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  • Attention: BPS Website Editors 
    School Wires will be updating between Fri., Oct. 31, and Sat. Nov. 1, 2014 from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Significant downtime is not expected; however, some pages may not be available for a very short time.

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District News

From the Superintendent

Dr. C
Welcome to the Office of the
Mary A. Czajkowski, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools
Phone: 508-862-4953
Fax: 508-790-6454 

Does a Later Start Time for High Schools Matter?

In early October, Bonny Gifford, Superintendent of Falmouth Public Schools, and I met to discuss a later start time for high schools.  This concept has been around for years with considerable research, studies, articles, and papers on the topic.  The Children’s National Medical Center’s Blueprint for Change Team published an in-depth report in April 2014 examining the school districts in the U.S. that have implemented a later start time for their high schools.  Currently, the start time for Barnstable High School is 7:20 A.M. and 7:24 A.M. for Falmouth High School.  We came together to discuss the extensive research available, as well as, the pros and cons of having a later start time for high schools.

The Children’s National Medical Center’s Blueprint for Change Team’s Report states that a delay in school start times is key in addressing the epidemic of adolescent sleep loss in the U.S.  This sleep loss is attributed to lower academic achievement, higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness, decreased motivation to learn, and increased use of stimulants.  There is substantial research supporting a delayed school start time as an effective countermeasure to adolescent sleep loss.  Physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement are just a few potential benefits to a later school start time.

As with any change, there are perceived benefits and costs of a school start time change.  Several benefits include increased attendance, reduced tardiness, improved standardized test scores, improved grades, higher graduation rates, fewer referrals for disciplinary action, and cost savings for public school system.  Some perceived costs with the school start time change are loss of community support, impact on parent work schedules, financial costs, reduction of student involvement in extracurricular activities, and negative impact on teacher schedules.  Districts surveys in this report tended to perceive academic-related benefits from adopting a later start time and the concerns did not materialize.

As this topic of conversation continues between Barnstable and Falmouth Public Schools, there are a few lessons learned from other School Districts that have made the change to a later school start time:

  • Importance of Leadership
  • Education of the Entire Community/Stakeholders
  • Logistics and Cost Factor of Transportation
  • Athletics and Community Use of Recreational Facilities
  • Prioritizing Sleep Health is Important
  • Adjustments Take Time
  • Anticipation is Often Worse than the Reality

We have just started the conversation on later school start times for our high school.  The potential benefits to the health and performance of our high school students is at the forefront of our thoughts and continued discussions.  We will keep the students, teachers, community, and stakeholders informed and part of this important discussion.

Our Vision

The vision of the Barnstable Public Schools is to provide a common, standards-based educational program that will enable EVERY student to achieve rigorous performance standards in order to graduate college and career ready. 


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