On December 6, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to approve a new systemwide schedule that will allow most teenagers in the district to sleep in a bit next year.
Under the new framework, most high schools will start at or after 8 a.m. Presently, about half of the district’s public schools start class at or before 7:30 a.m. And whenever possible, younger children will be dismissed before 4 p.m., in part to prevent them from running out of steam late in the day — or walking home in the dark.
BTU President Jessica Tang weighed in.
Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers’ Union, says most of the educators she knows are in support of more high-quality learning time with more wakeful students. But she added that some teachers do worry about juggling their own childcare and commutes under the new schedule.
Earlier this year, Boston polled teachers, families, and staff, letting them rank 11 possible start times ranging from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The thousands of responses didn’t square perfectly with sleep science.
Families and teachers of elementary students tended to cluster around later start times — as late as 8:30 a.m. At high schools, stakeholders aimed for 8 a.m. or earlier. Few respondents of any group, other than some families of high school students, expressed much interest in 9 a.m. or later start times.