Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Program

​During the 2016 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 39, which established the Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours program. The purpose of this program is to recognize a local school system that creates, implements, and enforces school start times that are consistent with the school start times recommended by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Under this program, MSDE will grant the appropriate Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification to a local school system that meets the requirements of the program.

Qualifications

Level 1: Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification

To qualify for an Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification, a local school system may not have:

  • An elementary school that requires a student to: 1) be in class before 8:00 a.m.; and 2) board a school bus before 7:00 a.m.; or
  • A middle or high school that requires a student to: 1) be in class before 8:30 a.m.; and 2) board a school bus before 7:30 a.m.


In addition, a local school system shall:

  • Conduct at least two targeted and televised public education forums for students, parents, teachers, and school staff on the necessity of healthy school start times, the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, and the health and safety impact of aligning school start times with adolescent  sleep patterns;
  • Inform teachers, parents, students, administrators, school staff, transportation providers, athletic directors, local business owners, coaches, child care providers, local employers of students, city or county agencies that provide services or opportunities to students, and organizations that use local school systems’ fields and facilities on a regular basis of the importance of healthy school start times; and
  • Engage the stakeholders listed above in conversations to discuss possible contraindications altering current school start times and notify the public and stakeholders of any changes to school start times.  


Level 2: Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Commended Certification

To qualify for an Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Commended Certification, a local school system shall:

  • Have established a school study task force within two years after the date of the local school systems application for initial certification or renewal of certification to review possible solutions for healthy school start times; and
  • Conduct at least two targeted and televised public education forums for students, parents, teachers, and school staff on the necessity of healthy school start times, the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, and the health and safety impact of aligning school start times with adolescent sleep patterns; or

  • Provide evidence of a plan to move the local school system toward meeting all of the requirements for the Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification.

In addition, a local school system shall:

  • Have implemented and maintained a school district-wide school time change that moved the school district schedule closer to the hours set forth in the requirements for Level 1 certification; and
  • Provide evidence progress toward meeting all of the requirements for the Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification.


Level 3: Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Honorable Mention Certification

To qualify for an Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Honorable Mention Certification, a local school system shall:

  • Have established a school study task force within two years after the date of the school systems application for initial certification or renewal of certification to review possible solutions for healthy school start times; and
  • Conduct at least two targeted and televised public education forums for students, parents, teachers, and school staff on the necessity of healthy school start times, the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, and the health and safety impact of aligning school start times with adolescent  sleep patterns; or

  • Provide evidence of a plan to move the school system toward meeting all of the requirements for the Orange Ribbon for Healthy School Hours Certification.