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Mulberry Elementary News

New Start & Dismissal Times for Next School Year

Posted on: May 27, 2020
start times graphic

Last week Milford’s Board of Education approved new start and dismissal times for all of of Milford's School buildings. Please click here to see the chart of new start and dismissal times for all buildings. 

Why are start times changing? Teens typically go to bed later as they get older, but have to get up earlier to go to school. Research shows that teens require a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep, with an optimum minimum of 9 and a quarter hours of sleep each night. However, surveys have shown that teens are only getting about seven hours of sleep per night or less. Sleep deprivation is a problem for teens: sleep deprivation increases the risk of injuries in sports, and increases the risks of hypertension, obesity, and depression. Research shows us the benefits of a good night’s sleep include: improved memory and learning, improved attention, emotional regulation, better weight control, and improved mental health.

Why are the time changes not the same for each elementary building? We currently operate our transportation routes on a three-tier system. Our junior high and high school routes are first, followed by two different elementary building routes. After working with a transportation consultant to look at routing our buses, it was determined that we could only start the junior high and high school later if the gap between those routes and the elementary routes remained. To maintain the cost-efficiency of a three-tier busing system, the elementary times had to be adjusted as well. Our elementary buildings have had three staggered start times, and that will continue with this new schedule to ensure efficiency. 

Why change the start times now?  Milford Junior High and Milford High School currently begin at 7:15 a.m. Research shows that the optimum start time is 8:30 a.m. Pushing back the start time for our junior high and high schools means shifting the transportations schedules district-wide for eight of our school buildings K-12. Three years ago, our administrative team began investigating ways to delay start times while also being fiscally responsible. A phase-in approach to push back start times incrementally was suggested. The result is that, for the 2020/2021 school year, the junior high and high school will begin half an hour later, and the elementary buildings will shift five to 10 minutes earlier or later. Even these small adjustments will have a positive impact on students and minimum impact on district finances. 

Why do the elementary building start times have to change to accommodate a later start time at the junior high and high school?  In order to start the junior high and high school later, transportation routes will need to be adjusted. Buses will transport our secondary students later, therefore will be picking up and transporting our elementary students later. 

Will the start times change again in the future? Research shows us that the optimum start time for junior high and high school is 8:30 a.m. We would like to eventually reach the later start time of 8:30 a.m. and will continue to study that feasibility while also ensuring fiscal responsibility. Even this small adjustment of a half an hour later start time for our junior high and high school will have a positive impact on our teenage students. In addition, these new start times will ensure that our junior and high school students will be getting on the bus or driving to school during daylight hours for most of the school year.

During last week's meeting, Board President Chris Hamm said implementing the new start times now is a good first step. “We know this isn’t the finish line, but this is a very good start,” Mr. Hamm said. “We don’t know yet what next school year will look like, but we have to make plans as if we’re starting the year up normally and make contingency plans if we don’t.”