New school start and end times announced for D-20 in the Colorado Springs area

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) — New school start and end times were announced Tuesday for D-20 regarding their 2023-24 school year.

The times were set by the board on Tuesday. The new times are as follows:

  • Primary school: 7.30am – 2.30pm
  • High School 8:50am – 3:55pm*
  • *(Challenger Middle School (CMS): 8:20am – 3:25pm CMS shares Black Forest bus transportation with Pine Creek High School due to the density of Black Forest riders.)
  • High School 8:10am – 3:15pm

The following was posted on the D-20 website when the times were presented to the public:

Based on recommendations from the Academy District 20 (ASD20) School Start/End Times Committee, the district will be changing the start/end times of all schools. This change will take effect at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

The new start/end times follow a three-tiered schedule. Currently, the district follows a two-tiered schedule. By starting/ending each level on its own time, the district adheres to best practices regarding adolescent sleep time. In addition, the change creates sustainability for our transport system and maximizes efficiency.

The proposed new times are as follows:

  • Primary school: 7.30am – 2.30pm
  • High School 8:50am – 3:55pm*
  • *(Challenger Middle School (CMS): 8:20am – 3:25pm CMS shares Black Forest bus transportation with Pine Creek High School due to the density of Black Forest riders.)
  • High School 8:10am – 3:15pm

Please note that the 40 minutes between start times is the minimum time for buses to run routes. We understand this is an important change and brings a variety of challenges to family schedules, work schedules, and before and after school activities. Therefore, we are exploring strategies to mitigate the impact of these challenges. We will share more information about this in the coming days / weeks.

Research suggests changing start times

This proposal is the result of two years of discussion and research by the School Start and End Time Committee, comprising students, staff, guardians/parents, and healthcare professionals. The committee was tasked with reviewing, analyzing and researching school schedules for elementary, middle and high schools. The committee worked on:

  • determine whether changes need to be made, and
  • identify the effects of the current and proposed start and end times for each level.

The committee heard from health care experts and reviewed numerous studies, all of which suggest that there are optimal school start times for specific grade levels and that adjusting call schedules has multiple benefits for students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have called insufficient sleep for teens a public health problem and recommend middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. because it supports teens’ overall health, alertness, and safety .

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, but currently nearly 60% of high school students and more than 70% of high school students don’t get enough sleep on school nights.

A study from the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota found that when school starts later, teens get more sleep, leading to better physical and mental health, including fewer depressions and anxiety and fewer caffeine and substance abuse.

The National Sleep Foundation found that both attendance and graduation rates were “significantly improved” in schools that delayed their start time to 8:30 a.m. or later.

The American Educational Research Association shared data from the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis showing that earlier school start times do not have the same negative impact on elementary school students as they do on high school students.

As the committee studied the academic, social and emotional benefits of adjusting start and end times, the group also realized that transportation efficiencies and offerings could be achieved through a three-tier system.

Due to the combination of an inefficient delivery schedule due to differing tee times and a commensurate shortage of bus drivers, we are currently unable to transport all athletic and activity teams to after-school events/competitions. on-site learning experiences (excursions) for students, buses for after-school activities are canceled and we are even forced to cancel certain bus routes to/from school.

Moving to a three-tier transportation system will allow us to return to a service delivery system that best supports students, specifically the following.

  • Our students will have transportation services for field trips, athletics, and extracurricular activities, and ongoing transportation services for elementary students. This is a result of an expected 10% drop in bus routes as there are currently 12 different start times for district schools. A decrease in the number of routes reduces the number of drivers required. The proposed new schedule has only three start times.
  • Fewer drivers will be needed to support routes, helping to reduce the chronic driver shortage and reduce the likelihood of route cancellations. Over the past three years, we have implemented several strategies, including financial incentives, to attract and retain bus drivers. While these strategies have helped, we still fall short of the drivers needed to meet day-to-day needs.
  • In addition, the new start/end times allow:

· Creating adequate bus services in the future, as new neighborhoods and schools are built or borders are changed.

· Reducing vehicle inventory, shifting fiscal resources to schools.

· Review of the after-school activity bus service and possible expansion of community bus services during the school day in 2024-25.

History

In the Spring Semester of 2021, Superintendent Tom Gregory tasked Dr. Susan Field, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services and Dr. Jim Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Planning and Engagement with forming a committee to investigate three areas related to the district calendar :

  • how snow days affect the use of online tools,
  • scheduling fixed dates for the Professional Learning Community (PLC) throughout the school year, and
  • research start times for secondary schools, taking into account ongoing research.

To date, we have implemented the District Calendar Review Task Force (DCRTF) recommended changes specifically for snow day management, and recommended PLC dates are planned and will be planned in the future. However, the Task Force District Calendar Review recommended that the district spend additional time researching the pros and cons of changing tee times by level.

Members of the subcommittee met eight times during the 2021-2022 school year and discussed existing research on tee times and the potential impact later tee times may have on adolescents. This committee reviewed 16 articles, engaged with medical experts and heard from ASD20 staff to further explore the potential benefits and full impact of moving middle and high schools to a later start time.

Visit ASD20.ORG for information on the work of the Start and End Time Committee.

In addition, you can view the proposed start/end time presentation of the January 19, 2023 Board of Education meeting. Go to 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 can be found. From there you can navigate to the January 19, 2023 board meeting and watch the video. (Note: the start/end time presentation starts at The presentation starts 58 minutes into the video.

New school start and end times announced for D-20 in the Colorado Springs area

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