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BPS responds to parent pushback

Yawu Miller | 12/13/2017, 7:29 a.m.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang emailed a letter to parents yesterday touting positive feedback from high school communities, while ...
BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. Banner photo

Here are some of the many steps we are taking to respond to some of the questions parents have raised:

We are working with the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, the YMCA of Greater Boston, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and a number of community-based organizations to provide expanded before- and after-school care that will be custom-tailored to each individual school’s needs. This additional programming will be designed to support parents and families impacted by the new start times. The district is committed to reinvesting a portion of the savings created by the new start and end times into expanding before- or after-school programming where needed.

The BPS Athletics Department, which has been involved throughout this process, is working to develop sports schedules that will meet the needs of our schools and their student athletes. All BPS students will have the same opportunity to participate in athletics programs that are available today.

We will be hosting a series of community meetings next week to address concerns around the new start times. Please click this link for the times and locations of those meetings. We are also responding to phone calls and emails we are receiving regarding this issue.

As we move forward in supporting our school communities with these changes, it is important that we remind our families and staff of the reasons why we carried out this work. Start times are being changed due to an abundance of research that shows academic outcomes improve for secondary school students when they start school later and for elementary school students when they start earlier. We believe that the new times will better and more equitably serve our students. They are also reflective of the feedback we have heard during our community engagement process, as well as reflect the new School Committee policy.

Through our new policy, we will be:

Tripling the number of secondary school students starting at or after 8am — an increase from 27% to 94%;

Reducing by half the number of elementary school students dismissing after 4pm — from 33% of elementary students to 15%;

Continuing choice in start times across neighborhoods, while ensuring equity across the district.

We value your continued feedback on this issue. You can share your input and concerns by emailing: starttimes@bostonpublicschools.org. To learn more about the issue, please review our Start Times FAQ at: bostonpublicschools.org/starttimes/FAQ. We are continuing to update this webpage with answers to questions and concerns we have received since last week.

Sincerely,

Tommy Chang, Ed.D.

Superintendent