LPS Community Report Spring 2019

Student Mental Health a Top Priority Student mental health remains a key focus of the Lexington Public Schools. In addition to offering district- based supports and services, we partner with the community as a member of Lexington’s Mental Health & Wellness Task Force, which coordinates town-wide identification, prevention, and intervention efforts.

INTERFACE Service Offered The new William James INTERFACE Refer- ral Service is free to all LPS students and parents. Access the INTERFACE website at interface.williamjames.edu/community/lexington . In addition to the resources on its web- site, INTERFACE maintains a mental health Helpline, open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm, at 888-244-6843 . This is a free, confidential service that matches callers with licensed mental health pro- viders according to their individual needs.

LPS Leaders Learn “QPR” School administrators recently attended a workshop about depression and anxiety led by Jon Mattleman, a Certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Trainer. Par- ticipants learned to recognize the warning signs of self-harm and suicide and built skills to identify and support young peo- ple in distress. One of the most important lessons participants took away from the training was to remember to use these three simple words: “Tell me more.”

School Committee Approves Later School Start in 2020 In December 2018, the Lexington School Committee unanimously voted for a later school start to be implemented in fall 2020. Specifically, the plan is to: (1) shift the start time at LHS to 45 minutes later;

(2) shift the start times at all elementary schools to 15 minutes later; and (3) reduce the length of the middle school day by ten minutes, making it consistent with the six hour, 40 minute day at the high school. Factors influencing this decision included: • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting high school at 8:30 am or later to combat sleep deprivation; • LHS students currently report a nightly average of 7 hours of sleep, while re- search indicates that 8-10 hours is opti- mal for health, safety, and achievement; • Inadequate sleep in teens leads to in- creased risks of accidental injuries, car- diovascular disease, and depression. The School Committee would like to thank the School Start Times Task Force for their work on this important initiative.

“Parents of high school students don’t need to be told that waking up teenagers for an early start to the school day is no easy task. Recogniz- ing that biology is re- sponsible for this, we adopted an earlier start for LHS, moving from

7:45-8:30. We are now engaged in planning for implementation in September 2020. Our most important job is representing students and making decisions that contribute to their health and wellbeing, and it’s exciting to see this important change come to fruition.” -Kathleen Lenihan, School Committee

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