The county’s two school systems and area pastors are teaming up to emphasize the need for young students to get enough sleep to succeed in school.

The education and faith communities are “uniting to focus on the importance of sleep and bedtime routines for our students and their academic success” with an initiative called Families That Flourish, said Bartow County Schools Superintendent Phillip Page.

Cartersville City Schools Superintendent Marc Feuerbach said, “Maintaining a daily routine that includes a consistent bedtime is highly important for healthy development and helps give children the foundation they need to be successful.

“We appreciate the community’s support in promoting such a vital, necessary initiative.”

David Franklin, a member of the Community Prosperity Council, said his team did not fully understand the importance of sleep in children until speaking with officials in the Cartersville City and Bartow County school systems.

“It became obvious that this needed to be a community initiative,” Franklin said in a news release. “There was total agreement that a community initiative like this would help our whole community, and it was the right thing to do.

“When we work together, we can make our community better,” he said. “This is a small first step that we hope will lead to tackling larger challenges.”

Members of the local faith community will begin the initiative by showing video messages featuring Cartersville City and Bartow County superintendents during their churches’ worship services Sunday, Jan. 12, stated a news release from the Bartow County School System.

The following day and throughout the week, elementary school educators countywide “will continue the important discussion of sleep and bedtime routines” and send home useful information for parents to consider.

On Sunday, Jan. 19, participating area pastors plan to once again highlight healthy families and the academic impact of this initiative during their Sunday sermons.

Cartersville City Schools spokesperson Cheree Dye said the system’s elementary and primary school teachers will send information home with students.

They also will tell their students at times throughout the day the reasons for needing enough sleep, Dye said.

Research has shown “sleep is the building block of healthy brain development and significantly impacts children’s behavior, health and well-being,” the Bartow school system release stated.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend students ages 5 to 12 get more than 10 hours of sleep each night.

Those that do get that amount of sleep retain about 50% more information the following day, the news release stated.

Cloverleaf Elementary School Principal Evie Barge said, “I hope our families are cognizant that the school staff cares deeply for their children and that we are in this together.

“It is a team effort with the outcome being the happiness and success of the children,” Barge said.

Page said the sleep initiative was “another opportunity to partner with the Community Prosperity Council and our faith community” after working with them to provide community volunteers for the school system’s elementary reading program called Read to Grow.

The reading program allows the volunteers to help some Bartow first-grade students who may be struggling to achieve test scores which place them on reading levels required by the state.

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