What’s the Point of Hiller Days?

Why we have them and how they impact our everyday school lives.


Ally Holmes

New Hillers banner on the balcony

Getting up early in the morning every weekday to go to school does not allow for optimal brain activity, but with a delayed start time, which received the name Hiller Days, that activity can be drastically improved.

With the regular start time of school being at 7:25 am, the administration pushes the time to 8:15 am giving students an extra fifty minutes of time in the morning.

This idea was not randomly decided on by the administration. Scientific research that went into the final decision. Multiple studies have shown that having a later start time stimulates student learning better than an earlier time.

Assistant Principal Mr. Hanna said, “Science has proven that students, particularly teenagers, who get even an extra 20-25 minutes of sleep, will allow for their brains to engage at a higher level.”

Hiller day serves multiple purposes. It provides time for teachers to meet before school, alongside giving students more time in the morning.

“Without overhauling our entire schedule, we thought we would experiment with a few Fridays and see how that went. Not just with the students’ ability to learn but with traffic patterns and how our teachers dealt with some free time,” Hanna said.

Photo: Student looking at Hiller Day Schedule
Ally Holmes
An HHS student looking at the Hiller Day Schedule

This extra time in the morning allows teachers to collaborate with each other. Usually, in their department groups, they go over lesson plans, grade student work, and bounce ideas off of each other. Teachers enjoy this isolated time on Friday mornings to get together since sometimes during staff meetings, not everyone is always available.

With the first testing of Hiller Days being a success, the administration has been continuously adding Hiller Days to the schedule.

This year, there will be 15 Hiller Days.

“So far students enjoy it. Overall, it seems like a pretty positive thing,” Hanna said.

“I like Hiller Days because you can really do whatever you want, like sleep in or do your work,” sophomore Emma Hansen said.

Sabine DeMartino, sophomore, said she likes Hiller days because “even if you don’t sleep in, you can still come in early and do some homework or talk to your teachers for some extra help, which I think is really cool.”

Freshman Sarah Furlong said, “Hiller Day is for giving stressed-out students extra sleep time.”

While this may be true for some students, others like to spend their extra time in the morning doing other things. This includes getting breakfast, hanging out with friends, or just relaxing before the school day begins.

There are many options for students who need to take the bus to school in the morning. They can lounge in the library, grab breakfast in the cafeteria, or hang out in the guidance office before school.

Some other schools in the district have permanently delayed the school start time, but there are negatives that are preventing the administration from making a permanent change to the schedule in Hopkinton.

“The science is undoubtable… but the reality is that in the world we live in, the sun rises and it’s time to start your day,” Hanna said.

Photo: Hillers banner
Ally Holmes
New Hillers banner on the balcony

Students brains engage at a higher level later in the day, but sometimes people have to be pushed outside of their comfort zones to achieve success and still need to perform.

“For some families, it’s really important that the students get home before the younger children so that they can watch them after school,” Hanna said. “We have students that have jobs. We have students that play sports, that have other clubs and activities that start around that 2, 3 o’clock hour. So if we push the end of the school day, that is going to get interrupted.”

The administration at the high school surveyed students parents, finding out that kids will go to sleep at a later time knowing they have a Hiller Day the next day. Because of this, students aren’t necessarily getting more sleep than usual.

“We are still in the early stages, this is a pretty long-term plan for us to keep gathering data,” Hanna said.

Hiller days are an ongoing experiment at the high school. With no set deadline, the administrators at Hopkinton High School wanted to see what the feedback would be on a change like this.