Target: Jilly Dos Santos
Goal: Commend student’s efforts in changing her school’s start time to later in the day
When high school student Jilly Dos Santos heard that her school board wanted to make her school’s start time earlier, she immediately began rousing student support to crush this decision. This sleep activist went to the school board meeting with scientific research backing her claims, and through her dedicated efforts pushed her school’s start time to 8:55 A.M.
Until now, Santos’ high school started at 7:50 A.M. and the school was considering starting earlier at 7:20 A.M. As a student who sets up three alarms in the morning, skips breakfast and puts her make up on in the car, the thought of waking up at 6 A.M. in the morning was appalling. However, Santos had research that suggested teenagers do not start feeling drowsy until as late as 11. Armed with this research, Santos decided she would pay the school board a visit. She hustled for student support through Facebook and Twitter, and got in touch with a non-profit organization Start School Later, which provided her with scientific research for her claims.
For the past twenty years there’s been a growing support for a later school start time. New research has found that teenagers have a later release of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. The blue light from electronics also prevents the teenagers from falling asleep, as it tricks the brain into thinking that the sun is up. There is a vast amount of research conducted around the effects of sleep, and scientists who studied schools that started later found that not only did grades improve, but students were less likely to act impulsively, come to school tardy, and sustain athletic injuries. It even lowered the amount of car crashes that teenagers were involved in.
There are already schools from across the country who are participating in this change, and many are reporting wonderful changes in students’ moods and grades. Commend this student for pushing her school’s start time to later in the day and ensuring that students get their necessary amount of sleep.
Dear Jilly Dos Santos,
I want to commend you for your dedication to ensuring that all students in your school get the required amount of sleep they need. I understand that your claims made at the school board were backed with scientific research, research that is shifting the way that many educators think about school and their students.
While I understand that there are obvious drawbacks to having a later start time – like students coming home later – I can also understand the need for it. A teenager’s developing body is different from that of a child or an adult, and sleep does not always come easily. Again I want to commend you for your commitment and dedication to this topic, especially since you yourself are a very busy student.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dvortygirl via Wikimedia