Community Information Event on School Start Times is September 18

The Board of Education’s Steering Committee for the School Start Times Project will host a community information event featuring speaker Dr. Jennifer Papa Kanaan on Monday, September 18, at 7 p.m. at the East Ridge Middle School auditorium. She will present the latest medical research on the importance of adolescent sleep and how it is being applied to the issue of healthy start times for Ridgefield’s students.

Dr. Kanaan earned her medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and is board-certificated in internal medicine, pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. As a mother of four young children, including a set of twins, she has a special interest in pediatric and adolescent sleep. Dr. Kanaan is a practicing physician at UCONN Medical Center and gives presentations and interviews throughout the region on the importance of sleep in both children and adults.

Over the last year the Board of Education has been reviewing reports by the American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and other experts that report that high school students should begin school no earlier than 8:30 a.m.  Our current high school begins at 7:25 a.m.  In light of the research and the community concerns it raised, the BOE created a Steering Committee to study the options available to Ridgefield not only for our high school students but also for the elementary and middle school students.  The Board of Education plans to make a decision in October based on the recommendations of the committee and the results of student, teacher and parent surveys to be conducted in the next few weeks.  Changes would become effective in the 2018-19 school year.  

“It is critically important that we share the science and research related to adolescent health and sleep with the larger community,” Dr. Baldwin said.  “The Board of Education and the District Steering Committee are working diligently to support a decision making timeline this fall for possible implementation in the 2018-2019 school year, and the education of the community is critical to this process.”

The Steering Committee includes Board of Education Chairperson Frances Walton, Vice Chair Jim Keidel, and BOE members David Cordisco and Margaret Stamatis, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Baldwin, District Business Manager Paul Hendrickson, RHS Principal Dr. Stacey Gross, RHS Assistant Principal Jennifer Phostole, RHS Athletic Director Dane Street, SRMS Principal Tim Salem, RHS Student Life Coordinator Daniela Silvestri, Teachers Mary Ellen Foley, Jennifer Roth, and Michael Fraoli, Joint Council of PTA President Tina Malhotra and Joint Council of PTA Member Deidre Basile, parents Carina Drake, Angie Breitenbach, Colleen Broderick, Sandra Griffin, and Jean Macaluso, National PTA Representative Donald Romoser, Denise Qualey of Kids in Crisis, School Medical Advisor Dr. Jim Ahern,  Ridgefield Education Foundation’s Pam Banks, Sean Connelly of the Board of Finance, Mike Flynn of the Boys and Girls Club, Robin Matthews and Andrea Maiorano of Ridgefield Parks and Recreation, Cheryl Krauchick of First Student Transportation, and RHS Students Matthew Sorgie and Annabel Briody.  The Project Manager is Jonathan Costa, of EdAdvance, a consulting firm based in Danbury, Ct.

East Ridge Middle School is located at 10 East Ridge Road.

For additional information, you may contact Dr. Karen Baldwin, Superintendent of Ridgefield Public Schools at (203) 894-5550, Ext. 1200.


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