School Start Time Community Forums

posted Sep 13, 2017, 1:47 PM by Deanne Galdston

Good afternoon,

The Watertown Public School District is currently considering changes to the start and end times for all of our schools beginning in the fall of 2018. The reasons for considering this move are many with the most important being to improve educational opportunities for all of our students based upon optimal times for student learning to occur.  Parents of teens may notice that their children who used to jump out of bed when in elementary school are far more apt to hit snooze multiple times.  This may be directly related to changes in their circadian rhythm as their brain produces the sleep hormone melatonin later at night as they enter adolescence. 

Over the past several years, mounting research indicates that optimal learning for adolescents begins at or after 8:30 in the morning.  Currently, Watertown High School begins at 7:55 and Watertown Middle School begins at 7:40.  Last year, the District formed a Start Time Task Force which studied the research and what the impact of changing start times would be.  The Task Force produced a report with two options being recommended both of which have secondary schools starting at 8:30, with elementary schools starting at either 8:15 or 7:50.  The School Committee will make the decision regarding start times later this fall and is now looking for feedback from the larger community to help inform their decision. 

The District will hold a series of community forums at the end of September to present the proposals for start times along with the rationale for the change and to gather feedback from community members.  The meetings will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, September 26, 8:30 AM at Hosmer School Auditorium

Tuesday, September 26, 6:30 PM at Watertown High School, Lecture Hall

Thursday, September 28, 8:35 AM at Lowell School Cafeteria

Thursday, September 28, 6:30 PM at Watertown Middle School, Auditorium

Additionally, I will be holding a Superintendent’s Coffee on September 20 at 9:00 a.m. and again on September 21 at 7:00 at the Phillips Administration Building, with the conversation focusing on school start times.  If you are not able to attend any of these meetings, you can provide feedback via an online survey at:

Have a great evening,

Dede Galdston, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Watertown Public Schools


Deanne Galdston,
Sep 13, 2017, 1:47 PM