Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal

Welcome to SLEEP in Fairfax

SLEEP Goal:To increase awareness of teen sleep needs and to change Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) middle and high school start times to later in the morning. Research shows that later start times correspond with teen sleep needs and improve health, quality of life, and school performance.

The effort to change Fairfax County Public School start times by parents concerned about the health impact of too-early high school start times on adolescent students has been going on for at least 10 years. SLEEP was started in January 2004 by Sandy Evans and Phyllis Payne. Momentum is building for a change. We need your continuing support to finally accomplish the goal of so many parents for so long. To learn more about the history of this issue in Fairfax, please visit the History page.

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News Updates

Announcement January 2014

Children’s National Medical Center To Provide Status Report on the Blueprint for Change on January 13 th during the School Board Work Session.

FCPS is partnering with health and policy experts from Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) to work with FCPS leadership and stakeholders to develop a "Blueprint for Change". Visit for more information.

What can you do to advocate for appropriate school start times for all FCPS students?

1. Attend or speak at the public hearing on the FCPS Budget, Monday, January 27 th, Jackson Middle School (evening meeting).
2. Remain engaged and encourage friends and neighbors to join our efforts by signing the petition or volunteering to help. 
3. Join other organizations on record supporting the positive impact that later morning school schedules have on teen sleep:
    • Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Medical Society of Northern Virginia
    • Northern Virginia Clinical Psychologists
    • Virginia PTA
    • Fairfax County Council of PTA's 
    • League of Women Voters-Fairfax Area
    • Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT)
    • FCPS School Health Advisory Committee  
    • Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform
    • Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition (9-5-2-1-0 Campaign) 
    • Real Food For Kids
    • Coalition of the Silence
4.Share Information: Increasing awareness about benefits of later morning start times to the health, well-being, safety, and performance of our children is one common theme of successful efforts to shift start times. Download and print paper copies to share with friends and colleagues:

2013 Back-to-school Flyer

Flyer* for middle and high school

Flyer for elementary sch. parents

  * 2 pages, meant to be copied back-to-back.


FCPS Goal To Start High Schools After 8:00 a.m.

Review SLEEP's research report about districts that start schools after 8:00 a.m. and information about change management and elements of success from other districts that shifted start times.

Key Points

  • 72 of 95 counties in Virginia start high schools at or after 8:00 a.m. while Fairfax County students start boarding buses at 5:45 a.m. for a 7:20 high school start time.
  • Loudoun County high schools start at 9:00 a.m. and dismiss at 3:50 p.m. It is possible to have later dismissal times and competitive sports & activities. See p. 2, 2013 Back-to-school Flyer
  • Districts with start times like ours have significantly higher teen car crash rates. Driving drowsy is like driving drunk.
  • 1 in 4 Fairfax teens suffers from symptoms of depression.
  • 2 in 3 Fairfax teens are severely sleep deprived (lose 2 or more hours of sleep every school night).
  • Teens with later school start times sleep more than teens in Fairfax County.
  • Change is cost effective. According to Brookings Institute economists, lifetime earnings increase for students with later start times – benefits:costs are 9:1.
  • Adequate sleep improves learning, memory, mood, and performance in school, athletics and other extracurricular activities.

Click on the link to hear a bit of wisdom from Ben Stein quoting Frank Wright, University of Chicago economist: "Never waste any time you can spend sleeping ". Stein also notes the "insanely early hours" at which kids have to go to school.

Please join the Official SLEEP in Fairfax County Facebook group.



Previous SLEEP website annoucements are available on the History page:

NSF's Great American Sleep Challenge

7 Days of Sleep and Alertness

SLEEP on the CBS Morning Show-click here

At the February 2, 2007 budget hearing. Katarina Berger, Lee Pyramid Coordinator, provided a light moment with the poem, Revise the Rule which some School Board members promisedto post in their offices as inspiration.

Contact SLEEP at

SLEEP in Fairfax
Email the Webmaster (for web page issues only)