School Start Times Study
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.
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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.
Previous Community Forums & Workshops:
In the fall of 2019, the School Committee held various forums and opportunities to hear from the community:
- A school committee meeting was held on November 21 at 7:00 pm in the School Committee conference room on the 2nd floor of the School Administration Building (36 Bartlet St.).
- A public forum exclusively dedicated to start times was held on Wednesday, October 16 at 7:00 pm in the Library/Media Center at Andover High School.
- All School Committee meetings during October and November included start times as an agenda item. The meetings were held on October 10 Opens in New Window , October 24 Opens in New Window , and November 5 Opens in New Window .
- School Committee informal forums were held each month during the 2019-20 School Year at Memorial Hall Library. At these forums, two committee members were available for discussion of any matter within the Committee’s authority, including start times.
- Read Opens in New Window the September 26, 2019 update from Joel Blumstein, School Committee Chairman.Opens a New Window.
- Andover TV Broadcast of School Committee Workshop- September 18, 2019 Opens a New Window.
- May 22, 2019 at 7 p.m.- at Doherty Middle School Opens a New Window.
- June 11, 2019 at 7 p.m.- West Middle School
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.
Additional Resources and Reading:
- Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations Opens a New Window.
- Start School Later website Opens a New Window.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Schools Start Too Early Opens a New Window.
- TED Talk with Wendy Troxel: Why School Should Start Later for Teens Opens a New Window.
Your feedback is important. Please email: email@example.com