March 22 2016
Superintendent Conti, School Committee, Discuss Possibilities of Later Start Times for High School
By: Rich Hosford
Burlington High School students may get to sleep a little later each morning in the next few years.
During Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting Superintendent Eric Conti said the members of the Middlesex League of Superintendents, made up of school leaders across the county, has decided to discuss the possibility of later start times for high schools.
“We would like to see start times between 8 and 8:30 a.m. within the next two to three years,” Conti told the committee.
The reason the league is considering the change is because of a lot of data show that traditional school start times for high schools have adverse health effects on teenagers. They also add to stress levels of students.
Conti emphasized that at this time this is just a discussion and that no decision will be made until after a lot of consideration. He said one reason the league wanted to take it up is because it would be easier for everyone if all the schools in the area decided to make the change, therefore lessening conflicts on things like sports and other after-school activities.
Committee Chairman Christine Monaco said the school department should do a survey with parents to get their impact as part of the process. Members also raised the need to get input from the teacher’s union. Other issues, such as bus transportation, high school students’ outside obligations such as work and babysitting younger siblings, would also have to be examined.
“I’ll stress again, we are not changing anything,” he said. “What we’ve committed to starting a conversation about it. If we go through the process and keep everything the same that’s perfectly okay with me. I just wanted everyone to know we are aware of the research and as a group we’re committed to having this conversation.”
School Committee members said they were happy this was being looked at.
“We’ve been having a discussion over the last couple of years,” Kristin Russo said. “We value our children’s health and education but without their health we can’t educate them as well. I’m glad to see the superintendents working together on this.”