The new start/end times follow a three-tier schedule. Currently the district follows a two-tier schedule. By starting/ending each level at its own time, the district will adhere to and follow best practices regarding adolescent sleep time. Additionally, the change creates sustainability for our transportation system and maximizes efficiency.
The proposed new times are as follows:
Elementary School: 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Middle School 8:50 a.m. - 3:55 p.m.*
*(Challenger Middle School (CMS): 8:20 a.m. - 3:25 p.m. CMS shares the Black Forest bus transportation with Pine Creek High School due to the sparsity of riders from the Black Forest.)
High School 8:10 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Please note, the 40 minutes between start times is the minimum time needed for buses to run routes. We understand this is a significant change and presents a variety of challenges to family schedules, work schedules, and before/after school activities. We are therefore exploring strategies to help mitigate the impacts of these challenges. We will share more information about that in the coming days/weeks.
Research Suggests Altering Start Times
This proposal comes after two years of discussion and research by the School Start/End Times Committee – comprised of students, staff, guardians/parents and health care experts. The committee was charged with reviewing, analyzing, and researching school schedules for elementary, middle, high school. The committee worked to:
determine if changes should be made, and
identify the impacts of current and proposed start and end times for each level.
The committee heard from health care experts and studied numerous research, all of which suggests there are optimal school start times for specific grade levels and adjusting bell schedules creates multiple benefits for students.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has called insufficient sleep for teens a public health issue and recommends middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., because it supports overall teen health, alertness and safety.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, but currently almost 60% of middle schoolers and more than 70% of high schoolers don't get enough sleep on school nights.
A study by the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota showed when school starts later, teens get more sleep, which leads to better physical and mental health, including decreased rates of depression and anxiety and less caffeine and substance abuse.
The National Sleep Foundation found both attendance and graduation rates "significantly improved" in schools that delayed their start times to 8:30 a.m., or later.
The American Educational Research Association shared data from the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis found earlier school start times do not have the same negative impacts for elementary school students as they do for high school students.
As the committee studied the academic, social and emotional benefits to adjusting start/end times, the group also realized there could be transportation efficiencies and offerings gained through a three-tier system.
Currently, due to the combination of an inefficient delivery schedule as a result of varied start times, and commensurate shortage of bus drivers, we are unable to transport all athletic and activity teams to after school events/competitions, teachers are unable to schedule off-site learning experiences (field trips) for students, after school activity buses are cancelled, and we are even forced to cancel certain bus routes to/from school.
Changing to a three-tier transportation delivery system will allow us to return to a service delivery system that best supports students, specifically it will allow the following.
Our students will have transportation services for field trips, athletics, and extracurricular activities, and continued elementary student overflow transportation services. This is the result of a projected 10% decrease in bus routes as currently there are 12 different start times for district schools. A decrease in the number of routes decreases the number of drivers needed. The proposed new schedule has only three start times.
Less drivers will be needed to support routes, which helps mitigate the chronic driver shortage, and decreases the likelihood of route cancellations. Over the last three years, we have implemented various strategies, including financial incentives, to attract and retain bus drivers. Although these strategies have helped, we continue to fall short of the drivers needed to meet daily needs.
Additionally, the new start/end times allow for:
Creating adequate bus service in the future, as new neighborhoods and schools are built or boundaries changed.
Reducing vehicle inventory, shifting fiscal resources to schools.
Reviewing the afterschool activity bus service and possible expansion of intra-district bus services during the school day in 2024-25.
In the spring semester of 2021, Superintendent Tom Gregory charged Dr. Susan Field, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services and Dr. Jim Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Planning and Engagement with forming a committee to explore three areas related to the district calendar:
how snow days impact the use of online tools,
scheduling set dates for Professional Learning Community (PLC) throughout the school year, and
research start times for secondary schools, considering current research.
To date, we have implemented the recommended changes from the District Calendar Review Task Force (DCRTF) specific to managing snow days, and the recommended PLC dates have been scheduled and will be scheduled into the future. However, the District Calendar Review Task Force recommended the district spend additional time researching the benefits and disadvantages of changing start times, by level.
Members of the subcommittee met eight times during the 2021-2022 school year and reviewed existing research about start times and the potential impact that later start times could have for adolescents. This committee reviewed 16 articles, engaged in conversation with medical experts, and heard from ASD20 staff to further examine the possible benefits and full impact of moving high schools and middle schools to a later start time.
Please visit ASD20.ORG to see information regarding the Start and End Times Committee.
Additionally, you can watch the proposed start/end time presentation from the Jan. 19, 2023, Board of Education meeting. Please visit the Board of Education page on ASD20.ORG, and select Agendas, Minutes & Video. This will take you to BoardDocs, where the videos of our board meetings are housed. From there you can navigate to the Jan. 19, 2023, board meeting and watch the video. (Please note the Start/End Time presentation starts at The presentation begins 58 minutes into the video.
If you have questions or comments you may contact:
Thank you for your trust, confidence, and patience as we prepare for this significant change.
Superintendent of Schools
Academy District 20