|Fairfax County, VA|
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:
AACPS contacted Fairfax County with questions about the process of changing start times in their county. Below are the responses from Mr. John Torre, Public Information Officer for Fairfax County Public Schools, in October 2015.
How are things going with the move in start times?
Overall, there has been a very positive and smooth start to the school year.
How was transportation impacted?
The start of a new school year is always and adjustment and we did experience a few delays with buses as is normal at the start of every school year. We anticipated that traffic volume and patterns would be impacted around some schools and conditions improved as commuters and our drivers adjusted to the new schedule. We have made bus schedule changes at a few schools that have had persistent delays.
How many buses were purchased or leased as a result of changing start and dismissal times?
We have 1,600 buses in our fleet – larger than Greyhound- providing transportation to 130,000 students over 400 square miles each day. 27 buses were purchased to accommodate the new schedule
What new School Start Time model did you choose?
Citing the clear health benefits for adolescents, the School Board approved a recommendation for starting high schools later with the change benefiting more than 57,000 high school students or more than 30 percent of FCPS’ student population. The School Board approved the change last fall with the changes now in effect. High schools start at 8:10 AM and our three secondary schools start at 8 a.m.
Which school level (elementary, middle, or high) is going to school first? When is the earliest start time?
Most FCPS middle schools were starting between 7:45 and 8:00 AM and, under the new bell schedule, start classes at 7:30 AM.
How do elementary, middle, and high school parents each feel about the change?
In this process to implement later high school start times, every effort was made to minimize the impact to elementary school start times. The elementary school start time window remains unchanged—8 AM to 9:20 AM Most elementary schools have seen no change or only a 5-10 minute adjustment.
The Superintendent’s office and the School Board recognize that elementary and middle school start times are not ideal and it is their goal to continue to work to refine and improve school start times for both middle schools and elementary schools in the future.
School Start Times Task Force | Anne Arundel County Public Schools | 410-222-5000