SCHOOL COMMITTEE NEWS: Process To Change Start Times Begins, Report Due In May 2020, Changes Eyed For Fall 2021

WILMINGTON, MA — At a School Committee Meeting earlier this month, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand announced progress surrounding the district’s efforts to examine and change its school start times.

“We have moved ahead a little more rapidly than originally planned, but that’s a good thing,” noted Brand.

The School Committee recently approved the creation of a Start Time Committee.

The Committee’s focus will be three-fold:

  • RESEARCH & EDUCATION: Gather information regarding the contemporary research around start times and insight into surrounding school districts that have made changes to their times. This area will also articulate the key issues and considerations connected with changing school start times.
  • COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH: Disseminate information and progress of the committee that will include planning, developing, and overseeing the committee’s outreach which will gather feedback, opinions, and perspectives regarding options developed.
  • SCENARIO & OPTION DEVELOPMENT: Work closely with the transportation department and bus company to develop start time scenarios and options district-wide.

The Committee’s composition was announced in mid-October. The committee consists of 20 members:

  • CARES Program Coordinator Shari Parker
  • Athletic Director Ed Harrison
  • Jacquie Raffi & Paul Ruggiero from the Central Office Leadership Team
  • WHS Principal Linda Peters and Shawsheen Interim Assistant Principal Kevin Welch representing the School Building Administrators
  • David Ragsdale representing the School Committee Meeting
  • Five staff members — Bonnie Gorrasi & Laura Stinson (Elementary), Lisa Federici (Middle School), Doreen Crowe & Brenda McConologue (High School)
  • Six parents — Ellen Hounsel & Amy Largenton (Elementary), Susan LeFave & Michele Kitanov (Middle School), and Jamie Bornstein & Pia Romano (High School)
  • Two high school students — Lilly Rubin & Patrick Xavier

“The response to serve on the committee was strong, which was terrific to see and not surprising,” noted Brand. “This is a nicely balanced group with a cross section of stakeholders.”

The Committee recently held its first meeting on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. It is scheduled to present a mid-year report to the School Committee at a February 26, 2020 meeting, with a final report expected at a May 13, 2020 meeting.

The School Committee will then conduct outreach to the community regarding different start time options from June 2020 through September 2020. After listening to community feedback, the School Committee will approve its preferred start time option in October 2020, with it slated to go into effect for the 2021-2022 school year, beginning in August 2021.

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