School super to convene group to review start times

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After Thanksgiving, School Superintendent Jeff Granatino plans to bring together a 14-member advisory committee made up of staff, parents, and students to discuss whether school start times should be changed next year.

The move is being considered to improve academic performance by allowing students more time for sleep.

Granatino said if the time is changed at the high school it may affect the starting times at all the other schools. School committee member Jill Stevens said before the committee begins review, it is important to determine if the bus company can alter its times and routes to accommodate any changes.

“If the bus company cannot make the changes, why spend the time to go through the review,” she questioned.

Granatino also reported that surveys will be sent to high school students to measure student stress and workload in the wake of the airing of the film “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture.”

In other news last week, performing arts director Sarah Collmer presented an enthusiastic overview of the department, noting that some students arrive at 6:15 a.m. for the opportunity to participate in jazz band. Many students have elected to make band an everyday commitment and others have elected chorus, which meets less than five days per week.

Collmer reported strong interest in the middle school Intro to Performing Arts course. She added that there are two outside school trips planned for performing arts students. One is a day trip to New York City to take in a Broadway performance and another is a trip in the spring to watch the Boston Symphony.

Collmer also reported that students are enjoying the four Mac computers to help them learn about music from around the globe and to compose their own music.

Collmer added that the Rodman Foundation, Music Counts and the Goulet Co. have donated instruments for music lessons.

In other news at the November 10 committee meeting:

* Members of the CHS golf team attended the meeting to thank the committee for its decision to continue to fund the team this season. The squad finished 8-5, won the league title in the championship match, and sophomore golfer Sam Riemer advanced to the state divisional finals.

* The committee voted to approve an early release day for Friday, February 17.

* Granatino reported the startup of the Opportunity Club at the Hansen School where high school students are helping elementary school students with their homework. In other news at the Hansen, student drives are underway to collect funds for animal shelters and to collect winter coats for the needy.

* The School Committee’s next meeting is on Thursday, December 1.

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