While I’ve been away from this blogging post, I have not been asleep at the wheel! It’s been a whirlwind of a summer and Start School Later is still trucking, long after the last school bell of the year has rung.
Here’s a quick recap of what our fledgling organization, bolstered by you, our Patch readers, has been doing:
We are officially registered as a not-for-profit incorporation. This is exciting news, because our vision for Start School Later has been to ensure that this campaign can continue long after current parents age out once their kids graduate from school. Instead of repeating the history of making progress, then dying out once active parents move on, our organization is moving closer to maintaining history, connecting isolated groups from all over the country and keeping local efforts alive.
It is humbling to realize that this movement is bigger than me. It is even bigger than the selfless, dedicated, seven person Steering Board that has evolved since last November. The fact is, as I’ve known all along, this is not a personal fight, but a much needed change that can benefit not just school students, but everyone in communities all over this country. Thank you for joining us on this adventure.
We’ve started a monthly newsletter. To read and sign up for this newsletter, visit our newsletter archive. We are currently working on July’s newsletter, which will be out in a few days.
Realizing the specific needs of local efforts, we have launched Local Chapters in four states. We also have a growing list of partners that are endorsing our efforts. While Start School Later is still very committed to initiating healthy school times for the nation as a whole, there were so many communities with differing needs. We wanted to be able to support those efforts and have the groups be able to connect with each other. As a prime success story, in the Northshore School District in Washington state, the school board is running computer modeling to test whether schools can start later. This would never have been examined without the efforts of Start School Later members collaborating with the Parent Advocates for Later Starts (PALS) group there.
Our “Wake Up Wednesdays” series of petition deliveries to Washington, DC has concluded. It was so successful that we are now in the process of planning a congressional briefing. Our goal is to increase awareness about how healthy school starts can reduce the national sleep deprivation epidemic among our school students.
There is still much work to be done. But it still amazes me that this whole thing started with a petition, a Patch post, and a few cups of coffee among kindred spirits in Severna Park.
Maribel Ibrahim, The Frugal Writer, created www.StartSchoolLater.net and is a Co-Founder of Start School Later, a grassroots coalition dedicated to ensuring that the health, safety and equity of children are protected when determining school start times. Maribel’s Patch blog has recently been ranked in the Top 100 out of over 22,000 bloggers in the Patch network.