New schedules let teens start school later
PSD school schedules, BASE Camp, athletics and extracurricular activities, and busing changes will be implemented for the 2019-20 school year.
After a year of extensive research and community engagement, the PSD Board of Education voted in November 2018 to change PSD’s school start times, beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The Board's interest in later school start times stems from recommendations made by the American Medical Association and research on teen sleep patterns.
Minor adjustments to school start times may still be made through the start of the school year. If a school has changes to their schedule, they will let their community know.
Projected start/end times may change a bit as PSD staff implement the changes. Modifying start and end times at schools is a complex process that involves everything from mapping bus routes for the nearly 13,000 students transported by PSD daily across the 1,800 square mile district to coordinating the extracurricular, lunch and athletics schedules at each school.
Frequently asked questions are posted below for your reference.
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What is the change the Board voted for?
The Board voted (7-0) during its Nov. 27, 2018, meeting to adopt new start and end times for PSD schools. The Board adopted Modified Scenario B, which shifts:
- Start times for PSD high schools to between 8:55 to 9 a.m. with end times shifting to between 4-4:05 p.m. PSD’s current start times range from 7:25-8:15 a.m. at the secondary level.
- PSD middle schools will start at 8:05 a.m. and end between 2:55 to 3:10 p.m.
- PSD elementary schools will now start between 7:45 to 8:50 a.m. and end between 2:23 to 3:40 p.m. This represents a significant change from prior start times for some elementary schools.
My child's school starts at X time. What will the new start time be for my school?
The start and end times for all schools that receive regular PSD busing can be found in this pdf document, which will be implemented for the 2019-20 school year.
Parents and guardians of elementary students can check with their elementary school for more information about that school’s schedule for the 2019-20 school year. Schools will be able to provide information about times for classes, lunches and BASE Camp before- and after-school childcare options (where applicable).
Middle and high school principals have worked collaboratively to develop schedules that work best for their communities and will continue this work into the 2019-2020 school year. Families should reach out to their schools directly with schedule-related questions. PSD plans to study the impacts of the schedule changes in the first year of implementation, and will use what’s learned to consider future plans.
What's the history behind the Board's decision?
More than a year ago, the Board of Education tasked PSD staff with exploring the possibility of shifting school start times at the secondary level to later in the morning. Research from the American Medical Association (AMA), which is supported by the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, indicates that high school students perform better and are safer when they get more sleep. The AMA, therefore, recommends that teenagers should not start school before 8:30 a.m.
Compelled by this research, PSD’s Board of Education tasked the District with exploring start time options that would shift the start times of high schools and middle schools closer to the AMA’s 8:30 a.m. recommendation. PSD began its exploration by surveying the community to garner information about the community’s interest in later start times. The District learned from the inaugural survey that about 85 percent of respondents had an interest in shifting secondary school start times later.
With this feedback, the District then convened a School Start Times Scenario Committee, comprised of parents, staff, and community members, to help identify specific start-time scenarios for further consideration. This committee, with the support of PSD’s Transportation Department, identified four start-time scenarios for further consideration. These four scenarios then formed the basis of a second survey, circulated to the community in August 2018. While this survey was open, the District also hosted four community engagement sessions, which offered members of the PSD community the opportunity to learn more about the scenarios under consideration and to ask questions and provide comments related to potential start-time changes.
From the surveys and community engagement, the District learned that the end time for high schools was of concern, and that end times after 4 p.m. were largely considered to be too late. In response to this feedback, PSD created an additional start-time scenario that shifted high schools to 8:55 or 9 a.m. starts with an end time of 4 or 4:05 p.m. This Modified Scenario B, as it’s called, was made possible by eliminating later-start Wednesdays, and is ultimately the scenario the Board of Education voted Nov. 27 to approve for implementation during the 2019-20 school year.
What are the costs associated with this change?
As PSD’s Nov. 13 presentation on school start times stated, the current projected transportation costs to implement this scheduling change is $685,000 in year one. This includes estimated costs for the purchase of additional staffing and buses, some of which PSD would have purchased regardless of a start-end-time change to meet PSD’s growth demands. There are ongoing transportation costs projected, as well as various other potential costs related to facilities, utilities, and more. At this time, PSD does not have a final tally for the cost of implementation.
Will the bus still pick up my child for school?
If your student is currently receiving regular PSD busing to school, this will continue. It is likely the times your child is picked up and dropped off by the bus will change. PSD traditionally releases its bus schedules each year in August. PSD anticipates releasing finalized pick-up and drop-off times again in August, and sincerely appreciates the community’s patience as we plan for this significant change. In the past, PSD has sent bus route schedules sooner than August and had to recall and update the information because of changes that occur in the weeks preceding the start of school, as new students move into PSD. We want to ensure accuracy as best as possible and not put families in a position where they’re making decisions informed by outdated information. It’s important to note that PSD will continue busing students to Centennial High School. If your student is taking courses at Front Range Community College (FRCC), please contact your high school directly for more information about transportation options to FRCC. Those with specific questions may also call Transportation at 970-490-3232.
What consideration was given to the impacts on athletics and extracurricular activities? Will athletic practices just be moved back a couple hours in the afternoons?
Using the new start and end times as they are known now, each school determined how its athletics and extracurricular schedules will shift. Students and families are encouraged to check with their schools’ athletics director for more information about school-specific athletic programs. In general, athletics practices across PSD will take place between 4:30 to 9 p.m. for indoor programs, and 4:30 p.m. to sundown for outdoor programs. Athletic programs that have traditionally practiced before school (swimming and ice hockey) will continue to practice before school. Additionally, golf teams may also practice before school due to the availability of tee times. Please contact your school directly for more specific information about practice times. Please note: as this is the first year of implementation of a new school, it is possible that athletics and extracurricular activity schedules may continue to shift on a school-by-school and sport-by-sport basis.
As has been the case in the past, the Front Range League will continue to set game schedules.
If my child likes early start, can they do a period zero to start class early and finish early?
As PSD moves to new start times, each of our high schools will be closely examining their schedules with the goal of creating options for students. Throughout the school start-times exploration, we have consistently heard from the high schools that they will explore offering zero-hour classes and activity options to students so they may flexibly arrange their schedules. Specific decisions about whether and what to offer for zero hour will be made at each individual high school. Please contact your high school directly for more specific scheduling information.
What will this change mean for BASE Camp and other before- and after-school care options?
BASE Camp offers fee-based before- and after-school care at many PSD schools. There are also other childcare options in our community. Contrary to some misconceptions, PSD does not own or operate BASE Camp. As is standard practice for the organization, BASE Camp has worked to revise programming to best support PSD families to accommodate the new bell schedules. We encourage families who use BASE Camp services or those considering using BASE Camp services to reach out to BASE Camp directly with questions. More information: www.mybasecampkids.org or 970-266-1734.
How are you going to measure the impact of this change?
We plan to monitor implementation of this system-wide change and will share more information as it is available.
I have thoughts regarding the decision to change bell schedules. How can I share my feedback?
You may contact all directors on the Board of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org. School board meetings are also open to the public and include a time designated for community comment. Visit the PSD Board of Education web page for more information about the Board.
How can I stay up-to-date on the changes related to PSD’s new school bell schedules, beginning in August?
We encourage families to reach out first to their schools with questions, as many decisions about schedules, electives and more are happening at the schools with their communities. You may also refer to the PSD website for current information about the new bell schedules, and the process that preceded the Board’s decision. You can also follow PSD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on PSDTV Comcast Channel 10 or on YouTube.