Student Government Pushes for Later Start Time

Student Government has been working on a proposal to push the Upper School start time from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. next year, according to an all-school email sent by junior and Student Government representative Elson Bankoff.

“Throughout [April], Student Government has been meeting with various admin figures to design a schedule for classes to begin at 8:45 a.m.,” Bankoff wrote in the email, which asked students to fill out a Google Form providing input on the start time and which parts of the schedule were least and most important to them.

The initial proposal, as described to the student body, entails a school day starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending no later than 2:50 p.m., with lunch, free periods and break included. The new start time would aim to ensure that students get enough sleep and experience less stress in the morning.

To accommodate the new start time, Student Government representatives have considered ways to shorten free or break periods during the school day so that the end time remains the same. To gauge student opinions, the survey sent to students included questions about the importance of having a designated lunch period and 15-minute breaks on Mondays and Fridays.

Many students raised concerns about the later start time and how it might affect their schedules.

In a follow-up email, Bankoff clarified that break, lunch and free periods will not be abolished.

“There has been a lot of panic around ending free periods, but we can wholeheartedly assure you that we will not do that. No one wants that,” Bankoff wrote.

The new start time could also pose challenges for students with younger siblings in the Middle School, which starts at 8 a.m. Families with children in multiple divisions of the school will likely have greater difficulty in finding transportation options that accommodate both start times.

To address concerns about this issue as well as other questions, Student Government held a town hall meeting during lunch on May 2. By alleviating the concerns of students and explaining the scheduling around the new start time, the town hall provided more clarity about the proposal.

Representatives also announced on May 2 that next year’s schedule will not include an 8:45 a.m. start time due to the complexities involved in changing the schedule. However, Student Government is still exploring other options for the upcoming school year.

“We want to get a sense of what would improve sleep/mental health for next year. This can extend beyond an 8:45 start time. We would love to evaluate this year compared to last and have some proposals to give to admin before the year ends,” Bankoff wrote in an email on May 2.

“The 8:45 start time is an interesting proposal,” sophomore and Student Government Grade representative Harlan Katyal said. “Most students agree that they want to wake up later, but it would be a large change because of the way that schedules have to shift.”

There has been a lot of panic around ending free periods … we will not do that.

— Elson Bankoff '23

Katyal agrees that an 8:45 a.m. start time is not feasible for the coming year, but is hopeful for other proposals. “I think possibly the solution to that is to have one 9:00 start time every Friday,” he said.

The administration has not commented on a later start time or what students can expect in next year’s schedule.

As Student Government continues to work on a proposal to adjust the schedule, students may look forward to other changes next year, such as a later start time once or twice a week, having the ability to choose a morning free period or other modifications that increase student well-being while allowing for the same amount of class time.