The state of Massachusetts has reached a tipping point on start time! This week, the Superintendents of the Middlesex (MA) League have signed a joint letter pledging to change the start times for all their schools to be 8-8:30am as of the fall of 2018! In the letter (below) they write:
The purpose of this collaborative statement is not to make a case for later high school start times. The research is clear on this topic that later start times best support the social and emotional needs of our high school students. The Middlesex League Superintendents collectively wanted to express our clear support for later high school start times. Our intention is to commit to a deadline and to the necessary consensus building required to make a change in long-standing practice. Doing what is right for adolescents will mean changing adults schedules and behaviors. Ultimately, the choice to change will distill down to what communities value most.
To the end, our League goals are as follows:
- High School start times between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for all Middlesex League High Schools by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. (Current start times range from 7:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m.)
- After-school competitions will be scheduled so that students do not routinely miss academic time.
The expression of our intentions and our timetable should provide amble opportunity to address all stakeholder concerns and to reallocate existing funding or commit to the new funding that may be needed to implement later start times. Moreover, by setting a timeline for Fall 2019, we believe districts, families, and organizations that oversee athletic competitions, academic competitions and other student activities will have sufficient time to prepare for a change that will benefit all our students.
We hope this joint statement is the first of many as we work together across our respective communities to implement practices that are in the best interest of children.