New Schedule Moves Start Time to 8:30


Numerous studies show that most teens need more sleep in the mornings to be at their cognitive best at school. But school start times traditionally have been earlier than needed for students to be at their peak.

Starting in the fall, Dunn School will shift our daily start time to 8:30 a.m. The daily schedule rotation is available here.

"We piloted this shift in the daily schedules during the second half of the 2016-2017 school year, and the results clearly demonstrated what research has been saying for years: the school day needs to start at 8:30 or later to best sync with high school students’ sleep patterns and to optimize learning," says Gene Vachon, associate head of school.

In an effort to minimize any potential impact on family schedules, the dining hall and library will continue to be available to students beginning at 7:30 a.m.

In addition to optimizing student learning, the later start time provides teaching faculty a dedicated time to collaborate on pedagogy, student assessment and curriculum development. Many of the new courses and programs offered in the upcoming year have their roots in the faculty collaboration time we utilized last year on days when students arrived later.

The schedule also introduces new 8-week Enrichment Classes on Wednesday afternoons. These elective classes have been a part of the Dunn Middle School program for decades, and for many they are a highlight of the DMS experience. The Upper School enrichment classes will meet from 1:20 to 3 p.m. and will allow teachers and administrators to lead activities that they are passionate about in the context of experiential education offerings.

Ideas for these classes Enrichment ideas include: Math Cooking Class; Mountaineering; Rolling a Kayak; Stage Combat; International Food Festival (Tastes of the World); Recycled Art; Introduction to Ireland; Chumash & Channel Islands; Chess; Alfred Hitchcock Film Study and more.

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