dents. Do not get overwhelmed by the logistics and obstacles; rather, continue to emphasize the overall goal. Students’ needs are foremost.
Be flexible as the process proceeds. Consider all the issues, needs, and agendas of all parties. Identify potential sources of resistance and address their needs. Be prepared with research and facts. Zealots generally are not effective.
Have a clear plan. Gather a coalition and form committees. Develop a timetable. Decide on guidelines for the change and create goals to measure your progress.
Communicate all along the way and especially throughout the implementation. Allow time to adjust and plan for the change.
THINK NATIONALLY AS WELL AS LOCALLY
Efforts to move school start times later are also happening at the state and national levels. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Virginia have introduced legislation to look into the issue. Though it hasn’t yet passed, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California introduced a resolution to the U.S. Congress to move school start times later. If you’re interested in working to legislate wider change, a variety of federal agencies and national health care organizations, as well as social service organizations and parent-teacher associations, can help lead the way.
Despite the many challenges that can be involved, including transportation schedules and costs, after-school day care concerns for younger children, worries relating to after-school sports and other extracurricular activities, conflicts in facilities use, and related changes in teachers and parents’ professional and personal lives, a number of school districts in several states have successfully moved school start times later. Other districts are now looking into the possibilities armed with facts and figures provided by parent groups and other organizations that have learned about the benefits the change could bring.
One of those parent groups is known as S.L.E.E.P., short for Sleep