Reconsider the School Start Time Change in Norwood

Reconsider the School Start Time Change in Norwood

February 7, 2022
Petition to
Norwood School Committee
Signatures: 547Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Colleen Randall

This petition is to ask that the Norwood School Committee and the School Start Time Task Force reconvene and reconsider the school start time change for next school year.  Things are not back to normal and we are still feeling the affects of Covid and adding this stress to the schools and students does not seem beneficial.  We ask that when considering this change we get more parent involvement and look at a way that this change will not affect the elementary students as much as it currently will.  Though this change may benefit the middle and high school students we don't feel like an earlier start time for elementary students is a good trade off. The elementary students have so many late sports and activities that an earlier start time will negatively affect them on a daily basis. When looking at the presentation given by the Start Time Task Form teachers were asked:

How often do you think a students learning is impacted by if they are tired or not?

HS: 41.5% daily

MS: 40% daily

ES: 34% daily

As you can see from the answers above elementary school students are almost as likely to have their learning impacted by being tired and the changes that the committee proposes will only add to those number and create a bigger impact in elementary school. Another question asked of the teachers was:

How often do students who are dis-regulated in the classroom (off task, distracted, sleepy, irritable) impact your ability to teach?

HS: 30.9% daily

MS: 30.7% daily

ES: 41% daily

We think it will only make this worse in elementary school when we have these kids get to school earlier. Their sports and activities will not be held earlier because they are available earlier because teachers, coaches and instructors are not available sooner. As much as we think it would benefit the middle and high school students to be able to sleep in we think we are doing it at the expense of the elementary students our youngest and most vulnerable kids.

Other concerns are bus schedules; we currently have our middle school students waiting out in the dark and cold for the bus and we are not happy about it but switching that to the younger elementary students seems counterproductive. Another bus issue I wanted to mention is the budget, we talked about how this change will not affect the cost of buses for the schools however was this discussed with the bus company? Will the middle school be offered late buses to the students can continue to get extra help and participate in extra curricular activities? This will definitely cause an increase in bus expenses. Currently the buses pick up the middle school then move on to high school, the Willett and the elementary schools, once completed they return to the middle school to do the late run however if middle school is dismissed last the bus drivers will need to be compensated for their longer run times. We also think this will affect the early start at the Willett since the buses are parked at the middle school and start their route at the middle school the bus shifts would start earlier if the drivers needed to start at the Willett first. We also wonder how this will affect St. Catherine's since they share buses with the town.

We know the survey went out asking how this would impact families but no question asked the parents if they were in favor of this change. There were not enough parents who completed the survey and I believe there are many more parents that rely on middle school and high school students to pick up and take care of their younger elementary school siblings, neighbors and friends that were not represented in the survey. Our concern is these families do not know about the change and they need the help from the high school and middle school students the most. It will be very sad next year if we see more and more young kids walking home from school or the bus stop by themselves because their older siblings are still in school.

We don't disagree that things need to change and having high school and middle school students arrive at school so early is not in their best interest however we ask that you reconsider your decision to have this happen next year and look further into alternatives. We believe this change will negatively impact the elementary age kids and their families. The elementary school kids are already tired and this could make it much worse. We know it was mentioned that Norwood would offer a extended day that is affordable however I don't think it is affordable for everyone. Also we are curious to see how many need before school care at the middle school, that would defeat the entire purpose of this change while just hurting families. Please reconsider until there is a better alternative for elementary school students.

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Signatures: 547Next Goal: 1,000
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Decision Makers

  • Norwood School Committee