Getting Answers: new start and end times for Holyoke public schools

Western Mass News is getting answers on how it has been going now that school is back in session.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Holyoke public schools have implemented new start and end times for the new school year.

Western Mass News is getting answers on how it has been going now that school is back in session.

“It’s really contributing to a smoother start and end of the day,” said Holyoke Public Schools’ Chief of Strategy, Erin Linville.

This school year, Holyoke public schools shifted their hours, so Western Mass News decided to check back in and see how the transition has been going.

If you remember back in August, we reported that the new times vary by school.

Classes now begin at 7:45 a.m. at E.N. White, McMahon, and Peck, as well as both Holyoke High North and Dean campuses.

Classes begin at 8:45 a.m. at Donohue, Kelly, Holyoke Middle, Holyoke STEM, Lawrence, Morgan, and Sullivan.

We took our questions to Linville, who told us that shifting to a 2-tier start time has helped to create a more uniform routine for both students, staff, and family members.

“Especially if your mom and your kids are at two different schools, maybe two different start times, now it’s more standardized,” Linville told us.

She explained that prior to this year, every public school in the city had a different start time, which made pick up and drop off more confusing and harder for parents to keep a routine.

Linville added that narrowing it down to only 2 different start times has made it easier for parents to remember, and she believed the new start times are more logical.

“People who have good intentions, they want to be able to start school on time, but we just need to do a better job of communicating the expectations and supporting students and families to meet those expectations and be on school time,” Linville said.

She noted that for most schools, the arrival and dismissal times only shifted by a few minutes, however she said that McMahon saw the most change.

“Years ago, they were on the early start time and then they move to later start time, and then after a lot of parent feedback after that, your parents wanted to move back to the earlier start time,” she said, “so we were able to accommodate that change request to which has been really positively received from staff and families.”

Linville said the start time changes also help ensure every student can get on a bus in the morning and get to school on time since there are limited buses in use.

“We’ve been able to work with the bus company so they better understand the expectations, when is the soonest the bus can arrive, so that’s really helpful for families and the bus drivers because people are getting to school early enough, but not too early,” she said.