Later Start Time Decision Making Rubric

June 20, 2019

Dear Members of the Marshwood Community,

Last night the Board reviewed the attached Later Start Time Decision Making Rubric to review all of the optionsthat the Later Start Task Force considered and analyzed in its work over the last 28 months.  The Task Force based its work on four core values that are encoded in our contracts and embedded in our practice. These four core values are:


  • Preserve the 7 hour per day of instructional time for our students
  • Avoid all ages of students riding on our buses together
  • Preserve weekly building-wide collaborative planning time
  • Maintain co-curricular/extra-curricula opportunities for students

Four implementation options were outlined by the Task Force and presented as follows:

Option 1 Delay all school start times by 20 minutes

Option 2 No change in the current schedule

Option 3 Flip the current elementary and secondary schedule

Option 4 Have all schools start the day at 8:30 a.m.

The rubric summarized positive and negative aspects for each option; relevant questions that arose through the analysis of each option and asked the following three questions:


    1. Can we do this without negatively impacting the district’s core values?
    2. What did the survey data tell us?  [Surveys from parents, students & staff]


  • Should we do this?

Although the Board expressed their sincere wish to implement a later start time for our secondary youth, after considering all of the data and implementation realities, the Board came to consensus to leave the present Marshwood school schedule as is.  Chief among the implementation realties cited were:


  • Students participating in vocational programming at either Sanford, Dover or Somersworth would have their programming impacted significantly
  • With a later start time, some extra-curricular activities would not be able to be offered to our students
  • The heavy impact on the families of elementary aged students

I wish to express my deep appreciation to the Later Start Task Force members for their hard work on this important issue.  The Board expressed its openness to discuss ways in which MSAD 35 could work together with other districts in the future to synchronize both the vocational programs’ start times and the various athletic schedules for our middle and high school youth ~ two key areas vital for resolving implementation issues.

If you would like more information about this decision-making rubric or the Board’s recommendation to leave the present school start time schedule as is, you can reach out to John Caverly, Co-Chair of the Later Start Task Force at


Mary Nash, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools


Marshwood Later Start Committee


  1. Meetings March of 2017 – October of 2018
  2. Committee was comprised of:
  • Keri Tice, Board Chair / Parent
  • Will Hausmann, Former Student Representative
  • Sue Berman, Board Member / Parent
  • Rich Luciano, QEA President / Teacher
  • Dan Mannshrek, Board Member / Parent
  • Rich Buzzell, Athletic Director
  • Andrea Anderson, Rollinsford Board Member / Parent
  • John Caverly, Administrator / Parent
  • Tony Bourbon, Administrator
  • Heidi Early-Hersey, Administrator / Parent
  • Paul Mehlhorn, Administrator
  1. Brought in various community resources:
  • Start School Later Task Force Representative
  • Representatives from Thornton Academy and Biddeford
  • Collected data from various school district about later start times
  1. Reviewed numerous studies around starting school later for Middle and High School students
  2. Several factors to consider unique to Marshwood:
  • Geographic location as one of the most southern in York County makes travel to co-curricular activities difficult with a later start time. Most districts who have been able to implement later start times are more centrally located.
  • Two-tier bus system (elementary and secondary runs)
  • Some bus routes require one hour to transport students to or from school (South Eliot to Great Works, Tatnic to Marshwood Middle School)
  1. Performed 2 individual surveys, one centered around the community as a whole (all parents only), and one centered on how potentially starting school later would effect individual families (all parents, all staff and middle and high school students)
  1. Presented to the MSAD 35 Board of Directors in October 2018 and the Board asked for Community feedback on February 6, 2019 and February 27, 2019
  1. The Board asked to tabulate all of the data onto a chart to help understand all of the individual options with all the related pros and cons.


District’s Core Values

  1. Preserve 7 hour per day instructional time for students
  2. Avoid all ages of students riding on our buses together
  3. Preserve weekly building-wide collaborative planning time
  4. Maintain co-curricular / extra curricular opportunities for studentsScreen Shot 2019-06-20 at 9.42.02 PM















Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 9.42.32 PM

Updated Emergency Procedures and Protocols

Dear Members of the Marshwood Community,

At various times throughout the year, our region experiences both anticipated weather events such as snow storms, wind and ice storms as well as unanticipated emergency events such as power outages. In the fall of 2012, the district worked together with the Emergency Management Directors for both Eliot and South Berwick, each town’s Chief of Police, Fire Chief and Public Works Directors to develop a coherent set of emergency protocols and a communication system for both anticipated weather events and for unanticipated emergency events. These clear protocols essentially require me to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision regarding our schools’ opening, closing or delayed start times before 5:30 a.m. and then to communicate any change to our usual school opening times to over 2,600 contacts. Since weather and conditions surrounding other unanticipated emergency events can change quickly, there will always be a myriad of nuanced contingencies that present themselves within the decisionmaking process. As a result, there may be occasions when you decide to keep your child home when our schools are open. Notwithstanding the decision of the district to open, close or delay the start of its schools, as your child’s parent, you are the best judge of what road and weather conditions you believe are safe or unsafe for your family’s travel. If you believe that your child(ren) should not come to school during an inclement weather event, you should keep your child home. In these cases, your child will be listed as having an “excused” absence and any schoolwork missed on that day will be able to be completed in a timely manner. Finally, although we cannot predict what media systems will be operational or offline at your home or workplace during a weather event or other unanticipated emergency, we have developed numerous pathways for delivering information regarding our schools’ status. These information pathways include: Ø Posting on the district’s website front page: Ø Posting on the district’s Facebook page Ø Notification via TV channels 6, 8 & 13 Ø Notification via radio stations WTSN, the Portland Radio Group, WHEB/WERZ Ø Phone message and email via Connect-ED It is my hope that at least one platform of information will be available to you during a storm or other emergency event so that you can have the latest information regarding your child’s school status. As your Superintendent I want to assure you that I hold the safety of our students and staff as my highest priority and I strive to make the best decision I can with the best available information I have at the time regarding school closings or delayed starts. Thank you for your continued support!


Mary Nash, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools

School Resource Officer Jeff Upton

SRO Jeff Upton

Serving RSU #35 and the Town of South Berwick


This site is set up to be a resource to the entire RSU #35 community in both South Berwick and Eliot.  It is not all inclusive of the issues that our students and parents face on a day to day basis, but it does provide information for many of the topics that are brought up throughout the school year.  If there is information that you feel would be helpful on this site, please email me so that I can get the information out.  Also, please understand that this is a basic resource and you are more than welcome to call me or email me should you have further questions.