District: Proposed New School Start Times Schedule Wouldn’t Require Kids To Wait in the Dark for the Bus
Though New Canaan’s youngest students would start school first—instead of last, as they do now—under a new schedule that district officials are considering, those kids wouldn’t need to be picked up by buses until after it’s light outside, officials said last week. Because buses could head out in the morning from each of the three geographically distributed elementary schools—that is, closer to students’ homes than they do now, in picking up New Canaan High School kids—a 7:45 a.m. start time at East, South and West would mean the very first student wouldn’t need to be picked up until 7:06 a.m., according to new estimates from the district. Though such a system would require additional buses and brings with it several practical challenges (see below), it also would allow NCHS to start at a sufficiently late morning time with respect to adolescent health, officials said Friday during a special Board of Education meeting. Under the proposed system, seventh- and eighth-graders at Saxe Middle School would start with NCHS at 8:30 a.m., while the fifth and sixth grades at Saxe would start together at 9:15 a.m.
The schedule would see elementary schools run through 2:15 p.m., while the high school and seventh and eighth grades finished at 3 p.m. and fifth and sixth grades at 3:45 p.m., meaning all levels would have a 6.5-hour school day, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said at the meaning, held in a conference room at the district’s administrative offices. The potential new start time schedule—what Luizzi called a “prototype,” developed much work from Roy Walder, transportation coordinator for New Canaan Public Schools—follows multiple surveys and workshops involving the schools and wider community, and is built around an anchor assumption that grades seven-and-up start at 8:30 a.m., as recommended by pediatricians.