WCS to Start School Later Beginning in 2020-2021

Posted by Adam Spina on 10/8/2019 4:50:00 PM

In keeping with increasing evidence that later start times will foster better academic outcomes, school attendance, and mental health in adolescents, WCS will be making a ten-minute adjustment to the start times of its buildings beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. 

New Start and Ending Times, Beginning 2020-2021:

Williamston High School: 8:15 am - 3:05 pm

Williamston Middle School: 8:20 am - 3:10 pm

Discovery and Explorer Elementary: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm


View the complete 2020-2021 District Calendar here.


The gradual shift toward later start times puts the high school just 15 minutes shy of the research recommended start time of 8:30 am, one of the latest high school starts in the area. During the 2020-2021 school year, the district will assess the ten-minute adjustment, looking at its impact on transportation, co-curricular activities, student safety, and student attendance (the high school amassed 2,297 first hour tardies during the 2018-2019 school year). Future adjustments will be considered based on the collected data. 

The later start times complement district efforts to improve academic outcomes and address student mental health. It is our hope that by communicating the change in school start times this far in advance, families will have time to make appropriate plans before next August.  

Below are links to research on school start times:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Schools Start Too Early

American Psychological Association, Later Start Times Promote Adolescent Well-Being


Health Hero Free Flu Vaccination Clinic:

WCS will host a Health Hero Flu Vaccination Clinic at each school on October 21, 2019. Any student who has turned in the consent form may receive the vaccine a no cost, regardless of insurance coverage. All vaccines given are preservative-free, Mercury-free, and Thimerosal-free and administered by state-licensed nurses. See the Health Hero Website for more details.

Download the consent form here.