The changes in school start times have been at the forefront of our attention the past several days. We’ve heard from a wide range of educators, family members, and community members. Views on the details are varied, but it’s clear that there are three major areas of concern: the unexpectedly high number of 7:15 start times, changes in times greater than an hour, and the continued challenges of late start times for ELT schools.
Here are some key points for BTU educators to keep in mind as the process and discussion about schedule changes continue to play out:
- While our members support changes to the current start schedules that maximize quality learning time with our students, we believe any such changes should be implemented in a way that best serves the interests of students without creating an undue burden for parents and educators.
- We will continue to advocate that the changes to be made in a thoughtful and equitable way–based on student needs, not just cost savings–and will be closely monitoring the specific changes as they are implemented. We expressed our concern in the stakeholder group that 7:15 was too early of a start time and that 9:30 was too late. We knew it would be problematic for many.
- Ultimately, the School Committee and BPS have full authority to change school start and end times. While some changes, such as the later times for high schools have been welcomed, others have raised significant concerns and came as a surprise to us as well.
- At this hour, we are still actively gathering information and feedback about the potential impacts and looking to see how we might improve the plans that are being put forth.
- No matter the outcome, we will work for solutions and supports for the schools facing the greatest challenges while also assessing the bigger picture impact of the overall changes for all stakeholders – parents, educators, and students.
- To this end, we have created a survey for BTU members in the BTU portal regarding the changes. In our community contract survey, we also ask several questions about the school start times and welcome community feedback as well.
With these points in mind, and whether or not you are happy with the changes, please be sure to participate in the member survey. Please note again that this is not an issue we can negotiate — the School Department and School Committee have full authority to make these changes. We will, however, use the information we gather to inform our advocacy efforts.
All school communities are welcome to advocate at the School Committee meeting for changes to the start and end times. The next School Committee Meeting will be held at the Bolling Building tomorrow, Wednesday, December 13 at 6 PM. You can go there immediately after the conclusion of the BTU Membership Meeting.
As a reminder, the BTU monthly membership meeting are on second Wednesdays at 4:30 PM at the BTU. See the December agenda, which will include a presentation on local funding organizing as well as an update on our Janus Supreme Court case preparations through the BTU All-In campaign.
We hope to see you tomorrow!