The Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees voted on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 to approve a plan to change the school start times for the 2021-22 school year, so that elementary schools will start after 8:00 AM and secondary schools will start no earlier than 8:45 AM. This change is a “flip” of the standard school start times in place prior to the current school year, with elementary schools starting at 8:40 AM and secondary schools starting at 7:45 AM.
In presenting the proposed change, Superintendent Michael Morris said that the “research is conclusive that later start times for secondary students contribute to better outcomes in a variety of areas, including academics and overall well-being.”
The vote comes after several weeks of community outreach, including multiple information sessions and focus groups with families, staff, and students, and after a similar proposal was explored but not pursued in 2012. The approved plan received overwhelming support in a recent survey of staff, families, and middle school and high school students, with 75% of all respondents favoring the proposed plan over the prior school start times.
Option A (prior start times)
Chair of the Amherst and the Regional School Committees Allison McDonald commented that “this shift to a later start time for our secondary students will have a tremendous positive impact on their overall wellness and academic performance, and after this challenging school year is even more important.”
The District administration and staff will work through the implementation details, including bus schedules and routes as well as high school schedules, and update the community as plans are finalized.You can link to the complete presentation of survey results (p19-31).