New 2019-20 School Start Times and FAQs

New start and end times will allow middle and high school students to start school later

After a year of extensive research and community engagement, the PSD Board of Education voted 7-0 at their meeting Nov. 27, 2018, to change PSD school start times, beginning in the 2019-20 school year.

Next school year, high schools will start between 8:55 and 9 a.m.; middle schools will start at 8:05 a.m.; and elementary schools will start between 7:45 and 8:50 a.m., which represents a significant change for many schools at the elementary level. 

(Projected start/end times may change a bit over the coming months, as PSD staff implement the changes.)

After analyzing district staff’s final report on the school start times exploration, and considering community input and potential implications, the Board decided to implement Modified Scenario B, created in direct response to feedback from the community.

The Board's decision comes after a year-long study of later school start time options for middle and high school students, which included community surveys and public forums. The board's interest in later school start times stems from recommendations made by the American Medical Association and research on teen sleep patterns. Learn more about the process that led up to the decision on the School Start Time Study web page.

Frequently asked questions and answers are posted below.

If you have additional questions or need more information, please email info@psdschools.org

 

FAQs

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.

See current and new start / end times for schools in this pdf document. 

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.

Please note that the start and end times for PSD’s choice schools, including Centennial High School, Polaris Expeditionary School, Poudre Community Academy, Poudre Global Academy, and Traut Core Knowledge School, are set independently; therefore, they are not included in the table. Also, the projected new start and end times may fluctuate by a couple minutes over the course of the next few months of planning. We acknowledge and appreciate that this decision brings with it significant change for families and the community, and we respectfully ask for your patience as we finalize exact start and end times as well as bus route times, in the coming months.   

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?

Yes. If your student is currently receiving regular PSD bussing to and from school, bussing will continue, but most likely the time that your child is picked up/dropped off by the bus will change. Bus schedules are released each year in August. We anticipate having finalized pick-up and drop-off times in August 2019, and sincerely appreciate everyone’s collective patience as we plan for this significant change.

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?

The change to start and end times will have an impact on athletics and extracurricular activities offered in PSD schools. With the projected new start and end times as they are known now, each school will determine how athletics and extracurricular schedules will shift. It is possible that some athletics and extracurricular activities will take place later in the afternoon. It is also possible that practices will be condensed and that some athletic and extracurricular offerings may occur in the morning before school. More specific information about the impacts to athletics and extracurricular schedules will be shared with the community as it becomes available. 

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. 

Have you considered the impacts to childcare? What will that mean for BASE Camp and other before- and after-school care options?

The impact to childcare has been a consideration throughout the exploration of changes to start and end times. PSD is working closely with BASE Camp as we implement changes to schedules so that BASE Camp may adjust its offerings, as well. We anticipate that other after-school care providers will likely also adjust their offerings in accordance with PSD’s new bell schedules. 

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.

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