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Weston Public Schools
Office of the Superintendent
William S. McKersie, Ph.D.

MEMORANDUM

To: WPS Families and Staff
From: William S. McKersie, Ph.D., Superintendent
Date: April 17, 2020
Subject: School Start/End Time Status Update

Background

As you all should be aware, the Board of Education (BOE) charged the WPS administration to
actively consider a change to School Start/End Times for Fall 2020. At the heart of the work is
a broadly representative Task Force, including administrators, teachers, parents, community
leaders, with targeted outreach to high school students. (Task Force members are listed below.)

The Task Force has zeroed in on three options for School Start/End Time: staying with the
current schedule; moving all schools 15 minutes later for start and end; or moving all schools 30
minutes later for start and end. The Task Force has been conducting focus groups, and had
planned a public forum and a final survey. Due to the COVID-19 district closure, the public
forum and survey were put on hold.

The original plan and schedule was to have the BOE vote at its April 27, 2020 meeting on a set
of recommendations from the Superintendent and Task Force for School Start/End Times. The
recommendations would have targeted a potential change as of Fall 2020.

Status Update

Over the past several weeks, the BOE and Task Force have been reviewing the wisdom of
proceeding with a change to School Start/End Time for Fall 2020 while we are focused on
Distance Learning and managing the district’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The
consensus conclusion is that work on School Start/End Time should be put on hold until the
new school year, with the aim of deciding in December 2020 what would be the School
Start/End Times for Fall 2021.

Once we are back to school in the fall, the Task Force will reconvene and proceed with staff,
student and family outreach. Public forums and focus groups will be especially important.
Given that improving students’ health and well-being is the fundamental reason for changing
School Start/End Times, the Task Force also will consider other opportunities. We will look at
relevant lessons from Distance Learning, which has allowed us to see how time may be used
differently for teaching and learning. We also will continue to emphasize modifications to
policies and practices, such as homework, which have high leverage effects on student
schedules and sleep patterns.

Stated differently, our work on School Start/End Times is napping for the spring and summer.
It will awaken in the new school year, ready to move ahead to a BOE decision in December
2020 for Fall 2021.

Task Force Members:
William McKersie-Superintendent
Kenneth Craw-Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
Phillip Cross-Director of Finance and Operations
Lisa Wolak-WHS Principal
Mark Berkowitz-Director of Athletics
Laura Kaddis-HES Principal
Stacy Slater-WTA
Erin Merrifield-WTA
Kim Spangler-AFSCME
Joe Parciasepe-Town of Weston Parks & Recreation
Jenny Walsh-Parent
Kristen Ancker-Parent