memory

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How much sleep does my child need?

    Posted by:

    The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend the following ranges:

    • 10-13 hours for children 3 to 5 years of age
    • 9-12 hours for children 6 to 12 years of age
    • 8-10 hours for teenagers 13 to 18 years of age

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Why change school hours?

    Posted by:

    It is well established that sleep deprivation is known to compromise teenagers’ health, safety, and performance. ​The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and American Medical Association recognize the disconnect between school start times and most school schedules and recommend a high school start time of ​8:30 a.m. or later. Pushing start times back helps to enable students to reach 2 critical sleep goals: 1) achieve the adequate amount of sleep that they need; and 2) to sleep during a time that is more in sync with their biology, namely, their delayed circadian rhythm.  Waking a high school student up at 6am is akin to waking an adult up at 4am. As a result, they suffer from a form of circadian dysrhythmia known as “social jet-lag” during their school week. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How do we know teenagers aren't getting enough sleep?

    Posted by:

    • A National Sleep Foundation Poll found 87% of U.S. high school students were getting less than the recommended hours of sleep on school nights

    • The CDC's 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey 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.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Are we sure sleep deprivation is a concern for Radnor High School students?

    Posted by:

    Yes. According to a sleep survey administered to RHS students in Spring 2018:  

    • 72.5% of respondents self-reported getting less than the required amount of sleep during the school week
    • 91% of students surveyed feel that sleepiness is a problem and, as a result, self-reported negative mood symptoms such as sadness, unhappiness and worrying too much
    • 31% reported arriving late and 33% report falling asleep in a morning or afternoon class as a result of sleepiness

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Why a Radnor High School start time recommendation of 8:30 a.m.?

    Posted by:

    Why not 8 a.m.? Data on schools that moved their start times to 8 a.m. rather than 8:30 a.m. or later revealed less robust results. In schools with an earlier school start time, fewer students were able to obtain eight hours of sleep or more. This amount of sleep is the “tipping point” needed, as research reveals clear benefits for students who obtain eight hours of sleep or more with respect to depression and substance use like caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Is there evidence that delaying school start times will be associated with positive outcomes?

    Posted by:

    Yes. School start times of 8:30 a.m. or later are associated with:

    • Increased sleep duration
    • Less sleepiness
    • Improved attendance
    • Less tardiness
    • Less falling asleep in class
    • Fewer depressive symptoms
    • Decreased health center visits
    • Fewer motor vehicle crashes
    • Though data is limited, some evidence of increase in GPAs and SATs (with no adverse impact on academics)

     

    Comments (-1)
  • With a later school start time for high school, won't students just stay up later at night?

    Posted by:

    Contrary to some beliefs and expectations, there is evidence that students will obtain more sleep when school start time is shifted later. In addition to the amount of sleep, the timing of sleep is important. Students benefit immensely when they sleep at a time that is in line with their circadian rhythm.

    Comments (-1)

TRANSPORTATION

  • Will the "three-tier" busing system be changed?

    Posted by:

    RTSD's current "three-tier" busing system means fleets of buses are dispatched to service elementary, middle, and high school students separately, so that students only ride on a bus with other students at their same grade level. Under the final recommendation, the three-tier busing system currently used by RTSD will remain in place.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will RHS and RMS students have to ride on the same bus?

    Posted by:

    No. The initial recommendation called for RMS and RHS students riding the bus together in a "two-tier" busing model. Responding to subsequent feedback, the final recommendation maintains the current "three-tier" busing model to allow RMS and RHS students to ride the bus separately.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will elementary bus stops change?

    Posted by:

    No. Older elementary students may have to walk a short distance further, but will not travel across major roads.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will RHS and/or RMS bus stops change?

    Posted by:

    Certain RHS and RMS students will have to walk a bit further to reach their bus stops. No students will cross major roads at any level.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How efficient are the bus routes?

    Posted by:

    To ensure bus transportation in the district is operating as optimally as possible, the district contracted with the third-party bus routing company TransFinder to study the system for efficiencies. In addition to the results of Transfinder's work, the RTSD Transportation Department was intrumental in scrutinizing all of the district's bus routes and modifying runs as necessary to maximize the efficiency.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How is traffic going to be affected?

    Posted by:
    • It is difficult to predict how the change in school hours will affect traffic patterns. RTSD will continually work with Radnor Township to address possible related issues.
    • RTSD buses are already on the roads during the hours of the proposed change.
    • There is a plan to install a traffic light and turning lane at the entrance to RHSl on King of Prussia Road to help alleviate some of the traffic in that area.
    • The new Penn Medicine building being constructed across from RHS on King of Prussia Road is scheduled to open in Spring 2020. RTSD will continue to monitor this development and work with Penn Medicine to address traffic issues that may arise due to the new facility.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How does the requirement that RTSD bus private school students affect this recommendation?

    Posted by:
    • Under the final recommendation, transportation for private school students will be unchanged.
    • RTSD has reached out to private schools that use RTSD bus transportation to advise them a schedule change may occur. A number of these schools stated they may be interested in investigating revisions to their own bell schedules should RTSD make a change, an action that would help streamline bus routes even further in the future.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will the earliest parent drop-offs of students at IES change from 8:45 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.?

    Posted by:

    Yes.

    Comments (-1)

ATHLETICS/ACTIVITIES

  • How will sports be affected at RMS and RHS?

    Posted by:

    Radnor Middle School sports are not affected. Radnor High School is working with other Athletic Directors who may have their own limitations (such as only one field) who are willing to collaborate on a solution. Administration looked at all the sports and identified the sports that would need early dismissal. The athletes in this sports have the opton of the new "Fitness for Athletes" course. There are 10 sections available at the end of the day.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will a later start time disrupt athletics?

    Posted by:
    • Schools that have adopted later start times have found extracurricular activity participation remains largely unchanged. In addition, research confirms that students experience fewer sports injuries when well-rested.
    • RHS administration is working with Central Athletic League (CAL) schools to move as many competition times from 3:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. as possible, understanding that facilities constraints in specific districts may not permit htis to happen

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Has consideration been given to increasing RMS after-school activities?

    Posted by:

    Yes, expanding after-school programming in RTSD is something the district is interested in exploring. The district's new elementary before- and after-school care provider, Right At School, is also interested in growing their club program in RTSD.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Are some teams going to be moving their practices to before school?

    Posted by:

    No. The swimming and diving teams will continue to offer optional morning practice time to their athletes, which will be delayed by one hour. All other practices will continue to take place after school.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will community sports programs be affected?

    Posted by:

    Community sports programs are important to the success and growth of athletics at Radnor High School. There are no anticipated changes to community sports field usage. 

    Comments (-1)

OTHER

  • What can we do, in addition to changing school start times, to help adolescents get more sleep?

    Posted by:

    RTSD plans to undertake a number of strategies to help the district community support student sleep health, including:

    • Encouraging families to set electronic curfews
    • Encouraging families to limit substances, such as caffeine, that can interfere with adequate sleep quality and quantity
    • Encouraging families to make sleep a priority health behavior
    • Encouraging families to keep a consistent sleep-wake cycle routine
    • Encouraging families to evaluate and, where possible, modify potentially excessive academic and extra-curricular demands
    • Educating community on general sleep health strategies
    • Continuing to integrate sleep health into school instruction

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will the number of school days per year change?

    Posted by:

    No. In terms of school day hours, the final recommended schedule actually bring more equity to the length of the school day at RTSD schools.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will homework be reduced?

    Posted by:

    There will not necessarily be a reduction in the amount of homework. Students who graduated from RTSD report they were well prepared for college. Homework in the district is being studied as one of several additional steps RTSD is taking to improve student sleep health regardless of a change in school schedules.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Have students had an opportunity to provide input?

    Posted by:

    Yes. RHS students had the opportunity to attend a number of brown bag lunches to provide feedback. In addition, everyone is welcome to email sleep@rtsd.org with comments/questions. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will the later end to the elementary school day negatively affect students?

    Posted by:

    The committee’s initial recommendation offered on Nov. 13, 2018 proposed that the elementary school day end at 3:45 p.m. Feedback from parents and teachers led to the final recommendation moving the end of the elementary day up to 3:40 p.m. The committee’s goal was to put forth a plan that would have the greatest positive impact on the most number of students, with as minimal an impact and disruption to existing school schedules.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Under the final recommendation, aren't RMS students not getting the benefit of extra sleep?

    Posted by:

    Studies show that while a switch to an adolescent's circadian rhythm begins at puberty, maxiumum circadian delay in teenagers peaks between the ages of 15-21, putting high school students at the greatest risk of experiencing negative effects of chronic sleep. The final recommendation benefits the greatest number of students. Still, in a concerted effort to address middle school sleep needs, the district's Transportation Department was able to alter routes to ensure pick-up times from bus stops change by just five minutes. Additionally, research conducted during the district's study of sleep and school start times found RMS currently starts the school day later than most middle schools. Current RMS students will benefit from the final recommendation in just a few years, getting a full four years of medically recommended sleep throughout high school.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What other districts have changed their school schedules?

    Posted by:

    Unionville-Chadds Ford, State College and Phoenixville school districts have all made changes to their start times in an effort to address student sleep needs. Lower Merion and Tredyffrin-Easttown school districts are currently studying sleep and changing start time. In RTSD, discussions on these topics have been occurring since 2016.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will high school students lose class time?

    Posted by:

    No. Passing time between periods has been reduced and, based on staff and student feedback in response to the initial recommendation, homeroom has been shortened as opposed to eliminated.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What happens if RMS students arrive earlier than the 7:50 a.m. start time?

    Posted by:

    As is current practice, RMS students who arrive earlier than the start of school will spend this time in the cafeteria.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will the new elementary before- and after-school care provider change its rates?

    Posted by:

    No. The provider, Right At School, is aware a school schedule change may occur and has assured the district rates will remain as contracted.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Is the anticipated $120,000 to enact the final recommendation a yearly cost?

    Posted by:

    Yes. The $120,000 cost is to hire and retain the two additional bus drivers required to implement the final recommended school schedules.

    Comments (-1)