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School Start Time Subcommittee

Watch the video: School Committee Meeting, Jan. 19, 2017
(Courtesy of Holliston Cable Access Television)
The Holliston School Committee is evaluating several options designed to better align the school day for optimal learning, while improving the health and well being of our students. This effort was a specific recommendation of the Superintendent’s Task Force on Student Stress that examined multiple sources of data about the sleep habits of our Middle and High School students.

The School Start Time Subcommittee began its work by examining the wealth of research on the optimal sleep cycles of teens and on the specific recommendation to better-align the start times of middle and high school to that optimal sleep cycle

The Subcommittee learned through its research that re-aligning start times brought with it its own set of challenges, particularly in the areas of scheduling after-school sports and activities and the impact that any change would have on school bus transportation, community traffic patterns, before and after-school child care and family routines. Most of these impacts are unique to the community and require considerable study and analysis before determining the best course of action for Holliston.

Recognizing that there are a number of factors that are unique to Holliston and unalterable (the geography and traffic-patterns of our community, the location and grade-structure of our schools and the number of hours between sunrise and sunset in early winter days), the Subcommittee developed three scenarios that would account for those factors and, at the same time, provide for a moderate adjustment to our middle and high school start times. The cost factors (related to transportation) were also reviewed. School administrators were interviewed and shared their feedback on the scenarios under consideration.

In May 2017, the Subcommittee issued a comprehensive survey to students, staff and parents and compiled and analyzed those survey results over the course of fall 2017. On November 28, 2017 the Subcommittee presented a summary of their work to the Holliston School Committee and the School Committee asked the Subcommittee to continue to explore this topic with an understanding that any changes, if any, to school start times resulting from this study would be implemented NO EARLIER than the 2019-2020 school year.