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District holds School Start Times Discussions

New Canaan Public Schools Holds School Start and End Times Discussions
for Nearly 80 New Canaan Stakeholders

School Start Times Discussion at NCHS


In its continuing efforts to explore the issue of school start and end times, New Canaan Public Schools hosted two guided discussions on the topic for a large number of invited New Canaan stakeholders on Oct. 21, 2019, in the Wagner Room of New Canaan High School.


Participants included representatives and officials from Town government, including the First Selectman, the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, New Canaan Cares, New Canaan Day Care, Parks and Recreation, the Superintendent of Schools, district building administrators, including principals from all five schools, elementary, middle and high school parents, elementary, middle and high school teachers, the district’s two Student Resource Officers, non-certified staff, clinical staff, and a group of New Canaan High School students. The 77 invited guests attended either the 9 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. sessions. The events were open to the public, and several Board of Education members were in the audience.


The discussions continue the district’s process of providing guiding principles for consideration on the topic to the Board of Education and feedback to help the Board make the best decision possible for the students and district. These efforts have included research, multiple community-wide surveys, attendance at conferences, and frequent updates to the BOE in public session.


To best structure the discussions, which were facilitated by Todd White, participants were seated at tables in “like” stakeholder groups and were asked to consider three different school start and end time scenarios.* After discussing the three scenarios individually, the groups reported out, sharing their thoughts on the pros and cons of each. A final break-out group discussion charted how individuals felt about each scenario, basing each on its own merits.


At the BOE meeting, held later that day on the evening of Oct. 21, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told the Board that the morning sessions yielded an interesting and powerful discussion, and there were many thoughtful and reflective questions.


“There were very rich conversations with constructive and thoughtful dialogue,” he said. “This is extremely complex work. It shows the difficulty that comes in making these choices and decisions. Listening to all perspectives, one can appreciate the task that lies ahead for the Board.”


Dr. Luizzi will be capturing the feedback, aggregating the data, and sharing with the Board as soon as it is available. Future plans are to continue discussions on the topic during the upcoming budget workshops, and propose discussion and possible action at the December 16, 2019, BOE meeting. If needed, there will be adjustments added to the Superintendent’s Proposed 2020-2021 Budget, which goes before the BOE at its first meeting in January 2021.


*The three school start and end time scenarios:

1) Three-Tiered Version 2, which the BOE recommended for further examination at its June 24, 2019, meeting.

  • 7:45 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. South School, East School, West School
  • 8:20 a.m. - 2:55 p.m. New Canaan High School
  • 9:05 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. Saxe Middle School

2) Three-Tiered Version discussed at Oct. 15, BOE Workshop meeting

  • 7:45 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. New Canaan High School, Saxe Middle School (grades 7/8)
  • 8:30 a.m. – 3:05 p.m. Saxe Middle School (grades 5/6), South School
  • 9:15 a.m. -3:45 p.m. East School, West School

3) The district’s current start and end times

  • 7:30 a.m. - 2:05 p.m. New Canaan High School, Saxe Middle School (grades 7/8)
  • 8:20 a.m. – 2:55 p.m. Saxe Middle School (grades 5/6), South School 
  • 9:05 a.m. -3:35 p.m. East School, West School


Further information about the district’s efforts can be found on “School Start Times” page of the NCPS district website