Dear Newton Families,
Since Fall 2015, the district has been engaged in a thorough exploration of later start times for Newton high schools. This work was predicated on the significant research demonstrating the importance of adequate sleep for adolescents at appropriate times. Surveys of students, faculty, and families, as well as input from other stakeholders, led to the formulation of six potential scenarios. Feedback on those scenarios was gathered and analyzed this fall and shared over the past few months.
The feedback was clear. There is support for a later start time, but that support is tempered by the impact to end times. End times after 3:00 p.m. create significant challenges as they encroach upon important student activities, as well as the schedules of families and faculty.
Given that we feel it is important to continue to pursue later start times, we need to take the following next steps:
Revising a high school schedule is no small task. It is an incredibly complex process that must be done thoughtfully and carefully in order to meet the needs of students and staff. This is especially complicated given the trade-offs that will need to be considered to shorten the day. To that end, we expect the process of revising our high school schedules to take two years.
Start times are an important piece in our overall commitment to the social and emotional health of our students. The work conducted over the past year and a half has been invaluable in understanding the impact of later high school start times on the entire Newton community. We are committed to taking this next step and look forward to engaging with the community as we proceed.
Superintendent of Schools