School Committee Reaffirms New School Start Times for 2020-2021 School Year

posted Dec 17, 2019, 9:46 AM by Winnie Carey
At their December 12th meeting, the Holliston School Committee unanimously voted (with one member absent) to reaffirm and move forward with the plan they previously approved in May 2019, to adjust the school hours for the Holliston Public Schools as follows:
  • HHS:                8:10AM – 2:43PM
  • RAMS:             8:10AM – 2:33PM
  • Miller:             7:30AM – 1:53PM
  • Placentino:    8:50AM – 3:15PM
Originally approved in May, these revised school hours generated concerns among some parents in the community. In response, the School Committee engaged with these concerned parents and held a public forum that outlined the science behind the changes and offered people the opportunity to ask the Committee and Superintendent Jackson questions about the change. An open debate also took place at October Town Meeting.

Following these events as well as numerous meetings that individual Committee members held with concerned parents, the Committee reviewed a set of 10 proposed alternative start times scenarios proposed by this group of concerned parents. At their November meeting, the School Committee publicly reviewed each proposed scenario and concluded that eight of the ten proposed scenarios were untenable and removed those proposals from further consideration. The Committee then directed the administration to review the remaining two scenarios and report back to the Committee on their impact and viability.

At their December 12th meeting, the Committee reviewed the comprehensive analysis prepared by the administrative team and agreed with their conclusion that the drawbacks associated with either scenario were significant, making both remaining alternative solutions unviable. Following that discussion, the Committee unanimously voted to reaffirm their originally voted plan.

With this decision reaffirmed, parents and staff are strongly urged to begin planning for the impact that these changes could have on your individual family routines.  At the same time, Holliston administrators will begin finalizing the detailed plans needed to implement these new school hours. In addition, the School Committee and Superintendent will discuss the process we will use to collect the impact of these changes and how we will use that data to see if refinements of this plan are needed in future years.  

In addition to planning already under way at each school, the administration has already reported that they have a plan to open up a number of spots in our Extended Day program next school year to meet the anticipated demand for additional before and after-school care  Holliston Extended Day is also planning to offer an 80-minute “gap” program to cover the time between the dismissal of Placentino students and Miller students, so that siblings might be picked up together. The Holliston Extended Day program will formally announce the availability of their options later this winter and share sign-up information.  Further, the Committee reached out to the “Y” in Hopkinton regarding availability in their program for after-school care and that effort is showing promise. Interested parents should contact the YMCA directly if they wish to learn more about their after-school programs. Finally, the School Committee has authorized a transportation audit to see if we can find ways to make our bus system more efficient and/or convenient. The administration will share the results of this audit with the School Committee at one of their upcoming meetings as soon as the review has been completed.
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