As we continue to prepare for the 6th and 9th grade transition, we have a few important updates regarding transportation and its impact on school start times. In our last communication, we shared the 2023-24 calendar, which has been adopted by our School Board. We are now able to provide the anticipated start times for our elementaries, middle schools, and high school. Please note, we will be moving forward with a three-tier bussing schedule, which impacts start and end times.
For ease of reading, the estimated start times for next year are provided below:
|2023-24 School Start Time Estimates|
|Bus Arrival||8:25 AM||9:10 AM||9:20 AM||9:25 AM||7:40 AM||NA|
|School Start||8:40 AM||9:20 AM||9:30 AM||9:35 AM||7:50 AM||8:00 AM|
|School End||3:25 PM||4:00 PM||4:10 PM||4:05 PM||2:20 PM||2:40 PM|
|Bus Depart||3:35 PM||4:10 PM||4:20 PM||4:15 PM||2:30 PM||N/A|
Why a three tier is necessary
Based on research from last year, we were hoping to transport students to school in two tiers, which would allow all of our elementary schools to start at a common time, as well as allow our secondary schools to start at the same time. This year, we have different labor constraints which impact our transportation budget. Our costing models have confirmed there are a few reasons why a two-tier transportation system will not be efficient or sustainable.
Essentially, a two-tier system offers less hours for bus drivers thus requiring us to hire many more drivers than what would be needed to run a three-tier system. Given the state-wide labor shortage and drivers’ desire to work full-time, we will not be able to staff a two-tier system. Additionally, with significant inflationary increases and supply/equipment shortages, a two-tier system is not possible given our available fiscal resources. Initial estimates place the cost of a two-tier system up to $2 million more than a three-tier system.
We continue to prioritize later start times at the middle and high school levels, as research has shown that a later start time is better for adolescent brains. We recognize this change will have minimal impact for some, and more significant impact for others.
Prioritizing our athletic and activity opportunities for middle school students
We recognize that our middle school end times conflict with the starting time for athletic practice for 7th and 8th grade students participating in after school sports. We are grateful to our junior high principals and their teams for creatively identifying a school day schedule that will provide end-of-day flexibility such that student athletes can leave prior to the end of school without missing academic classes. Our transportation department has built in flexible options that will allow athletes to travel to practice locations. We thank parents and staff who participated on the 2018 task force that recommended we consider ways to embed co-curricular and enrichment experiences into the school day. This start/end time change gives us an opportunity to implement this recommendation.
As we continue planning for next year, we will intentionally focus on developing before school and after school supervised enrichment opportunities for middle school students. We are excited about all the possibilities that will be available to our scholars. As we continue to build our plans for next year, we will send additional updates.
We appreciate your partnership!
Hopkins Transition Team