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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) For School Start and End Times (2023-24 school year)

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When Will The Change In Start/End Times Go Into Effect?

The district’s new start and end times for each school will be announced in November 2022 and go into effect for the 2023-24 school year. The sharing of new start/end times ahead of EnrollJeffco (Round One opens December 6, 2022) will help provide families the information they need to make informed decisions with the enrollment process.

 

Please note: The times announced by school principals to their communities in late November are target start and end times for the 2023-24 school year. The times may shift slightly as our Transportation Department works on building routes to support our schools. Because our school community includes students who live all across Jeffco, we need to take additional care to ensure that all students can get to and from school safely and on time. The length of the school day will not change, but we may slightly adjust the beginning and end times as Transportation coordinates bus routes for our students. We will confirm all of our school’s start and end times for next school year no later than January 2023.

 

Why is the district changing the start and end times for schools across the district?

Currently, school start and end times vary across schools in Jeffco. Start and end times are different for schools at the same level (elementary, middle, and high) or within the same articulation area. For example, some of our elementary schools start as early as 7:35 a.m. while others begin their day closer to 9:00 a.m. These varying start times create different lengths of the school day and unequal amounts of in-classroom instruction time for students across the district. For example, some elementary students experience nearly half a year less instructional time than other students simply based on the length of their school day. This wide range of start and end times also makes it very expensive and difficult to provide efficient and cost effective bus transportation.

 

In addition, research on adolescents show that healthy school start times result in improved student attendance, more students arriving at school on time, and improved graduation rates.

What does the district want to achieve by changing start and end times for schools?

The goal is to align school start and end times for equitable learning (equal instructional time in the classroom) and student achievement improvement across all of our schools. We hope to achieve this by: 

  • Later school start time for adolescents – particularly high school students – for better mental and physical health
  • Establishing an equitable school day length so that all students are receiving the right amount of instructional time for their grade level
    • Elementary - 6:50 hours to 7:00 hours
    • Middle - 7 hours to 7:15 hours
    • High - 7:15 hours to 7:20 hours
  • Provide a 35-minute lunch break for all schools
  • More efficient, reliable and cost-effective Transportation services, resulting in fewer canceled routes and cost savings for Jeffco Public Schools

What are the benefits of later start times for middle and high school students?

Currently, most Jeffco high schools and middle schools start their school day before 8:00 am.

  • Research shows that healthy school start times result in improved student attendance, more students arriving at school on time, and improved graduation rates. Healthcare professionals, mental health organizations, and sleep experts agree on the benefits of later start times for students. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly supports the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep in students and urges high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep (8.5–9.5 hours) which results in improved physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life.

What impacts will these changes have on schools and how is Jeffco preparing for them? 

  • Jeffco’s Transportation Department has been working to optimize bus routing across the district, identifying the necessary number of routes, drivers, and stops as well as identifying pick up and drop off times for students across the district.
  • Jeffco Athletics/Activities has been working with building athletic directors and coaches to identify concerns and needs with the shift in start and dismissal times. This information is being used to determine solutions to these issues. 
  • Jeffco Child Care Providers are working to determine child care needs across the district as start and dismissal times change. Part of this work will include gathering input from families and staff who anticipate changes in their childcare needs as a result of the new start and end times for the schools their children attend. 
  • Jeffco District Leadership is communicating to: 
    • student employers
    • school principals to understand schools’ specific needs

Are there other school districts that have implemented this change?

Yes. Many of our neighboring school districts have either made similar changes to their start and end times, or are in the process of doing so. We are learning from their work as we prepare to implement this next school year. The districts include: Adams 12 School District, Boulder Valley School District, Brighton 27J, Cherry Creek School District, Denver Public Schools, Littleton Public Schools, and more.  

How did the Healthy and Equitable Start Time Initiative Start?

It started through Grassroots Community Engagement. In 2017, a group of parents inquired with the district about setting equitable start times for all schools to help ensure equitable learning in the typical school day. The Start Times Task Force was formed and over the past five years, a diverse group of families, Jeffco Public Schools staff, and community members have studied the issue and explored options. In January 2022, the Jeffco Board of Education instructed the superintendent to explore what it would take to launch healthy and equitable start and end times. The Task Force shared their findings (including an overwhelming response to a community survey) and recommendations and a District Implementation team was put in place to continue this important work.

When will I know more?

District leadership will be communicating additional information in November including start and end times for schools across the district.

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