Start and Stop Times Proposed Adjustments for the 2022-2023 School Year
The Ames CSD is proposing adjustments to start and stop times across the District starting in August for the 2022-2023 school year. These adjustments are being proposed as a result of several factors, including the work from the Calendar Committee, financial savings, research related to this topic, and previous community feedback.
Proposed Start and Stop Times
The proposed start and stop times are as follows:
- Ames High School – 8:30 AM – 3:35 PM (early release 1:35 PM)
- Ames Middle School – 8:40 AM – 3:45 PM (early release 1:45 PM)
- Elementary Schools – 7:40 AM – 2:45 PM (early release 12:45 PM)
- Northwood Preschool Center – 8:15 AM – 11:15 AM and 12:15 PM – 3:15 PM (No school on Wednesday for both preschool and early kindergarten)
This proposal essentially flips the start and stop times of our elementary and secondary schools. Currently, our secondary buildings start the day with Ames High beginning at 7:50 AM and Ames Middle School starting at 8:00 AM. Elementary schools follow that with an 8:30 AM start time.
Ames CSD can gain efficiencies in transportation costs related to start and stop times for students. To do so, the District needs to expand the start and stop time between elementary school and secondary schools to 50 minutes. Each bus route run (morning and afternoon) costs $200 per route per day. By increasing the time to 50 minutes between elementary and secondary times, 10 routes can be reduced each day (10 routes x $200 = $2,000 savings per day; 169 instructional days x $2,000 = $338,000 saving per year). Currently, there is a 30 minute split between elementary and secondary start and stop times.
There are a number of research articles that note benefits of delaying secondary school start times based on student sleep patterns. Below are a number of linked articles:
- Changing school start times: impact on sleep in primary and secondary school students (2021). Conclusions: “Findings suggest a minimal impact of earlier start times on ES students’ sleep or daytime sleepiness, while further supporting the significant benefits of delaying MS and HS start times on student sleep and daytime sleepiness”
- Organizing Schools to improve student achievement: Start times, grade configurations, and teacher assignments (2011). Conclusions: “Adjust school start times for students in middle schools (Grades 6 to 8) and high schools (Grades 9 to 12). Early school start times reduce performance among disadvantaged students by an amount equivalent to having a highly ineffective teacher. In school districts with greater flexibility to adjust start times, starting school even an hour later can boost performance at low cost” (p.7)
- Delayed high school start times later than 8:30 am and impact on graduation rates and attendance rates (2017). Conclusions: Attendance rates and graduation rates significantly improved in schools with delayed start times of 8:30 am or later. School officials need to take special notice that this investigation also raises questions about whether later start times are a mechanism for closing the achievement gap due to improved graduation rates.
- School start times and academic achievement – A systematic review on grades and test scores (2022). Conclusions: Overall, no generalisable improvements in achievement with later starts emerge beyond the level of single studies. This does not necessarily preclude improvements in students’ learning but highlights shortcomings of the literature and the challenges of using grades and test scores to operationalise academic achievement. Given other previously reported positive outcomes, our results suggest that schools could start later while achievement is likely maintained.
- Equal Benefits? An Examination of the Potential Consequences of Later School Start Times for Adolescents and Their Mental Health (2021). Conclusions: Although more school start times research is needed to understand its impact across diverse groups of students, current findings suggest a disproportionate benefit of reduced depression for youth from families of higher socioeconomic status with having a later start time.
Previous Community Feedback
In March of 2020, the District explored this topic and sought feedback from stakeholders about possible adjusted school start times. The survey did not specify any proposed start times but asked if there was support moving elementary to an earlier start time and secondary buildings later. The topic was paused as a result of the pandemic at around the same time. The results outlined below show a positive response at the time.
- Staff – Participation Rate – 296 Participants, 143 Thoughts, 2,793 Ratings
- Support: 70% Yes, 30% No
- Students – Participation Rate – 997 Participants, 519 Thoughts, 5,648 Ratings
- Support: 87% Yes, 13% No
- Parents – Participation Rate – 1,157 Participants, 582 Thoughts, 11,271 Ratings
- Support: 73% Yes, 27% No
Because things have changed significantly in the past two years in schools, and because these results were based on general principles rather than specific times, the district intends to collect feedback again from our students, staff, and community.
If you would like to provide feedback on this proposal, you can do so by filling out this Google Form. Responses will be collected through Wednesday, April 6, 2022.