Dorchester District Two is asking for the public's input on changing the bell schedule so that high school starts later in the day.
At their meeting Monday, school board members discussed the pros and cons of having high schoolers start their day later. A discussion was led by Elena Furnari, director of high schools, who informed board members that she has conducted research that has led to the conclusion that high school students essentially perform better later in the day, and elementary students tucker out earlier and should therefore start earlier.
Discussions circled around the current bell schedule and bus schedules - particularly with a delayed start for high schoolers after they get dropped off at school via bus, said Superintendent Joseph Pye.
"At our high schools, the last bus drops them off at school at 6:15 a.m.," Pye said. "School begins at 7:30 a.m. So for an hour and 15 minutes these children sit doing nothing. And they're angels - they all should receive an award for how well-behaved they are. You know why? Because they're so calm that they're sleeping. Then the bell rings and they continue to sleep."
Right now high school students are dismissed at 2:55 p.m. The proposed scheduled would have them being dropped off at 9 a.m., start at 9:15 a.m. and leave at 4:15 p.m.
The proposed bell schedule change includes minor changes for middle and elementary schools. Elementary schools would keep their 7 a.m. drop-off time but go from starting school at 7:25 a.m. to starting at 7:15 a.m. Their dismissal time would then be changed from 2:10 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Similarly, middle schools would keep their 8 a.m. drop-off time. Instead of starting at 8:30 a.m. they would start at 8:15 a.m. and be dismissed at 3:15 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.
A survey is going to be posted on the district's website for the public to provide input on the matter.