|Local and National School Districts: Recent Studies of High School Start Times|
Many school districts around the country have changed their start times. View some of their stories below.
Later High School Start Times a Challenge for Districts, March 24, 2014
This article from U.S. News Education considers that new research suggests academic benefits with later high school start times, but officials say logistical issues can make a shift difficult.
Fairfax County, Virginia
In 2014, the Fairfax County School Board voted to change high school and middle school start and dismissal times for the 2015-2016 school year. Following this new schedule:
- High schools start at 8:00 or 8:10 and dismiss at 2:45 or 2:55
- Middle schools start at 7:30 and end at 2:15
- Elementary school start and dismissal times remained unchanged with elementary schools starting between 8:00 and 9:20.
You can see the 2015-16 New Bell Schedule, Overview of School Start Times Plan, Cost References ($5.4 million) here.
AACPS contacted Fairfax County with questions about the process of changing start times in their county. Click here to see their response.
Click here to see a more detailed history of School Start Times in Fairfax County.
Montgomery County, MD
In 2015, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to change school start and dismissal times for the 2015-2016 school year:
- High schools start at 7:45 and dismiss at 2:30 (20 minute shift)
- Middle schools start at 8:15 and dismiss at 3:00 (20 minute shift)
- Elementary schools start between 9:00-9:25 and dismiss between 3:25-3:50. (In addition to shifting the start of elementary schools by 10 minutes, the change also lengthened the elementary school day by 10 minutes.
You can see the 2015-16 New Bell Scheduld, Overview of the Bell Time Options, and other information about this change here.
AACPS contacted Montgomery County with questions about the process of changing start times in their county. Click here to see their response.
Click here to see a more detailed history of School Start Times in Montgomery County.
Durham County, 2015
In August 2015, the Durham County Public Schools Board of Education voted to change high school start times to 9:00 a.m. This article discusses the benefit and impacts of this decision.
Education Commission of the States: 2014 (pdf)
Fairfax County, VA: 2014
In April of 2012, the Fairfax County School Board adopted a resolution with the goal of the Fairfax County School Board to start high schools after 8 AM. The Board issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consulting firm to perform research of school systems with later start times and prepare a specific plan for FCPS based upon that research.
Howard County, MD: 2014
In the fall of 2013, the Howard County Superintendent requested the formation of a work group to examine research, school bell schedules, and an initial survey of the impact on transportation, student activities/athletics, and family/community needs. From September 2013 to January 2014, the group gathered, reviewed, and analyzed information relevant to the high school start time. Their preliminary report, presented in February 2014, highlights the need for further study, input, and analysis.
After conducting a study in 2002, Minneapolis, MN, revisited the impact of later high school start times on the health and academic performance of high school students. This research project examined whether or not a delay in start time for high school students had an impact on their overall health and academic performance. Data were collected in eight public high schools in five school districts in three states—Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming. Their findings, released in February 2014, are linked below, as well as the original 2002 study
Montgomery County, MD: 2014
In December 2012, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Joshua P. Starr directed staff to convene a work group—including community stakeholders—to develop options to address students’ need for more sleep, and in particular, to consider adjustments to school start times. The 2013 High School Bell Times Work Group presented its findings in September 2013. During the 2013-2014 school year, Dr. Starr combined discussions of changing school start times with the extension of the elementary school day by 30 minutes. In June 2014, Dr. Starr announced that he was withdrawing his support of the options.
North Carolina: 1999, 2015
In 1999, North Carolina created a report summarizing issues related to the feasibility and advisability of delaying the start of the school day in order to provide students with constructive projects and tasks during the late afternoon hours of the school week. In August 2015, The Durham County Public Schools Board of Education voted to change high school start times to 9:00 a.m.
North Dakota, 2015
In North Dakota, 78.5% of secondary schools start at or after 8:30 a.m., a higher percentage than in any other state. This article discusses the benefits and transportation considerations of this late start time.