New Bell Schedules and FAQs

New bell schedules let teens start school later 

Nearly two months after the Board of Education decided to adopt new school bell schedules, PSD staff members continue the hard work of implementing changes that begin in August and affect students, families, PSD employees and community members. The following updates concern school schedules, BASE Camp, athletics and extracurricular activities, and busing. These changes will be implemented for the 2019-20 school year.

Modifying start and end times at nearly all PSD 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.

Projected start/end times may change a bit as PSD staff implement the changes.

We know this is a significant change.Clear communication of timely information is critical for families making plans for next school year. With that in mind, answer to frequently asked questions are posted below.

For 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, Kinard Core Knowledge School, 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.  

Parents and guardians of elementary students can expect to be able to check with their elementary school roughly by late-February for more information about that school’s schedule for the 2019-20 school year. This includes approximate times for classes, lunches and BASE Camp before- and after-school childcare options, at applicable schools. 

Similarly, middle and high school principals are working collaboratively to develop schedules that work best for their communities. Some schools have settled on a mostly final schedule, while others are still researching options and getting feedback from stakeholders. Master schedules are set by principals, not by the District. For that reason, it is best that families reach out to their schools with specific schedule-related questions. The projected start and end times for all schools that receive regular PSD busing can be found on the at bit.ly/PSDbellschedulechanges. PSD plans to study the impacts of the schedule changes in the first year of implementation, and 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 and continue evaluating options for those enrolled in courses at Front Range Community College. Those with specific questions may 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 projected start and end times as they are known now, each school will determine how its athletics and extracurricular schedules will shift. Students and families can plan to check with their schools’ athletics director around early April to get 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. Please note, as with other aspects of the plan, much of this work is actively underway and likely is not solidified, as staff are evaluating dozens of factors and questions on a school-by-school, sport-by-sport basis.  

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. Considerations range from how facilities could be shared; how best to incorporate past practices and promotion of safe and healthy practice settings; meeting the needs of teams currently without access to lighted fields; missed class time due to games; and more. Should it be decided that certain outdoor PSD facilities require field lighting, there would be costs associated with their purchase, installation and ongoing maintenance. 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. 

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 is working to revise programming to best support PSD families to accommodate the new bell schedules. Schools may be prepared to share information about BASE Camp’s proposed 2019-20 fees with families in or around late-February. 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 specific thoughts regarding the decision to change bell schedules. What is the appropriate manner or place in which to share this feedback?

You may contact all directors on the Board of Education at boe@psdschools.org, about this or any other topics concerning PSD. School board meetings are also open to the public and include a time designated for community comment. More information: bit.ly/PSDschoolboard

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 respective 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. There, you’ll find current information about the new bell schedules, and the exploration process that preceded the Board’s decision. If you haven’t yet, be sure to like PSD’s Facebook page, and follow the district on Twitter, Instagram, and on PSDTV Comcast Channel 10 or on YouTube.

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