Norwalk BoE made right decision on high school start time

Send signed letters to [email protected]

The Norwalk Board of Education recently voted to change the high school start time to 8:30 at the recommendations of the School Start Time Committee and local pediatricians. To accommodate this change, it is also modifying some elementary start times by 10-15 minutes earlier or later, depending on the school. The Committee worked for more than a year and compiled a 200+ page report outlining the many benefits and citing numerous scientific studies in support of it.

Benefits of high school starting at 8:30 or later include reductions in absenteeism and tardiness, reduced stress and anxiety among teenagers, lower drop out rates, better test scores, narrowing of the achievement gap, fewer traffic accidents and lower crime rates. The latter points show that it is not only the teenagers that benefit, but the entire community as well. 

Opponents to this change have been very vocal and have expressed frustration that this change will have a negative impact on their family schedule, which is understandable, but it is no different than adjustments parents have already made when their children started a new school, whether elementary, middle or high school. Families have always had to make their personal schedules fit around school, not the other way around. What many fail to acknowledge, however, is that a lot of families will be positively impacted by this change. No one’s personal convenience should be prioritized over another and the Board cannot make decisions based on individual circumstances. It must consider the overall impact to the community at large, and specifically to the students themselves. Unfortunately, no school schedule will be a perfect fit for every family, that’s part of living in a society.

The Board voted to change the high school start time because decades of research prove teenagers function better when they’re allowed to sleep later. I, for one, am extremely thankful that it chose to put the needs of the children ahead of the convenience of a few.

Donna Gilchrist



Tysen Canevari October 20, 2019 at 8:57 am

This is comical Donna. Fewer traffic accidents and lower crime rates? Total waste of tax dollars all the way around. Will these students be able to tell their boss someday that they are from Norwalk and should be able to sleep in so they can reduce crime and be more productive? Its called discipline. Get your butt up and get ready for school. The kids that have after school jobs can tell their employers that they will be at work later now so they can sleep in. The kids that have an athletic competition at another school will have to leave school early now so that they can arrive on time. How does the entire community benefit? Thats a great thought. Middle school sports was eliminated because the board said they couldnt afford to pay buses and officials to have these games but we paid $40 k for a traffic study on how this will effect the roads. Most of the private school children are up and out of the house by 7am. I dont hear any crying from those parents about test scores or safer roads. Norwalk is being over run with kids that dont speak the language and best we can do is tell the kids to hang on snapchat, play xbox, and wake up when you feel like it. What a shame. This must be why the private school open houses have been busting at the seams!

Diane Lauricella October 20, 2019 at 5:29 pm

@Tyson Canevari

Do you know the phrase “circadian rhythm”?
The science has shown that at certain times of the day developing children need sleep and are more able to learn.

There will be an adjustment period for all parties but it appears the best path forward for the children’s healthy outcomes for decades.

Your protestations sound a bit like those who are known as “flat-earthers”, resistant to change even when shown the science and data…

I agree with Donna and the BOE vote.

They did their homework, consulted with experts and did the kind of due diligence we citizens have a right to ask for

Milly October 21, 2019 at 6:05 am

Tysen is right that there was no money for buses for middle school sports but now there will be $400,000 to pay for the extra buses to cover this new schedule.
I still do not understand how this decision was made without letting teachers, parents, and students have a say.

Tysen Canevari October 21, 2019 at 6:32 am

Diane, Being a father of four boys I am aware of what it means that the children need rest. Thats why my wife and I make sure they are in bed at a reasonable hour. While you can quote science I quote common sense. Some towns are already reversing their decisions based on items i mentioned. Have you taken into account the teachers that will leave the district because they dont want to work those hours? Norwalk Board of Ed has more important issues to tackle than start times. People dont want to live here because of the schools. They leave and then come back when their kids reach college. I have many friends that are Norwalk teachers and not one of them thought this is a great idea.

Jill St. John October 21, 2019 at 8:47 am

Not a thought about kids with jobs, and money lost that may go towards their education or family.

Adam Blank October 21, 2019 at 4:50 pm

I read today that California just pushed back high school start times statewide. Nice to see Norwalk out in front of the trend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>