School Start Times Study

School Start Time Image

The School Committee is currently considering the implications of Andover school schedules on adolescents’ mental health and well-being, and potential impacts of changing school start times within the district. This webpage will serve as a place for resources and information for parents, faculty and staff. We encourage you to visit often. As the conversation continues, we will share updates here.  No changes in school start times will be implemented during the 2020/2021 school year. 

School Start Times Update- July 2020 

APS Assistant Superintendent Sandra Trach presented a School Start Time Summary Report to the School Committee at a meeting on June 25, 2020. The School Committee held a workshop on the School Start Times initiative on July 10, 2020.

Edulog Transportation Optimization Study for APS

APS engaged Edulog during the fall of 2019 to conduct an optimization study on their transportation data. The purpose of this routing analysis was to objectively evaluate existing bus routes and various tasks for timely, efficient, and cost effective transport of all students to and from their residence. Edulog presented their information at the November 21, 2019 School Committee meeting and provided a summary of the report’s findings is in the chart below. A printable version of the optimization study is also available.

Scenario Name

DescriptionDo some buses have double runs on a single tier? 
Buses added in scenario

Time between public school tiers

Elementary Bell

MS/HS Bell

If public school bell times change, is there an impact to private school bell times?
Private School Bell

Earliest bus pick-up AM

Latest bus drop-off PM

1. status quoelementary after middle/ highyes060 minutes8:45 AM7:45 AMyesno change6:43 AM (AHS/ DMS)4:23 PM (Mont-Pike
2. flipelementary before MS/ HSyes050 minutes7:40 AM8:30 AMyeseach 60 minutes earlier6:10 AM (Mont-Pike)3:49 PM (WHMS)
3. flipelementary before MS/HSno645 minutes7:45 AM8:30 AMyeseach 55 min earlier6:10 AM (Mont-Pike)3:49 PM (WHMS)
4A. shiftelementary after MS/HSno660 minutes9:15 AM8:15 AMyes30 minutes later (same as public school shift)7:15 AM (WHMS)4:43 PM (Mont- Pike)
4B. shiftelementary after MS/HS

no840 minutes9:15 AM8:35 AMyeseach 50 minutes later7:35 AM (WHMS)4:42 PM (Mont- Pike)
4C1. status quo (elementary/ shift MS/HS)elementary after MS/ HSno1040 minutes8:45 AM8:05 AMyesno change7:05 AM (WHMS)4:03 PM (South)
4C2. status quo or shiftelementary after MS/ HSno1340 minutes9:15 AM8:35 AMnono change, at private school discretion (busing separate from public schools)7:11 AM (Mont- Pike)4:28 PM (South)
5. Decouple MS and HSelementary, then middle, then HSImpractical- not evaluatedImpractical- not evaluated35 and 40 minutes7:15 AM7:50 AM/ 8:30 AMImpractical- not evaluatedImpractical- not evaluated6:24 AM (HPE & South)4:26 PM (Mont- Pike)
6A. flipelementary before MS/ HSno1145 minutes7:45 AM8:30 AMyeseach 10 minutes earlier7:00 AM (HPE & South4:10 PM (Mont-Pike)
6B. flipelementary before MS/ HSyes845 minutes7:45 AM8:30 AMnoeach 10 minutes earlier7 AM (HPE & South)3:54 PM (Mont- Pike)
6C. flipelementary before MS/ HSyes545 minutes7:45 AM8:30 AMnoSTA--45 min and Pike/ Mont +35 min to allow two-tier busing (separate from public schools)7 AM (HPE & South)4:38 PM (Mont- Pike)
6D. flipelementary before MS/ HSyes845 minutes7:45 AM8:30 AMnono change, at private school discretion (separate from public schools)7 AM (HPE & South)4:03 PM (Mont- Pike)

Since January 2020, the School Start Time Working Group has been analyzing a number of factors affecting potential options, including double bus runs, private school bell times, time between public school busing tiers, and the need for additional buses.

School Start Times Parent Advisory Council

APS has convened a School Start Times Parent Advisory Group to provide feedback for additional consideration to the School Start Times Working Group. The School Start Times Working Group thanks the community delegates for their contribution. 

Community Delegates
Andrew AdamsKathy Luz Cote
Lynn AndelmanDave Crow
John BarryKathleen Fergus
Nancy BuckleyMatthew Nigrelli
Charlene ClarkPatricia Rich
Vikas ChoudharyKate Squillacioti

Ruihua Yin

In June 2019, the School Start Time Working Group sent surveys inviting community feedback on the impact of school start times. 

Results are available at the links below. 

Survey Visual Analysis Presentation to School Committee- September 2019

Previous Community Forums & Workshops:

In the fall of 2019, the School Committee held various forums and opportunities to hear from the community: 

Forum Presentations


Over the past several years, Andover Public Schools, under the leadership of Dr. Berman, has built a formal strategic plan called the “Theory of Action.” 

The “Theory of Action” has a number of elements including a commitment that Andover students study a rigorous curriculum that drives academic growth. It also calls for consideration of students’ social, physical and emotional growth – in addition to academics.

Organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Education Association, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control all recommend school not start before 8:30 AM for middle and high school students.

These organizations’ research concludes that sleep impacts brain function, which helps us perform better whether we’re taking a test, driving a car, or regulating our emotions. Well-rested students perform better academically, make better judgments, and have less physical and mental health problems.

In Andover, our current start times are:

  • High School – 7:44 AM
  • Middle Schools- 7:45 AM
  • Elementary Schools- 8:45 AM
  • Shawsheen- 9 AM

The School Committee has asked district leadership to evaluate the impact of making a change to school start times that would allow middle & high school students more sleep. A small working group has been assembled to come up with logistical options, with the goal of making an overall positive impact on student well-being.

We understand and appreciate that scheduling changes are hard, and a decision to move start times would impact the lives of every Andover school family and staff member. Of course, there will be pros and cons to every schedule, and we will look forward to gaining feedback from the community once options are developed.

To begin our public outreach, in November 2018 we held a community discussion around this issue, joined by Dr. Judith Owens, director of Sleep Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Her presentation can be found here.