What Are New Canaanites Saying About Healthy School Start Times?

A lot! Read below for hundreds of comments from families who have signed our petition. Add your voice by signing the petition today!

 “As an educational consultant, I work with high school students and see firsthand how exhausted they are from lack of sleep. I see it with my 7th grader. He was an early riser until 5th grade and then bam! He's sleeping in until 8:30 or 9:00 now whenever he has a chance - and he goes to bed at 9:15! Developmentally, kids need more sleep!” - Kristi Colthup

 “This is a no brainer! There is countless research that has confirmed  that ALL teens benefit from later start times. They are reportedly happier and perform better academically when start time is delayed. My daughter is a freshman at NCHS. She struggles to fall asleep before 11pm. She is exhausted with this insane early start time. She falls asleep in classes and goes to the nurse's office for naps during her free periods. Considering the enormous amount of scientific evidence that supports later start times, the current schedule is unethical and very wrong. Despite the inconvenience and cost, the later start time is justified. NO EXCUSES!” - Dr. Maria Mendoza-Smith

“Many scientific studies have shown that adolescents have different sleep needs, and sleeping later in the morning is natural for them.  I think it would be less stressful for families and better prepare children to learn if the school schedule took that into consideration.  We've heard at open houses at Saxe that first period in the morning is tough, and teachers need to exert extra energy to engage sleepy kids.  That's more than we need to ask of our teachers.  Selfishly, I would like fewer fights, less whining, and less dousing my poor child with cold water (yes I do) in the pre-dawn hours of the morning.  Thank you for considering this change.” - Jennifer Woldman

“NCHS grad, class of 91. We started at 8:20 and got out at 2:15. My kids now are waking up too early and napping when they get home from school…doesn't make sense.” - Steve Seelert

 “I have three children in all three levels of school. I see how important sleep really is. With after school activities, sports and homework (can be hours) at high school level they don’t get to bed until really late! Then just to wake up by 5:45 am is ridiculous. All I hear is, “Mom I’m tired.”. I think sleep is important for them to grow and to regain the energy they need to get through their day. ” - Irene Paschalidis

 “All of my children are sleep-deprived due to the early start time. There’s no way to catch up at night because they can't get to sleep early with HW, sports and generally just being a teen.” - Renee Codd

 “Sleep patterns for my teenage son means he is sleepwalking through his first 2 periods. As he gets older, sport commitments run later meaning he gets to bed later. Getting up at 615am every morning is not serving him or his ability to learn in the slightest” - Joanne Russo-Cain

 “For the physical and emotional well-being of our adolescents, as well as extensive research already conclusive that teen learning is impacted as a result of sleep deprivation, our family votes for a later school start.” - Tracy Growney

“Having once been a teen night owl, and having 4 children of my own who will go through that stage in the future, it seems like an obvious choice to follow the recommendations of the AAP and the lead of other top school districts. I would gladly switch to an earlier elementary start time as well to allow more afternoon hours for my kids!” - Abigail Skidmore

“Numerous scientific studies show the importance of sleep for teenagers.  Our  7th grader's school bus arrives at 6:35 am in the morning.  He needs to go to bed at a very early time to make sure he gets enough sleep which is so vital for kids his age.  Currently his work load is light enough that he can finish all his work and go to bed early, but as he moves to high school and gets a heavier school workload, he may not be able to do so.” - Ipek Kaya-Savasoglu

 “My son is a freshman at New Canaan High.  He works hard to make good grades and this involves at times staying up later to get all of his work done.  I believe at least one additional hour of sleep in the morning would make a huge difference to his overall well being.  Not to mention, I have a terrible time some mornings to wake him up. He is in a deep sleep and it is challenging to say the least!” - Saveena Winchell

“Our children need more sleep!  It is a serious health concern.” - Robert Howe

 “My daughter has a very difficult time waking up for school, even if she goes to sleep early. On days when she drops the 1st period in high school and has a ‘sleep-in’ she is so much more alert and ready for school. I think an 8:30 or later start would help her tremendously academically. ” - Sheila Bajaj

 “Well rested children are more willing and able to learn.” - Kim Harrington

 “Teens need more sleep.” - Wendy Cutler

“Our  children need enough sleep to be able to learn and to be healthy, happy individuals. The current start times are just too early for our children.” - Nora Petkovich

 “My kids struggle through the first part of their day and are exhausted in school. No matter what we do, what limits and schedules we set, no matter how organized we are, it's a sleep issue. They're simply not getting enough sleep AT THE TIMES WHEN THEY NATURALLY NEED IT. A 17 year old can't go to bed at 8:30. Even an 11 year old can't go to bed at 8:30.” - Micaela Porta

“I have two boys who are currently in elementary school and will go through the entire NCPS system. I believe later start times will give our young people an advantage to learn/retain more because they will 1) be able to focus better with more sleep and 2) allow their cognitive growth to occur during the hours which children should be sleeping.  Finally, academics should always take priority over athletics. I went to a PREP school for four years and we had appropriate sleep, academic/athletic time and start time. New Canaan is a leader in the education environment and I know we can figure this out as a community.  Thank you!” - Kirsten Bossin

 “Healthy kids need sleep” - Zhaohua Hu

 “Science.” - Kristin Norley

 “All the evidence from professional experts across medicine and psychiatry points to this being the preferred model. And I know from experience of having a 13 year old seventh grader, that not having to get up at 6:00 a.m. to catch a bus that gets him to school for 7:30 a.m. has to be a good thing. He has an hour and a half timeframe to get up and travel 1.1. miles to school, which is crazy. More sleep = more productive, more alert, more engaged students.” - Graham Lampen

 “For the health of our children!!! Teens are up until midnight doing homework and then up at 6:00am!!” - Kristin Evans

 “I am writing this letter in support of starting school later than our current time.  I have a tough time understanding why there has been a delay in forming a committee in time for your budget discussions this November.  I’m not here to give you the details of the multiple studies in support of later start times.  We all agree that starting school prior to 8:30AM is detrimental to the mental health of our children.  We all acknowledge that our kids will benefit greatly from pushing their start time forward.  We have all seen the studies and heard the arguments.  My question to you is WHY, why delay??  We need ACTION NOW! I am an educator who taught in the Wilton Public Schools 18 years ago.  I was there when we filled out surveys for or against changing their school start time.  At the time I didn’t have children, but I understood the need for the students to gain some much needed sleep.  I wholeheartedly agreed with pushing the start time forward to a more manageable time.I have a junior at the High School and an 8th grader at Saxe.  I now believe in the later start times more than ever.  It is such a struggle to get my children up in the morning, how productive can they be in their classes when they are waking up at 6:15AM?  I see first hand my children negatively impacted by waking up day after day at 6:15AM.  Imagine teaching a class with students half asleep!  I feel for our educators too.  My son has been coming home from school exhausted, he can’t even function to begin his homework until after he takes a nap. I urge you to change our school start time ASAP, please don’t delay.” - Laurel Carlson

 “I want what's best for my children, and their mental health and wellness, including sleep, is of utmost importance.” - Diana Takach

 “It's just not healthy for preteens and teens to get up in the morning that early!” - Xiaoqi Meng

 “I believe the most important thing for kids is to be healthy and the most important factor in health is to have enough sleep.  My son doesn’t get enough sleep every day because he has to get up 6:30 each morning to catch the bus.  When kids don’t get enough sleep, it affects their appetite, school performance and ability to focus.  My son often can't finish breakfast and the level of focus drops in the afternoon because he gets up too early in the morning.” - Jie Jin

 “For the health of our kids.” - David Jan

 “This is important for the health of our students.” - Schuyler Morris

 “7:30am is too early a start for teenagers. Sleep deprivation leads to longterm problems.” - Jane Xiao

“Kids need their sleep to grow and to learn. They have sports so late....often going late until 8.30pm/9.00pm. After getting home, showering, eating something ...it’s 10.00 already and they still have to finish their homework. My daughter rarely gets to bed before midnight in her attempt to fit it all in...and then her bus comes at 6.34 in the morning. She gets less then 6 hours of sleep on most school nights. That is just terrible for the health of a teen. Please make the school hours more reasonable. We have to think about the kids! My children are exhausted. Watching them handle school sports and friends on top of growth and general well being with 5-6 hours of sleep a night is awful. They are exhausted and their mental and physical states demonstrate this to be each day. 5-6 hours of sleep is not enough sleep for teenagers.” - Christine Ross

 “This is so disruptive for kids, for the teachers and for parents. Our children are exhausted and it seems unnecessary in order to stagger the buses. If other towns can set this back so should we.” - Rachel Lampen

“My 14 year old son is in 8th grade and he needs more sleep.  We are never able to embrace our bus pickup in the morning, as we want him to get those 20 minutes of extra sleep each school day.  In essence, we are paying for a bus that we are not using due to the insane early school start time.  We are not alone with this approach. It is well documented that sleep is critical to a human being’s success.  Please seriously consider a later school start time for NCPS.  Thank you.” - Kimberly Birmingham

“I am the mom of an 11th, 8th and 5th grader. Waking up my teenagers while their bodies are trying to grow is misery. I feel awful, some days there are tears. Naps after school are not uncommon. I am over this. Please do something because 7:30 start is ridiculous. ” - Kristin Seelert

 “I remember when my 5th grader was at West school. He would automatically wake up at 6:30 and get ready for school. The bus picked him up at 8:45 which meant he had plenty of time to jump on the trampoline, ride his bike or play basketball. Then bus arrived at 4. It was s scramble to get to after school activities, eat dinner, do homework and have some family time before bedtime at 7:30.” - Ann McMahon

“More and more research points to the fact that quality sleep is crucial for children’s health and school success. Unfortunately, adolescents have a more difficult time falling asleep than young children and adults so just "putting kids to bed earlier" does not solve this issue. A later start time will not only have a positive health impact on children (sleep deprivation impacts weight gain and eating disorders, increase risk of obesity, depression, anxiety, behavior problems, risk taking behavior, decisions making ability as well as many other harmful consequences) but will also aid in learning, memory and attention. Even with financial implications for the town of New Canaan, as a citizen, NCHS graduate (that could have benefited greatly from a later start time!), parent and previous NCPS teacher...there is no doubt in my mind that the benefits outweigh the increase in costs. Thank you for taking the time to make this much needed change.” - Alana DiMuzio

 “Proven research has shown that middle and high school students do not get enough sleep due in large part to an extremely early school start time and an internal biological clock that sets them up for being awake later at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement calling on school districts to move start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high schools, so that students can get at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night. Thank you for your consideration of this very important topic that will greatly affect the mental and physical health of our children.” - Jennifer Thompson

 “The AAP has recommended a start time of no earlier than 8:30 am. There are several reasons why this is important and I'm sure that the BOE is aware of them so I will not list each one here. NCPS is widely known to be a leader in public school education in CT. If we are to remain so, we must be open-minded in our thinking and progressive in our actions. As for cost-benefit, I am very interested in knowing how the benefit will be quantified. And while I understand that not all discussions can take place in a public forum, I'm hoping that the BOE and administration will provide transparency in the process and opportunities for parents to provide input.” - Ann Marie Palladino

“Studies reveal that when teenagers don’t sleep until natural wake up hours they lose their retention of memory, making it impossible for them to have good performance in school. There’s a chapter in the new book “Why We Sleep” by Mathew Walker, PhD., that covers this information.” - Gina Pacheco

 “Scientific facts are indisputable as to the sleep cycle of adolescents. Their brains are not ready to receive, process and analyze information effectively that early in the morning.” - Meredith Bergman

“This issue is vital for the well being of our students to get them better rested for the school day.  Most high schoolers are getting less than 6 hours of sleep per evening as Adolescents have different body rhythms than young children and adults and have difficulty getting to sleep early enough to get sufficient sleep for a full day of learning.  Enough sleep is a key component in lower depression and increasing productivity.” - Lucy Dathan

“Later start times for our middle and high school students will greatly benefit their health and education as supported by many research studies.  Please consider this change for New Canaan, a leader in education.” - Bonny Plosker

 “Evidence strongly suggests that the benefits of a later start for teens outweighs the counter arguments.” - Jennifer Crowley

 “As one of the co-authors of the 2006 LWV study, I hope that this generation may benefit where my own children did not. I think the pressures on children have only increased since then. Sufficient sleep is fundamental to healthy minds, healthy bodies, learning and growth. We need strong, resilient youth and sleep will help them be that!!” - Jane Himmel

 “This is critical factor to improving the overall health of our young teens. Providing ample opportunity for sleep during the teenage years (a big period of physical growth) is very important to staying healthy! AND according to pediatricians and medical professionals, sleep has proven to have significantly positive impacts on mental wellness as it helps reduce depression/anxiety/etc.” - Barbara Rosen

“I have nieces and nephews in Virginia who have already adopted later school start times for older students.  The younger children who are programmed to wake up early anyway have not had any issues with an earlier start time to their day. New Canaan should be an early adopter of this practice and not left in the dust.” - Meaghan Kupchak

 “We need to follow the lead of other superior school districts and do what's right for our children's minds and bodies.” - Janet Fonss 

 “I believe that early school start times interfere with the sleep hours needed by teenagers.  The decreased sleep has been shown to be detrimental to physical and mental health and school achievement.  I want to promote healthy sleep habits and a change in school start times will be beneficial to the health, well-being, and school success of all of our young adults.” - Karen Campe

 “We moved here to give our children the best possible education we could. In order to benefit fully from the outstanding education and tough rigor in New Canaan, it is important that our children are well rested and not sleep deprived. I hope to see the start time change. It will make a world of difference!” - Stephanie Zaccario

 “Adolescents require more sleep to have a better mental health experience, make better choices and be rested to learn the material provided by our amazing New Canaan academic curriculum.” - Suzanne Messina

 “I have two small children, who are not yet attending high school, but am deeply concerned about early start times for school. I feel strongly that kids need their sleep to be productive and learn. Our town and schools must ensure that kids are primed to succeed, and a later start time is one obvious way to do that.” - Victoria Sligar

 “I strongly feel that our children will be more productive if they aren't rushing out the door after being woken up by their parents.” - Danielle Sieckhaus

 “I have young children and believe in this issue. Later school start times are imperative to kids academic, social and mental health.” - Elizabeth Parija

 “The data regarding student performance is so compelling!!” - Laura Herman

 “In a perfect world our kids would go to sleep at 8-9 at night  but  that never happens in my house the kids defiantly do not get enough sleep !!!” - Kim Cuda

  “I have two children in NCPS. One at the middle school entering high school in 2019 and the other entering the middle school in 2019. I agree later start times would be beneficial to them.” - Karamarie Laviola

 “This is a public health issue. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are on record advising that schools start too early. Surely the district would not continue with start times that contradict the advice of the CDC and the AAP? Implementing later start times will not be easy, there certainly will be trade-offs, but it can be done. It's imperative we make this change as soon as possible for the sake of our children's health. Thank you for your consideration!” - Elichia Brown

 “Sleep for the developing brain is so important and to promote healthy habits.” - Ngoc Dinh

 “For my daughter, and all the children of New Canaan, this is simply what's best for their emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. Good sleep hygiene is paramount to a child's success in all arenas--academic, athletic, social, etc. Why would we want to deprive them of that? We move to New Canaan so our children can grow-up in an environment that values their well-being. How can we do that if we rob them of one of the key components necessary to achieve this? We are handicapping our children every day by forcing them to rise before they are ready. This affects everything they do. Don't we want our children to be the best versions of themselves? My family strongly supports moving the start time up. Without proper sleep, we are depriving our children one of the fundamental building blocks of success.” - Betsy Freedman

 “Studies show that early start times can negatively affect a child's ability to perform in school. Several progressive districts in Connecticut have already made this change.” - Cristiana Barrato

 “We hear it from our pediatricians, we read the studies, and we see it in our own households-- proper sleep is essential to health and optimal performance. As children grow older, they naturally stay up later and rise later. A later start seems a natural choice for schools so excellent in other areas. Clearly, there will be obstacles and tricky logistics along the way, but grappling with these is worth it in the long run for our children.” - Laura Prior

 “Studies have shown the needs for adequate rest for this particular age group is necessary. With all the homework, sports, and college selection stress it would be beneficial for the kids to get an extra hour. They just are not going to go to bed at 8pm to wake up at 6am.” - Caryn Frick

 “I agree that sleep deprivation is a big problem for our children. Middle schoolers need 10 hours of sleep per night and this is so hard to do when they have to get up at 615 am.” - Cathy Rogers

 “Lack of sleep negatively affects mood, immune system functioning, healing, digestion, mental health, cognitive functioning, cardiac health and so much more. What’s the argument to keep the early start time?!” - Mandy Miller

 “I have a 7th grader, and her after school sports often have late practice times. This has shifted her natural sleep pattern, and has resulted in a later bedtime. Her physical, mental, and social development would definitely benefit from an extra hour of sleep in the morning.” - Suzanne Pertusiello

 “I have two young children and two teenagers. I see firsthand the teenagers would greatly benefit from a later start time.” - Lisa Strupp

 “It's vital to the overall health, academic and athletic performance of our children. We have 4 children, and the oldest of which is a freshman at NCHS. The lack of sleep directly impacts his overall wellness. Area towns are also making the switch - we should do it at the same time.” - Sara Koch

 “Health, both physical and emotional.” - Irene Hendricks

 “With depression rates on the rise for teens, their health should be first and foremost when considering school start times. Teenagers need more sleep; studies show sleep deprivation negatively impacts both health and mental well being. My daughter has fainted multiple times in the morning due to a medical condition, resulting in two concussions and eight stitches to her head. She is also prone to migraine headaches in the morning. If she had more restful sleep and additional time in the morning, she would be healthier and better prepared for learning. Please place our students health over bus routes, sports schedules and any inconvenience to staff. Thank you.” - Susan Seelert

 “My son is currently in 5th grade and I am hearing stories from older children’s families about how their children have to be on the bus at 640am. In my opinion that is too early; it’s incredibly early for any children to be up breakfasted, backpack sorted, showered, on the bus (and my kids are early risers!) so at the least a review of what change can be done to implement a more regular school start time the district should look at that. There is always compromise and I have full faith in the school system to make the best outcome possible.” - Jane Cullen

 “My kids are exhausted in the morning and can barely eat breakfast before they go school, and they tend to not wake up until midmorning and their results show this - they need just a couple more hours of sleep.” - Matt Dathan

 “This is important to me because I want my children to have enough sleep to maximize their opportunity for learning” - Bonny Plosker

 “Our children went through the full K-12 system in NC and received a great education.  But 7-12 grades were way more stressful and less healthy for the whole family (mentally and physically) than they should/could have been.  We watched as the kids struggled with serious sleep deprivation, and did well in school but paid a heavy price in health for achieving at a high level.  Essentially, they did it all with one hand tied behind their back.  The science is there.  The case studies are clear.  No sports schedules, no bus schedules should get in the way of correcting this wrong.  Let us not forget that when we went to high school (my husband and I - New Canaan and Darien High) school started around 8:30.  Over the years, to create a longer school day or to accommodate after-school activities, start times got shifted earlier and earlier in increments.  No one making those decisions was aware of the harm they were doing at the time.  But the damage has been done for too many years to too many kids, and now that we understand the consequences of sleep deprivation from early start times, let's fix it!  Back in the 70s we also had smoking lounges!  We fixed that.  Our kids are out of the house now, but I wish for future generations that they do not have to endure the early starts and suffering that goes with them.” - Susan Stone

 “It is brutally unfair to students and families to require them to awake shortly after 6am, usually in the dark, to get ready for school.  Take the advice of health and education experts, and reform the system to enable students to be well rested and properly engaged.” - Craig Bloom

“Districts that have made the switch, such as Wilton, have seen test scores rise significantly. Also the research is mounting that shows it is healthier for children in adolescence.” - Keely Norton

 “Kids in Fairfield County feel so much pressure (externally and internally) to excel in school, sports, etc. The extra sleep will give them more energy and keep them healthier, which will then reduce the pressure. Our children are the future of this country. We need to invest in them not deprive them. What worked in the past may not be the best solution for the challenges our kids face today.” - Noelle Ward

 “Growing teens need their sleep!!!” - Jamie Mohamad

 “I believe the older kids need the sleep to keep their minds safe and focused and it will lessen risky and damaging behavioral patterns due to stress responses from sleep deprivation.” - Megan Wunderlich

 “As a physician and parent our children need more sleep.  These early hours are not good for anyone especially our teens.” - Peter Jensen

 “Too many studies proving benefits of later start time for students.” - Angela Ho

 “This will benefit our children's health.” - Julie Reeves

 “Getting enough sleep helps reduce anxiety and stress, problems many of our high schoolers face now.” - Ashlea Ebeling

 “Students at this age need a sufficient amount of sleep for positive mental and physical health benefits, which then translate to academic success.” - Wendy Werneburg

 “Added family time in morning and sleep for children who are already over-scheduled.” - Alessandra Sunko

 “Because it's healthy for the kids.” - David Freedman

 “I completely agree that natural sleep patterns move later from around 11 years. I feel strongly that starting school at a later time would better enable our children to do their best in school.” - Julia Mitchell

 “My fifth grade son is prototypical of this issue.  He struggles to sleep at his 'parentally mandated' bedtime of 8:30PM, thus cannot wake up for a 7:30am bus to school.  If this is physiological, pushing school start time is a clear win for all.” - Christopher Bach

 “My children go to school here. I remember how difficult it was as a teen to be at school at 7:20 am. Our children need more time for sleep, their bodies require it, their minds require it.  A rested child will focus better in school.” - Lisa Kaine Dunn

 “Sleep deprivation has ruined my quality of life and education.” - Martina Pincione

 “These teenagers are up late studying and are expected to be well rounded and play sports all year long. They cannot wake up at 6am everyday and be expected to achieve all of this. They need more sleep. This extra hour of sleep makes a big difference and improvement in comprehension of academic related work, athletic performance, mood and health. This extra hour of sleep will keep these teenagers healthier and also enable them to eat something for breakfast before school.  Leaving the house at 6:30 am is dangerous for these teenagers. They aren't hungry that early in the morning and don't have time to eat in the morning. This negatively effects their academic performance, mood etc.” - Catherine Walker

 “Inadequate sleep affects my kids in so many ways.  High school is already so much pressure with the academic competitiveness, can't they at least be well rested.  When you have adequate sleep you are better able to deal with issues that arise.  It will help to reduce stress levels or at least make it easier for them to deal with stress.  I am sure that lack of sleep contributes to the high rates of anxiety and emotional stress experienced by kids today.  These issues that arise when they are young and the inability to cope become habits that stay with them.  I think that we should think of their health.” - Kathy Frye

 “My oldest child is now in 8th grade, my middle child is in 6th and my youngest is in 2nd. As my children get older, I've realized that their biological clocks really change significantly as they hit puberty. My youngest could easily start school at 7am/7:30am although he doesn't have to be at school until later. No matter how late or tired my youngest goes to bed, he is always up early. My oldest tries to fall asleep earlier at night since she has to start school at 7:30am but her body just doesn't want to go to sleep. She spends many nights just laying in the dark for hours trying to go to sleep earlier. Consequently, she gets less sleep overall, making her cranky and most likely impacting her academic and extracurricular performance. My middle child's biological clock has begun to make that transition as well but since he starts school at 8:20, it works out much better for him now. I am dreading next year when he will be in 7th grade and have to be up a full hour earlier just when his body has completely switched to a later body clock.” - Mimi Leahy

 “It is troubling to witnesses my 14 year old daughter be so tired each morning as she wakes up at 5:45 am!  That is much too early for a child.” - Michael Lockhart

 “It's typically more difficult for adolescent children to fall asleep earlier in the evening than it is for other age demographics. And while teenagers are going to bed later, their school start times are often becoming earlier as they advance through middle and high school. The healthy, safety, and equity benefits to starting middle and high school at times more in sync with the sleep needs of students are irrefutable. Benefits include: Improved alertness, memory, attention, and cognitive processing skills.” - Ann Kozar

 “In a town where we pride ourselves on trying to provide our children with the best possible tools and resources to become successful, happy and healthy members of society, this decision is a no-brainer.  While there may be logistical obstacles that need to be overcome implementing this necessary change for our children's future, such obstacles cannot justify delaying efforts toward implementation, let alone refusing to proceed.” - Andrew Smith

 “With all 3 of our children heavily involved in after school activities (HS Sports; theater; travel) there are many nights where they are just sitting down to BEGIN their homework at 9pm. Getting up at 5:45/6 is brutal for them.” - John Dunn

 “Our children need more sleep to grow physically and mentally.” - Judi Panzano

 “Teens need sleep to grow.” - Wendy Cutler

 “I feel that my seventh grade child is affected by anxiety because he has less sleep and gets on his bus at 6:30 am in the morning.  He is not able to feel rested, or perform to the best of his ability because of his lack of sleep.  I feel that he needs more sleep now, since he is older, and it saddens me to see him unhappy about his lack of sleep.  Please consider a later school time for our children.Thank you.” - Linda Speranza

 “I've witnessed so many health issues that would be avoided by kids having an extra hour of sleep” - Christine Crawford

 “At the very least we should swap the times for elementary start and middle/high school start. Younger kids are generally up earlier anyway and teens need more sleep.” - Katy Sullivan

 “I have 3 children in the New Canaan school system and have seen first-hand how early 7th graders onward wake up and leave for school. It's unsustainable!” - Kevin Arrix

 “I will have two sons at New Canaan High School next year. The current 7:30am start time definitely does not allow enough time for the sleep they need and the lack of sleep takes a toll on their physical health and cognitive function. It adversely affects every aspect of their day. My boys wake up tired at 6am each morning to face a challenging school day usually followed by sports. They arrive home each afternoon exhausted and by the end of the week the cumulative effect is obvious. I know there has been some concern that the extra hour allowed by an 8:30am start would not actually be used for sleep. In our case it would most assuredly be used for sleep and would make a huge difference in my sons' overall well-being.” - Dale Daddona

 “Sleep deprivation can and does have significant negative effects on health and learning. Please read “Why we Sleep” By Matthew Walker PhD, sleep researcher UC Berkeley.” - Ivan Nedeltchev

 “All research shows that teens healthy sleep habits are crucial to their physical and emotional well being. That said they have the hardest time going to sleep at an hour that would give them the sleeping time they need in order to get out of bed before 6AM.  The health of our children should take priority over the administrative difficulties of changing the school start time for all grades above 7th.” - Christa Haussler

 “We have nicknamed our child the mole because he can’t wake up.  He has sports and homework and goes to bed on time, but cannot function in the morning” - Lisa Coffey

 “My son is in 6th grade, is very good about getting up in the morning, long may it last...he currently gets up at 6:30am, but when he gets to 7/8th grade he will be leaving the house practically at 6:30am...it is honestly too early for kids to be expected to be breakfasted dressed and out of the house that early and then expected to focus at work and have lunch mid morning...timings should be adjusted to be more in keeping with regular working hours.” - Jane Cullen

 “My kids are exhausted all the time. And I can barely get them out of bed.” - Wendy Cutler

 “Even though I make sure my daughter is in bed by 9.30 every school night she says she can’t settle and sleep for well over an hour. She has to wake at 6am to catch the bus at 6.45 therefore she is only getting about 7 hours of sleep, which is not enough.” - Rebecca Antoniou

 “My son needs sleep, too groggy too early to learn. ” - Sue De Chiara

 “Medical and research data shows that teenagers benefit from extra hours of sleep. Teenagers perform better in academics and in sports when they are well rested. There is also evidence that teenagers focus better in school with later start times. Based on these findings I support school start time of 8:30am or later in grades 7-12.” - Shilpi Sahay

 “Well rested children perform better in school and in after-school activities. Melatonin is released later for adolescents, so sleeping during those crucial pre-dawn hours impacts a teenager's well being and even mental health. We should all want our students to feel alert and optimistic about life because this benefits our whole community. Well being at this age can have lifelong implications. The students of New Canaan continually make our town proud in academic, athletic, and civic accomplishments. As residents, we should all want to do this for them. Other high performing districts across the country are already out in front of this. California recently passed a bill requiring middle schools and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30. Let's get this done!” - Shauna Culliss

 “Our 3 teens are so tired!” - Kierstin Robertson

 “A later start time is healthy and appropriate for the high school years. Please prioritize the overall health (especially the mental health) of these kids.” - Corinna Taubner

 “The science on adequate sleep and health is pretty clear: adequate sleep contributes to better academic performance, healthier weight, and mental health benefits including reduced stress and improved mood. Circadian rhythm adjustments in adolescence are also well known. Teens need 7+ hours of sleep and coupled with circadian rhythm changes (alert wake times and sleepy low attention times), it may be challenging for them to get that sleep time on the current school schedule.” - Jill Castle MS, RD

 “I’ve noticed my son can’t wake up in the morning and he can’t fall asleep before 9pm. He’s moody and it takes 2 classes before he is awake in school.” - Karen Jahns

 “My daughter has had a difficult time adjusting to the earlier start time, she is not the happy go lucky girl she used to be and doesn’t look forward to school anymore.” - Diane Lowman

 “Lunch is at 10:30! And my child is exhausted with sports, school work etc. It is too much at 11 and 12 years old. Also, all three of my kids are getting less sleep and coming down with more illnesses than ever.” - Toni Brousseau

 “In order to catch the school bus, my child has to get up at 6am every school day. It is way too early for a kid to start his/her day at that hour. In the meantime, there is more homework for the 7th grade. Staying up late and getting up early is not healthy for a kid at this age group. Even adults will be tired in the long term. Please let the bus come at the 6th graders’ time.” - Trin Jian

 “This issue is important to me because my child is tired! Difficult to get up in the morning, he walks around with a blank stare in the am. He is slow in processing what I’m saying and getting ready. This is a totally different school year experience and the only major change is start time! Every morning he asks if he can stay home and go back to bed. He has never done that before. He is much more stressed and doesn’t problem solve like he normally does. He has always spoke about school positively, not this year. We know our child and see that this change is truly affecting him. My husband and I were just talking about it this morning and then I opened the email about this petition. I honestly liked the idea of them going and getting out of school early but in reality it just is not working!!” - Carol Baird

 “The early start time means my daughter is exhausted every morning. She goes to bed early but as she continues to get older it will be harder and harder for her to get enough sleep.” - Jeanne Collins

 “6:32am bus?! Practices until 9pm?! The insanity needs to end. (While my elementary school kids have about 2 full hours of active, awake time in the morning before their 9am start time). It just makes sense.” - Dawn Doak

 “My 7th grade daughter has made the switch to the earlier start time and her bus picks her up at 6:38am, which means she wakes up at 5:30am to get ready, grab her things and wait down for the bus so she doesn't miss it. This is unfortunate. She comes home hungry, because "lunch" is at 10:30am, and tired.” - Lydia Kremer

 “It is imperative that our children are able to get enough sleep for their overall health. They need more time to rest and recharge from the strenuous academic and extracurricular schedules” - Caley Sayre

 “As a full time working / commuting (Single) mom .. the bus is not an option as 6:30 am is NOT a viable time for a 15 year old to go to school. So I am forced to drive him, making me take a later train to work ... and adding insult to injury I am STILL sending him to school asleep !!” - MEREDITH BERGMAN

 “Sleep is vital to our children’s health and academic performance. The current 7:30am start time is too early for children and teens.” - Philip Daddona

 “Given that the major medical associations and scientific evidence support health benefits from later start times for grades 7-12, our family hopes that New Canaan will also follow the lead of many other successful school districts across the country in figuring out a way for later school start times to benefit our children.” - Anne Schimmeck

 “My child just started fifth grade this year and it is a real struggle to get her out of bed early enough to catch a bus in the morning. Looking forward to high school I can’t imagine trying to get her to a bus stop by 6:45 AM. It’s almost cruel.” - Keely Norton

 “A later start time will help health and academics.” - Kristin Levene

 “This issue is important to me for many health and education reasons but in part because I have heard my HS granddaughter wish many times - “...if only school started even just 1/2 hour later, it would be sooo good and I would feel so much less tired and ready for the day.” Her cousins and many of her sports teammates from other towns around us are already benefitting from the switch to the later start.” - Diana Sweitzer

 “Sleep is a priority over sports and even academics! Without enough sleep, kids can’t optimally perform in school and athletics. The start times for school are way too early and are detrimental to their health.” - Melissa Baker

 “This is important to me to ensure my kids are healthy and operate at their best ability at school.” - Shannon Rock

 “Every parent with a school age child wants this!!!” - Carolyn Turiano

 “I am very concerned about inadequate sleep for our teens during a high development period. Other districts have adopted later start times in response to much research on the topic. It is important we make this change ASAP. Larger and smaller districts have been able to make this happen by putting the needs of their students first and recognizing that this is important for current and future health.” - Angela Wilson

 “The early start time in middle school has directly impacted our child’s health in terms of both physical and mental fatigue, as well as his diet.  We have seen doctors, implemented an earlier bedtime, allowed a heavy snack after school to help counterbalance his 10 am school lunch, and have prohibited electronics in the bedroom -- all of which have helped.  However, we firmly believe more time in the morning would positively affect his overall mental and physical health.  Thank you.” - Mary and Michael Maechling

 “Our children need more time to sleep and allow their brains to grow!” - Jennifer Gage