With task force’s work done, now it’s time for Watertown to work on new schedules

Starting school later means new challenges for WHS dean of students Brian Brewer

Lauren Cole, Raider Times staff

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    Brian Brewer, the dean of students at Watertown High, has worked here since he started his career as a teacher. Anyone would think that a person so used to the way things work would have to make a huge adjustment after the decision to push the start times of Watertown schools.

   However, Mr. Brewer thinks differently.

   “For me, it doesn’t really make a difference, the time is the time” he said.

   Before making the decision to push the later start times — from 7:55 a.m./2:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m./3:05 p.m. — the school district broke up the citizens of Watertown into separate task forces. They were given separate problems that needed to be worked out in order implement the new start times. Mr. Brewer was on the task force given the job of figuring out what specific issues that could happen if everything was set into place.

   “Our job was to anticipate problems and figure out possible solutions,” he said.

   He said this became increasingly difficult, because, “It’s like dominos, everything you do has an effect.”

   Many of the larger issues include busing and sports. The same bus now may bring students to two or three schools. With the new start time, the buses can’t do that in a time-efficient manner.  The only solution is adding more buses, but that requires more money.

    The other issue is with student-athletes. If schools end later, sports will begin and end that much later.

     “The main idea behind [the time change] is to get adolescence more sleep,” Mr. Brewer said, but if kids are getting home later from sports that defeats the whole purpose.

    When asked if adding more study halls to students’ schedules would help them get more sleep because more work was done during the school day, he said, “Not a bad idea. ‘If I can do work in school, I can go to bed earlier.’ ”

   Despite this, he said there will always be students who take advantage of their study halls and will not actually do work there.

   There are pros and cons to everything that deals with change, which makes Mr. Brewer’s job that much harder. Regardless, the district has decided to push this change into place. In 2018-19, Watertown High and Watertown Middle School will start at 8:30 a.m., and all three elementary-level schools will start at 8:15 a.m.

–Nov. 30, 2017–

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