The Norwalk BOE voted to change start times for Norwalk and Brien McMahon High Schools to 8:30 a.m., beginning next year. The high schools will dismiss at 3:15 p.m.
What does this mean for New Canaan?
1. With two more high schools dismissing later, there will be fewer early dismissals for athletics. A key concern for NCHS is that a later high school dismissal time could increase the number of early dismissals for away games for athletes. However, as more local schools adopt later dismissal times, this becomes less of an issue. Competitions against Greenwich, Wilton and both Norwalk schools can now start later and thus be removed from the list of games requiring early dismissal.
Norwalk's committee report included an evaluation of the impact to athletics. Brien McMahon High School Athletic Director and Committee Member Joe Madaffari concluded:
"Based on the number of scheduled away games anticipated for the full school year, Mr. Madaffari projected that a 45 minute early dismissal at 2:30 pm might be needed for 25-30% of games. It was estimated that for the one-third of students who participate in a sport, early release from class would be necessary once every three weeks during the season the sport was held. Mr. Madaffari relayed that athletic directors could work with others in the FCIAC to schedule Saturday games where feasible and to adjust scheduling where possible to reduce this further."
2. The Norwalk Committee's structure and report provide a framework for developing a solution. We hope New Canaan's BOE members will carefully consider the Norwalk report as well as the efficient process used by the 18 member committee to thoroughly evaluate the issue and create a viable solution within a single school year. Notably, the committee was in continuous discussion with the transportation consultants, so that feedback could be incorporated into the bus options. The committee evaluated two dozen different bus scenarios.
Norwalk's Superintendent created an independent committee:
"Dr. Steven Adamowski, superintendent of schools, convened a committee comprised of community members, parents, teachers, administrators, and medical experts, supported by a consultant in school district transportation. The committee met as a whole 11 times from November 2018 to June 2019. Committee work included a comprehensive review of the health research and data; extensive parent, student and community outreach; discussions of the potential impact on athletics and after school activities; consideration of potential impacts on other grade levels; and a report of the School Start Time Committee thorough analysis of complex timing and transportation scenarios. Two dozen alternative models of transportation options were considered based on varying start times by grade levels. Metrics included bell times, elementary school groupings, morning and afternoon bus deployment by “tier,” total window of transportation and potential cost. The committee also reviewed a letter from Norwalk pediatricians, who have endorsed the AAP, AMA, and CDC’s policy statements on changing middle and high school start times."
Norwalk's decision is great news for all of its students. One Norwalk BOE member said...
"It’s not just the slightly under 4,000 kids in high school now, it’s every single high school student in the future.”
Read the full Norwalk report here. Read the news article here.
Candidate debate next week!
Please attend the candidate forum next week to ask each of the BOE candidates about their position on later start times (see notice below).