Op-Ed: Next Steps in Evaluating School Start Times in New Canaan

On Monday night, the Board of Education took an important step in its consideration of school start and end times by narrowing its focus and directing the administration to further evaluate the pros and cons of one particular scenario as presented in the community-wide survey this past May. The Board of Education did not make a decision to change school start times on Monday evening. Instead, the Board is continuing to learn about the impacts of a potential change on students, parents, families, staff, and the community, and to solicit feedback from all stakeholders in order to best anticipate the consequences of making a change prior to making a decision. The Board is continuing to follow the process that it had outlined previously, and will continue to learn about the impacts of a potential change in the months ahead. 

As a Board, we are exploring making a possible change to school start times as one dimension of our broader initiative focused on creating the conditions for improved student health and wellness. This discussion is occurring in school districts locally and nationally in response to a growing body of research that highlights the important connections between sleep and student health and wellness, the complex challenges faced by today’s adolescents, and the positive impact a change in school start times can have on student sleep habits.