Taking the next step in a long-discussed plan, the Keene School District has announced new start times for its schools, to take effect this summer when the 2020-21 school year begins.
Elementary schools in Keene will run from 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.; the middle school from 8:50 a.m. to 3:22 p.m.; and the high school from 8:40 a.m. to 3:33 p.m.
The change follows a 2018 decision by the Keene Board of Education to shift to later start times for the middle and high schools. The board’s action came after a committee recommended the change, citing research showing that adolescents naturally wake up later and tend to do better when they don’t have to get to school so early.
“While it is understood that the changes may create challenges for families, the overall benefits this shift will provide to our student learners is too significant to ignore,” Superintendent Robert H. Malay wrote in a Jan. 28 letter to parents.
The current start times are 7:50 a.m. for the middle school and 7:25 a.m. for the high school. The district’s four elementary schools start between 8:20 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
The high school’s start-time change is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute with the Monadnock Regional School District, which says the new schedule will impede its students’ ability to take classes at Keene High School’s Cheshire Career Center. The center serves juniors and seniors from the Keene, Monadnock and Fall Mountain school districts.