- School Committee
- School Start Times Initiative
School Start Times Initiative
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.
Susan K. McCready
Chairperson, Andover School Committee
*Professional medical organizations that recommend later start times for adolescents include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Sleep Technicians, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Sleep Association, American Thoracic Society, Centers for Disease Control, National Association of School Nurses, National Parent Teacher Association, National Sleep Foundation, Society 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.
- Video of May 20, 2021 School Committee meeting (discussion begins at 1:33:00)
- School Start Times presentation, May 20, 2021
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.
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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.
Survey Visual Analysis Presentation to School Committee- September 2019 Opens a New Window.
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.
Forum Presentations 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
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.