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Lower Merion School District


Sleep & School Start Times

Upcoming Events -    Community Listening Sessions scheduled  to take place:

  1. December 8, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the Academy Building (adjacent to BCMS) - 510 Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bala Cynwyd
  2. December 9, 2019 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. in the District Administration Offices Board Room - 301 E. Montgomery Avenue in Ardmore
  3. December 9, 2019 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Harriton High School's Large Group Instruction (LGI) Room - 600 N. Ithan Avenue in Rosemont
  4. December 17, 2019 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Lower Merion High School's Large Group Instruction (LGI) Room - 315 E. Montgomery Avenue in Ardmore

Research and Development Workgroup on Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time

Background: Over the past several years, much attention has focused on delaying the start of the school day as a way to address chronic sleep loss in adolescents. The biological changes that youth undergo with the onset of puberty lead to a shift in circadian rhythms, pushing the onset of sleepiness later into the evening than either children or adults – about 11:00 p.m. Given the recommendations for adolescents to sleep 8-10 hours per night, a bedtime of 11:00 p.m. should ideally be coupled with a wakeup time of no earlier than 7:00-7:30 a.m., depending on the length of time it takes to fall asleep with a bedtime of 11:00 p.m. These biological patterns are in conflict with early school start times, leading several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), to recommend that middle and high school start times begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

The Lower Merion School District has been    examining the feasibility of shifting school start times to align with these recommendations. An administrative committee initiated as a Research and Development (R & D) Committee through the All Forward   strategic plan has been working to collect information that will be needed by the Lower Merion Board of School Directors to understand the research surrounding this topic, learn from the experiences of other school districts, and consider relevant factors related to the unique context of the Lower Merion School District.

The presentation on October 24, 2019, included a recommendation to make middle school and high school start later, and elementary  school start earlier, beginning in September 2020. All community members were invited to the presentation. A video of the meeting will also be posted in the Board section of the District website within 5 business days, once it can be closed captioned/made ADA compliant.

Please note, the Board will not vote on the recommendation at this meeting. In the coming weeks and months, the  District will be hosting a number of Community Listening Sessions and sending out a survey to gather stakeholder feedback on the recommendation. In addition, community members are invited to share their input via email to The Board will consider this input prior to voting in the Spring.

The infographic here provides an overview of the recommendation and the process that led up to it, along with an explanation of its potential benefits and challenges. Please review it carefully. Additional information is available at

Informational updates from the All Forward Research and Development Committee’s Workgroup on Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time: 

To view more information on the Interschool Council (ISC) page, click here.