School Start Times Initiative

School Start Time Image

The Andover School Committee voted to change start times at their June 17, 2021 School Committee meeting. New start times take effect when school begins in the fall for the 2021-22 school year. 

For the 2021-22 school year, start time for Andover High will remain at 8:15 a.m., middle schools will move 30 minutes later to the same 8:15 a.m. start, and elementary school times will shift 15 minutes later to begin at 9:00 a.m.  These times were developed from extensive stakeholder feedback, and attempt to balance the benefits of later start times for middle and high school students with the goal of minimizing schedule impacts on elementary families.

More information on the vote can be found here

APS School Start Times - Background

Throughout the pandemic, we have heard from many across the community with concerns about student well-being and mental health, and the importance of making evidence-based decisions informed by science. We share in these concerns and continue to support efforts that put students first in Andover Public School policies and operations.

In 2018, the district began examining the issue of school start times based on the recommendation of many professional medical organizations* that start times be delayed to 8:30 AM for adolescents in response to biological changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms during this stage of development. The key value of this initiative is to provide the opportunity for a positive impact on student well-being, and enhancing physical and mental health.


Options for changing start times have been extensively studied by the district over the past three years and we appreciate the enormous amount of feedback that has already been provided through the start time working group, parent advisory group, community forums, school-based meetings with families and students, at school committee meetings, in email and other communications. 


During the pandemic, Andover High School shifted its start time from 7:45 AM to 8:15 AM because the district was unable to bus students in grades 9 to 12. Bus transportation will be restored for all grade levels next year, returning to a traditional level of service. This will necessitate a consolidation from the current three tiers of start times (7:45 AM at middle schools, 8:15 AM at high school, 8:45 AM at elementary schools) to return to two tiers of transportation in the fall.


This proposal was developed from stakeholder feedback received to date, and attempts to balance the scientifically proven benefits of later start times for middle and high school students with the goal of minimizing schedule impacts on elementary families. Other options considered and discussed with stakeholders included "flipping" elementary and secondary start times. The pros and cons of various scenarios are summarized in the June 2020 report of the Start Time Working Group


Thank you,

SKMc signature jpg

Susan K. McCready

Chairperson, Andover School Committee 

*Professional medical organizations that recommend later start times for adolescents include: American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Academy of Sleep MedicineAmerican Academy of Sleep TechniciansAmerican Medical AssociationAmerican Psychological AssociationAmerican Sleep AssociationAmerican Thoracic SocietyCenters for Disease ControlNational Association of School NursesNational Parent Teacher AssociationNational Sleep FoundationSociety of Behavioral Medicine, and Society of Pediatric Nurses.

School Start Times Update- May 2021

The Andover School Committee held a discussion and updated the community with a presentation on start times at the May 20, 2021 meeting.  

Previous School Start Times Updates

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.

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