Late Start Task Force Reports

The Late Start Task Force made its report to the School Committee last night, and I wanted to share this information with you. This is a very important decision that will affect all our students. Below are two reports on two different scenarios.

Report on Impact of Changing Start Time: Scenario #1

Based on research on the impact of later start times for adolescents, the Melrose School Committee has requested the task force to consider two possible scenarios: a 35 min. shift in start times for all schools K­12 and a 35 min. shift for secondary schools with a slight shift to an earlier start time for elementary schools. The School Committee has requested the task force present the impact of such a shift.

35 Minute shift for all schools to a later start time would have the following impact:
Middle School: 8:15-­2:40
High School: 8:20­-2:45
Elementary Schools: 8:50­-2:57

Academic Schedules

  • MVMMS & MHS – see times above. Schedules would remain largely aligned and sharing of resources would continue
  • Elementary Start Time​­ – see above
  • ECC Start Time​­ – would not change and varying start times are used for varying programs
  • Required time frames for standardized testing­ – AP exams are required to start at
    8:00 AM and students and staff would need to make arrangements on those days.
  • Competency based learning​ -­ Shifting classes at the HS 35 minutes later would
    restrict the amount of time students would have to potentially complete required on HS campus morning classes before participating in off HS campus college institution classes. Online classes could be expanded to allow greater use of flexible time, but would also require staffing with flexible schedules or staggered work schedules which is subject to collective bargaining.
  • Consider Early Release times shifting to late start for secondary campus

Before School

  • Early Bird Programs at Elementary Schools -​­ Before school programs for Elementary students, which are all individually run by each school, would need to be prepared to handle an increased amount of students for a longer period of time. While most before school program enrollment does not exceed 30­40 students, the supervision is limited in time, typically about 30 minutes. If that quantity of
    students remains the same or even increases, the demand for staff and the need for a more structured and less supervisory program will result in an increased cost for parents. (approximately doubling the cost for those currently paying and adding a cost for those who never previously required it).
  • Middle School Before School/Breakfast -​­ The MS offers breakfast that is supervised by school staff in the café from 7:00­7:30 AM when students go to homeroom. The only cost is the cost of breakfast. With a later start time, more students would be expected during this time increasing the demand for supervision, this would require paying a staff member for additional time.
  • Extra Help and Enrichment Programs -​­ Before School options could potentially be expanded for extra help and enrichment programs for the elementary schools. For the secondary campus, for those students who are willing to come in early, clubs and activities could meet before school.
  • Family Schedules​­ – Families would obviously need to make considerations for dropping their children off for a longer period of time before school begins, or choosing to leave their children at home in the morning to come to school on their own. While some other families may need to adjust work start time based on school start time.
  • Breakfast Program​­ – Little impact would be expected and it may actually increase participation in MS and Lincoln breakfast program due to the increase of students at school before school begins.
  • Staff with before school child care obligations​­ – Staff might be able to lessen their need for before school care, while an increase in the need for afterschool care could become present.

​​After School

  • Education Stations Schedule​­ – The task force recognized this as an area of
    concern and need for the city and its residents. While school start time might change, parent and guardian work schedules do not. Educations Stations is prepared to handle a 35 Min. shift made to accommodate needs. This would likely have some decrease in revenue as a few parents would no longer need after school care, but that need/revenue would likely shift to before school care.
  • Professional Development​­ – This would shift 35 minutes later. Normally a 1 hour session would be 2:45­3:45PM for Elementary staff. These would then be finishing at 4:20 PM for 60 Min. sessions or 5:20 PM for 2 hour sessions.
  • Education Stations’ employees​­ – No impact on scheduling but reduced hours available to staff as program will run for 30 minutes less.
  • Faculty meetings and after school help​­ – Faculty meetings at the secondary campus would shift 35 minutes later. Elementary Staff meetings could discuss a before school options for some.
  • Extracurricular clubs and competition​­ – Student activities such as math teams and robotics teams would need to be dismissed from school around 2:00 PM in order to participate in most events, missing most of their last period class.
  • Students who work after school​­ – Students would see a reduction on work hours available to them as they simply cannot just shift their current schedules
  • Businesses that depend on student workers​­ – There seems to be little concern from the Business community about this.
  • Businesses that rely on student participants​­ – Karate, Dance, and other local businesses would see a loss in a time slot for most student groups, decreasing their current revenue with little opportunity to shift it or make up for it.
  • Staff with after school child care obligations -​­ Staff would need to make personal arrangements, incurring added costs
  • Staff attending graduate school and/or off site professional development​­ – Most graduate courses in education programs offered at area institutions begin at 4:30 PM, with some at 7 PM. The 4:30 PM time slot may become a barrier to staff, especially at the elementary level and on those days which require an after school meeting.
  • Staff with second jobs​­ – There would be an impact on staff with second jobs. In particular, those who coach in neighboring districts. Some staff may need to consider options and make choices.

Transportation

  • METCO transportation -​­ With a 35 minute shift, the METCO transportation
    schedule would likely need to remain unchanged. Given traffic patterns, the busses would need to still do pickup at the same time. There would be more than a 35 minute shift going home because of increased traffic in the afternoon given the route and destinations. This would have a negative impact on our METCO students as it would not allow them to benefit from added sleep and would have them returning home at a later time. The bus for MS/HS students starts its morning run at 6:30 AM and completes its current schedule around 4:00 PM. The Elementary bus begins its morning run at 6:40 AM and completes the afternoon run around 4:20 PM. A 35 minute shift would have those times in the afternoon estimated to be 4:45 PM for the MS/HS bus and 5:15 PM for the Elementary bus.
  • METCO Late Transportation – Van drivers use district vans to transport METCO students participating in HS after school athletics and activities. Currently, when students require transportation after 7PM, no drivers are available. An increase in students requiring transportation after 7PM would require additional drivers at greater cost or more students taking the T home.
  • SPED transportation -​­ A​pproximately 40 students are provided in district transportation and several more are transported outside of the district. Our Special Education office uses our district vehicles and drivers as much as possible, supplementing with contracted services for transportation from private companies for the remaining needs. The coordination of multiple runs per day to schools in the city and outside of the city is a matrix. Shifts in school starts times in district will impact the district’s ability to use district vehicles and drivers to transport students to out of district schools potentially causing a need for more contracted transportation. The transportation schedule changes every year, based on school placements so it is challenging to predict at this time what the exact impact would be.

Athletics/Facilities

  • Home games – ​­H​ome start times could shift a little later but this would then impact the use of facilities and fields by the community and recreation dept.
  • Practices -​­ Practices would shift 35 min. later and result in field and gym usage by community and recreation dept. as late as 7:45PM., particularly in winter and spring.
  • Away competitions and travel time​­ – O​ur buses are normally scheduled between 2:30 PM and 2:45 PM in order to make a 3:45 PM game or match. Bus times would have to be moved to 3:00 PM so that student/athletes would have enough time to get to the bus and coaches could fulfill their contractual obligations. It would be tight to arrive on time and allow student/athletes enough time to participate in a proper warm up. Away teams set their times in order to accommodate their community and recreational needs.
  • Daylight saving impact on fall sports​­ – D​aylight saving time would not impact the later dismissal time since we have lights on our playing fields.
  • Facility usage by community & Recreation Department programs at middle/high school facilities -​­ W​ith 35 Minute shift in end time for schools, the athletics and after school schedules would shift as well. This then moves the use of the same facilities by community groups, Recreation department and potential rentals of facilities to a later time, potentially losing rental income for the district. It is unlikely that community use of facilities could be shifted to before school to make up for any lost time. Youth groups are often the ones using the field and gyms later in the evening and it is doubtful the community would support elementary and middle school aged children out until 10 PM for athletics during the week. The groups have already expressed that they last time slot is as late as they could go which means not a 35 minute shift but rather a loss of one hour of community use as they would maintain their current end times (8PM or 9PM)
  • Current use of external facilities – ­ Swimming (boys) & Ice Hockey (boys and girls) ­ ​Start times for Boys Swimming is currently 2:30 PM at Melrose Y. This would need to be shifted with Melrose Y. Ice time for practices varsity hockey boys and girls begins at 3:00 PM and this may need to shift as well. Flynn Rink is used by regularly by Melrose, Winchester, and Medford. A committee exists for managing ice time priority.

Contractual Implications

  • Crossing Guards Schedules ­​- Schedules could be shifted but would require coordination with St. Mary’s and discussions with the DCR at the state level.
  • Union Contracts (teachers, paras, secretaries, drivers)​­ – All bargaining units would need to agree to such a change in time. There is currently little support by the MTA for such a change although none has been proposed or discussed formally. As with any contract change, it is subject to collective bargaining and therefore part of a negotiation.

Fiscal Implications

  • Building Rentals – ­​There would be a loss in building rental revenue as youth groups and recreation department programs would lose an hour off their programming opportunities in many gyms and fields due to later completion times of High School sports.
  • Education Stations­ – T​here would need to be a reduction in cost for offering 35 minutes less of programming. This would ultimately reduce the revenue generated by Ed. Stations for the district. Considerations for having Ed. Stations run before school programs could be reviewed but staffing would be altered, cost structure, etc. would need to be figured out. It is unlikely that any increase in before school programming would make up a difference for after school care decreases.

Middlesex League High School Start and Finish Times for 2015-­2016:

Arlington: 8:00-­2:26
Belmont: 7:35­-2:25
Burlington: 7:38­-2:00
Lexington: 7:45­-2:25
Melrose: 7:45­-2:09
Reading: 7:30­-2:11
Stoneham: 7:40-­2:26
Wakefield: 7:30­-2:05
Watertown: 7:55-­2:30
Wilmington: 7:40­-2:05
Winchester: 7:45­-2:15
Woburn: 7:30­-2:00

There are groups formulating in Reading, Winchester, and Belmont, in order to research and explore the possibilities of changing their secondary school start times. It is unknown about the progress of these groups.

When researching local school districts who have made changes to start later for secondary students, the following districts stood out for their recent changes. It should be noted that most of these High Schools previously began school between 7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.

  • Arlington High School: 8:00 a.m.–2:26 p.m.
  • Duxbury High School: Now 8:20 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
  • Hingham High School: Now 8 a.m.-2:32 p.m.
  • Marblehead High School: Now 7:55 a.m.-­2:30 p.m.
  • AMSA Charter School Marlborough starts its first class at 8:15 a.m. (homeroom at 8:05 a.m.).
  • Medway High School: Now 8:04 a.m.-2:31 p.m.
  • ​Nauset High School: Now 8:35 a.m.-2:57 p.m.
  • Sharon Public Schools: Now SHS 8:05 a.m. – 2:39 p.m. & SMS moved earlier to 7:40 a.m.­2:10 p.m

 

Report on Impact of Changing Start Time: Scenario #2

Based on research on the impact of later start times for adolescents, the Melrose School Committee has requested the task force to consider two possible scenarios: a ​35 min. shift in start times for all schools K-­12 a​nd a​ 35 min. shift for secondary schools with a slight shift to an earlier start time for elementary schools.​ The School Committee has requested the task force present the impact of such a shift.

35 Minute shift for secondary schools to a later start time but a slight shift to an earlier start time (7 Min.) for Elementary Schools would have the following impact.

Middle School: 8:15­-2:40
High School: 8:20-­2:45
Elementary Schools: 8:03­-2:30

Academic Schedules

  • MVMMS & MHS – ­​see times above. Schedules would remain largely aligned and sharing of resources would continue
  • Elementary Start Time​­ – see above
  • ECC Start Time​­ – would not change and varying start times are used for varying
    programs
  • Required time frames for standardized testing – AP exams are required to start at 8:00 AM and students and staff would need to make arrangements on those days.
  • Competency based learning​ -­ Shifting classes at the HS 35 minutes later would
    restrict the amount of time students would have to potentially complete required on HS campus morning classes before participating in off HS campus college institution classes. Online classes could be expanded to allow greater use of flexible time, but would also require staffing with flexible schedules or staggered work schedules which is subject to collective bargaining.
  • Consider Early Release times shifting to late start for secondary campus

Before School

  • Early Bird Programs at Elementary Schools​­ – There would be little change expected and possibly slightly less participation because of older siblings now able to bring students to school.
  • Middle School Before School/Breakfast​­ – The MS offers breakfast that is supervised by school staff in the café from 7:00­7:30 AM when students go to homeroom. The only cost is the cost of breakfast. With a later start time, more students would be expected during this time increasing the demand for supervision, this would require paying a staff member for additional time.
  • Extra Help and Enrichment Programs​­ – For the secondary campus, for those students who are willing to come in early, clubs and activities could meet before school.
  • Family Schedules​­ – Families would obviously need to make considerations for dropping their children off for a longer period of time before school begins, or choosing to leave their children at home in the morning to come to school on their own. While some other families may need to adjust work start time based on school start time. This would have little impact on families of Elementary students.
  • Breakfast Program -​­ Little impact would be expected at Lincoln and it may actually increase participation in MS breakfast program due to the increase of students at school before school begins.
  • Staff with before school child care obligations -​­ Secondary Staff might be able to lessen their need for before school care, while an increase in the need for afterschool care could be present.

After School

  • Education Stations Schedule​­ – The task force recognized this as an area of concern and need for the city and its residents. While school start time might change, parent and guardian work schedules do not. With little change in Elementary start times Educations Stations is prepared to handle any slight shift. However, the HS student staff would not be as available for Education Stations with the start of shifts.​
  • Professional Development​­ – This would shift 35 minutes later for Secondary Staff. Normally a 1 hour session would be 2:30­3:30 PM for Secondary staff but many sessions are 2 hours finishing at 4:30. These would then be finishing at 4:05 PM for 1 hour sessions or 5:05 PM for 2 hour sessions. Elementary PD times would likely remain the same time, however considerations for the location of this PD would need to be made. Currently locations at the HS and MS are used for the majority of Elementary PD. If those sessions were still starting at 2:45, as they currently do, it would be challenging for space, parking and traffic. These sessions may need to be shifted off site or start later when the secondary PD sessions would begin.
  • Education Stations employees -​­ No impact on scheduling but reduced hours available to HS staff as program will begin before they are available.
  • Faculty meetings and after school help​­ – Faculty meetings on the secondary campus would shift 35 minutes later. Secondary schools could consider before school extra help sessions. Little to no change for Elementary staff meetings.
  • Extracurricular clubs and competition​­ – Student activities such as math teams and robotics teams would need to be dismissed from school around 2:00 PM in order to participate in most events, missing most of their last period class. While these are not regular occurrences, they do happen with varying frequency depending upon the club/team.
  • Students who work after school​­ – Students would see a reduction on work hours available to them as they simply cannot just shift their current schedules.
  • Older Siblings who care for younger siblings – ­​Having only the secondary campus start later would impact the families who rely on older siblings to care for younger siblings at the elementary level. These older students would not be able to get to schools in time and this would require families to seek care elsewhere, possibly incurring added expenses.
  • Businesses that depend on student workers​­ – There seems to be little concern from the Business community about this.
  • Businesses that rely on student participants -​­ Karate, Dance classes, etc. for Elementary students would likely remain the same. Businesses would need to consider scheduling such classes for older students to the later times for early evening and even later in their schedules.
  • Staff with after school child care obligations​­ – Secondary Staff would need to make personal arrangements, potentially incurring added costs.
  • Staff attending graduate school and/or off site professional development -​­ Most graduate courses in education programs offered at area institutions begin at 4:30 PM, with some at 7 PM. The 4:30 PM time slot may become a barrier to staff at the secondary level.
  • Staff with second jobs​­ – There would be an impact on staff with second jobs. In particular, those who coach in neighboring districts. Some staff may need to consider options and make choices. Elementary staff who coach at the HS, would likely find these changes more helpful as practices and games would start later.

​​Transportation

  • METCO transportation​­ – With a 35 minute shift, the METCO transportation schedule would likely need to remain unchanged. Given traffic patterns, the busses would need to still do pickup at the same time. There would be more than a 35 minute shift going home because of increased traffic in the afternoon given the route and destinations. This would have a negative impact on our METCO students as it would not allow them to benefit from added sleep and would have them returning home at a later time. The bus for MS/HS students starts its morning run at 6:30 AM and completes its current schedule around 4:00 PM. The Elementary bus begins its morning run at 6:40 AM and completes the afternoon run around 4:20 PM. Elementary bus would not be impacted. A 35 minute shift would have those times in the afternoon estimated to be 4:45 PM for the MS/HS bus. Some secondary siblings pick up elementary siblings and arrangements would need to be made.
  • METCO Late Transportation​­ – Van drivers use district vans to transport METCO students participating in HS after school athletics and activities. Currently, when students require transportation after 7PM, no drivers are available. An increase in students requiring transportation after 7PM would require additional drivers at greater cost or more students taking the T home.
  • SPED transportation​­ – A​pproximately 40 students are currently provided in district transportation and others are transported outside of the district. Our Special Education office uses our district vehicles and drivers as much as possible, supplementing with contracted services for transportation from private companies for the remaining needs. The coordination of multiple runs per day to schools in the city and outside of the city is a matrix. Shifts in school starts times in district will impact the district’s ability to use district vehicles and drivers to transport students to out of district schools potentially causing a need for more contracted transportation. The transportation schedule changes every year, based on school placements so it is challenging to predict at this time what the exact impact would be.​Shifting Secondary campus transportation only, would require a re­evaluation of schedules of in­district vans.

Athletics/Facilities

  • Home games – ​­H​ome start times could shift a little later but this would then impact the use of facilities and fields by the community and recreation dept.
  • Practices -​­ Practices would shift 35 min. later and result in field and gym usage
    by community and recreation dept. as late as 7:45PM., particularly in winter and
    spring.
  • Away competitions and travel time​­ – O​ur buses are normally scheduled between 2:30 PM and 2:45 PM in order to make a 3:45 PM game or match. Bus times would have to be moved to 3:00 PM so that student/athletes would have enough time to get to the bus and coaches could fulfill their contractual obligations. It would be tight to arrive on time and allow student/athletes enough time to participate in a proper warm up. Away teams set the their times in order to accommodate their community and recreational needs.
  • Daylight saving impact on fall sports​­ – D​aylight saving time would not impact the later dismissal time since we have lights on our playing fields.
  • Facility usage by community & Recreation Department programs at middle/high school facilities -​­ W​ith 35 Minute shift in end time for schools, the athletics and after school schedules would shift as well. This then moves the use of the same facilities by community groups, Recreation department and potential rentals of facilities to a later time, potentially losing rental income for the district. It is unlikely that community use of facilities could be shifted to before school to make up for any lost time. Youth groups are often the ones using the field and gyms later in the evening and it is doubtful the community would support elementary and middle school aged children out until 10 PM for athletics during the week. The groups have already expressed that they last time slot is as late as they could go which means not a 35 minute shift but rather a loss of one hour of community use as they would maintain their current end times (8PM or 9PM)
  • Current use of external facilities ­ Swimming (boys) & Ice Hockey (boys and girls) – ­ ​Start times for Boys Swimming is currently 2:30 PM at Melrose Y. This would need to be shifted with Melrose Y. Ice time for practices varsity hockey boys and girls begins at 3:00 PM and this may need to shift as well. Flynn Rink is used by regularly by Melrose, Winchester, and Medford. A committee exists for managing ice time priority.

Contractual Implications

  • Crossing Guards – Schedules ­​schedules could be shifted but would require coordination with St. Mary’s and discussions with the DCR at the state level.
  • Union Contracts (teachers, paras, secretaries, drivers) -​­ All bargaining units would need to agree to such a change in time. There is currently little support by the MTA for such a change although none has been proposed or discussed formally. As with any contract change, it is subject to collective bargaining and therefore part of a negotiation.​B​ased on survey from a year ago, roughly 21% indicated that such a change at the secondary campus only would be challenging to accommodate.

Fiscal Implications

  • Building Rentals – ­​There would be a loss in building rental revenue as youth
    groups and recreation department programs would lose an hour off their programming opportunities in many gyms and fields due to later completion times of High School sports.
  • Education Stations­ – T​here would be little to no change involved and possibly an increase in students after school because of the loss of older siblings to care.

Middlesex League High School Start and Finish Times for 2015-­2016:

Arlington: 8:00-­2:26
Belmont: 7:35­-2:25
Burlington: 7:38­-2:00
Lexington: 7:45­-2:25
Melrose: 7:45­-2:09
Reading: 7:30­-2:11
Stoneham: 7:40-­2:26
Wakefield: 7:30­-2:05
Watertown: 7:55-­2:30
Wilmington: 7:40­-2:05
Winchester: 7:45­-2:15
Woburn: 7:30­-2:00

There are groups formulating in Reading, Winchester, and Belmont, in order to research and explore the possibilities of changing their secondary school start times. It is unknown about the progress of these groups.

When researching local school districts who have made changes to start later for secondary students, the following districts stood out for their recent changes. It should be noted that most of these High Schools previously began school between 7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.

  • Arlington High School: 8:00 a.m.–2:26 p.m.
  • Duxbury High School: Now 8:20 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
  • Hingham High School: Now 8 a.m.-2:32 p.m.
  • Marblehead High School: Now 7:55 a.m.-­2:30 p.m.
  • AMSA Charter School Marlborough starts its first class at 8:15 a.m. (homeroom at 8:05 a.m.).
  • Medway High School: Now 8:04 a.m.-2:31 p.m.
  • ​Nauset High School: Now 8:35 a.m.-2:57 p.m.
  • Sharon Public Schools: Now SHS 8:05 a.m. – 2:39 p.m. & SMS moved earlier to 7:40 a.m.­2:10 p.m

 

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