I am a parent of a Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) teenage high school student. About 3 years ago, I became aware of research connecting early school start times with serious health and safety issues for teenagers. Since 50% of the CPS high schools start as early as 7:30am, I was concerned that our high school kids were at risk. I joined a committee of dedicated parents to see if we could move all CPS high schools to a healthy start time.
Many on the committee are doctors involved in various aspects of pediatric medicine. We leveraged their medical expertise to convince the CPS Board of Education, CPS Administration, and parent community that the science supporting healthy start times for high schools is sound. Drawing on my Business Analysis experience, my role was to present research at CPS board meetings, analyze data and try to gain support in the community. This included reaching out to Mayor John Cranley’s office about the seriousness of this issue. The mayor’s office was convinced by our petition, and they responded by writing a letter of support to the CPS school board.
Mayor Cranley’s letter to the Board of Education states, “Cincinnati deeply values opportunities to improve our school system. I hope that (the Board of Education) will consider working with the School Start Time initiative to find a pragmatic solution that benefits our children, recognizing that our students are our future, and that we must cater to their needs to ensure we develop the qualified leaders of Cincinnati for decades to come.”