Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter- March 2017

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FOCUS: SLEEP!

This month's Expanding Our Notion of Success newsletter focuses on sleep. Sleep is important for growth, immune response, and learning and memory!


How much sleep do students need? Research recommends . . .
  • adolescents younger than 13 years get at least 10 hours of sleep per night
  • adolescents 13 and older get at least 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night.


The more sleep students reported getting, the more engaged they were likely to be in their learning. Our February newsletter focused on student engagement. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Challenge Success Partnership

In the spring of 2016, ABRSD entered into a partnership with Challenge Success, out of Stanford University. Challenge Success aims to "provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids." The team at Challenge Success collaborates with educators, families, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.


In April 2016, we administered the Challenge Success survey to students in grades 6-12.

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Grades 6-8 Challenge Success Data: Sleep

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Student Health and Well-Being (Grades 6-8)

We asked students to report whether they had or had not experienced difficulty sleeping in the 30 days prior to the survey. Approximately 48% of students surveyed experienced exhaustion, headaches, and difficulty sleeping in the past month.


Research recommends that adolescents younger than 13 years get at least 10 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain health. On average, students reported getting about a little more than 7 ¾ hours of sleep per night (minimum hours reported= <3 hours, maximum= 12.00 hours, SD= 1.40). 22% of students in grades 6-8 reported going to bed at 11:00 pm or later.


Student School Stress and Academic Worry (Grades 6-8)

31% of participants reported that schoolwork often or always kept them from getting enough sleep.


Student Voice (Grades 6-8)

On open-ended questions, students in grades 6-8 shared the following sentiments about sleep:

  • “The lack of sleep leaves me tired and stressed about almost everything I do. I lose opportunities, get poorer grades, and am just not ‘with it’.”
  • “Just finding a general balance between academics, activities, health, sleep, and social life stresses me out. I try to be on top of myself and do my best in everything that I can in preparation for the future, but I often find myself sleep deprived and overwhelmed.”

Grade 9-12 Challenge Success Data: Sleep

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Student Health and Well-Being (Grades 9-12)

We asked students to report whether they had or had not experienced difficulty sleeping in the 30 days prior to the survey. Approximately 64% of students surveyed experienced difficulty sleeping in the past month. Additionally, 4.9% of students in grades 9-12 at the high school level indicated that not getting enough sleep causes additional stress.


Research recommends that adolescents get 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain health. On average, students reported getting a little more than 6 ½ hours of sleep per night (minimum hours reported= <3 hours, maximum= 12 hours, SD=1.21). 44% of students reported going to bed at 11:30 pm or later.


On average, students taking none or 1 AP course reported getting significantly more sleep than students taking 2 or more AP courses.


On average, students taking 3 or more Advanced Enriched courses reported getting significantly more sleep than students taking 1 or no Advanced Enriched courses.


Student School Stress and Academic Worry (Grades 9-12)

64% of participants reported that schoolwork often or always kept them from getting enough sleep.


Student Voice

On open-ended questions, students in grades 6-8 shared the following sentiments about sleep:


  • The combined effort of keeping up with homework, studying for exams, as well as extracurricular activities - and a poor sleep schedule as a result of these things causes me the most stress.”
  • “When I get home, I am usually tired and need to complete homework. Sometimes this can keep me up late at night, and I don't get enough sleep to feel completely rested the next day.”

Challenge Success Mantra

At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. We provide families and schools with the practical, research-based tools they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.

Video Resources

Science of Sleep with Dr. Kirsty Kerin

Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed

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Books to Consider

Executive Functioning and Resilience

Tuesday, March 7th, 7-9pm

RJ Grey Auditorium: 16 Charter Road, Acton, MA 01720

The term Executive Function is used to describe the above skill set of goal setting, carrying out organized steps and modifying a plan to complete a task successfully.

These skills are important for learning from past experiences and applying this knowledge to new experiences. Attention, memory, impulse control, organization, planning, sensing time and hierarchical thinking are the executive function based skills that enable an individual to learn, generalize behaviors and complete tasks.

Young children rely on these skills to follow a sequence of instructions for daily tasks, while older children need these skills to "break a task down" into a sequence of steps and organize a time line as the demands for independent learning increases.

This is a practical strategies seminar. A new view of task execution will be presented, then the majority of the presentation will be dedicated to providing parents with functional tools to improve the executive function skills by strengthening working memory, forethought skills, impulse control, cognitive flexibility, organization, and time/task management. These tools are hands-on and are designed to be readily implemented to see immediate improvement and long term development of these key skills.

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP of Cognitive Connections has over 23 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of developmental and acquired brain-based learning and executive function difficulties. Sarah is an internationally recognized expert on executive function and presents seminars and workshops on the programs and strategies she has developed with her Co-Director Kristen Jacobsen