Board of Ed Favors Plan To Start New Canaan High School Nearly One Hour Later

With inconclusive survey results and established health data in hand, nearly all members of the Board of Education said Monday night that the district should pursue a new school start time schedule that allows teens to get more sleep. Though the Board took no formal vote at its regular meeting, seven of eight members present said the district should devote further study to an option that would see New Canaan High School start at 8:20 a.m.—50 minutes later than the current 7:30 a.m. start time. “I think that based on the research that has been done, based on the feedback that we have, it’s worth figuring out whether there is a viable option to have our teenagers go to school later,” Board of Ed Chairman Brendan Hayes said at well-attended meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “And the likely [outcome] from that, although I think [it’s] also beneficial for our younger students, is for them to go to school earlier.”

Under the proposed new start time schedule, all of Saxe Middle School would start at 9:05 a.m. (currently 7:30 a.m. for seventh and eighth grades, 8:20 a.m. for fifth and sixth) and the elementary schools at 7:45 a.m. (currently 8:20 a.m. for South School, 9:05 a.m. for East and West). The additional buses needed to realize that system would see New Canaan pay an additional $300,000 to $450,000 annually, officials have said.

Dr. Harrison Pierce Retires After 42 Years in New Canaan

On his last day as a pediatrician in New Canaan, Dr. Harrison Pierce said he saw a large number of children, four of whom were “second-generation” patients. Yet within hours of retiring, Pierce’s daughter Tara Clough—a 1993 New Canaan High School graduate—called to ask him to check on her own daughter, who had been sick that very night. “I thought to myself, ‘Am I really not going to be caring for sick children anymore?’ ” Dr. Pierce said. “It’s a change, but that showed me I still have things to do.”

A fixture since 1975 at the East Avenue doctors’ practice known today as the New Canaan Medical Groups, Dr. Pierce has served as primary care physician to generations of local kids, forging bonds with families here and, through his office as well as wider community involvement, leaving an indelible mark on the town. A New York City native who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1965 and medical degree from the University of Rome in 1970, Pierce completed his internship, residency and fellowship at New York Medical College and came to New Canaan in 1975.