Interest High at Barnstable High School for Changing Start Time

Barnstable Schools Superintendent Mary Czajkowski speaks to a crowd at a forum about later start times for students.

Barnstable Schools Superintendent Mary Czajkowski speaks to a crowd at a forum about later start times for students.

BARNSTABLE – Parents and Barnstable teachers attended an open forum last night at Barnstable Intermediate School to discuss the possibility of starting school an hour later.

Some school officials believe teenagers would be more attentive in class with an additional hour of sleep.

School officials cite numerous studies that show teenagers are not fully functioning until 8:30 or 9 a.m.

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The discussion focused on high school students, Barnstable Schools Superintendent Mary Czajkowski said the plan has to take into account lower grade students as well.

A slide listing other considerations included transportation, child care, budget impacts, after school employment and the issue of younger children waiting in the dark for school buses in the morning.

“It’s not just a question of elementary, k to three, is going to go an hour earlier and high school is going to start an hour later, we’re really open to hearing what the research says on both sides,” she said.

“The tone of our high school has changed dramatically from an absolute rate race for staff and students to find a way to get awake and get going by 7:25, coming into a much calmer setting, everyone seems to be far more relaxed and certainly focused,” Nauset Regional High School Principal Tom Conrad said.

Nauset has already switched to a later start time.

Conrad said it took about 18 months to implement the new times at his school after first talking about it with parents and teachers.