Changing School Start Times FAQ

Changing School Start Times FAQ
Posted on 09/01/2020
Changing School Start Times

The mission of Farmington Area Public Schools, District 192, is to ensure each learner continuously achieves one’s highest aspirations. To that end, we are continuously evaluating current practices and making improvements for the benefit of our learners.

Over the past year, we have carefully considered current school hours and whether or not they are arranged in the best possible way to facilitate student learning at every level. After studying research from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations we have come to understand that a change to school start times would greatly benefit our learners by engaging them when they are most ready to learn. 

Why change school start times? 

This is an opportunity to improve the health and learning of our students. Elementary-aged children are inclined to go to bed and wake up earlier while teenagers are inclined to go to bed later and wake up later due to their natural physical development. This means that prime learning time, when students are most alert and well rested, begins earlier for elementary students and later for middle and high school students. Changing school start times so that elementary students begin earlier and middle and high school students begin later will provide better learning opportunities at all levels. 

When will the new school start times take affect?

The new start times are currently planned to take effect in the fall of 2020. This allows more than a year for families, schools, and community organizations to plan and prepare for the change.

What will the new school start times be? 

The school district is working in conjunction with Marschall Lines, our transportation provider, to determine the exact schedule. The elementary schools will have the earliest start times, around 7:30-8 a.m. The middle schools will have a later start time, around 8:30-9 a.m. The high school start time will stay approximately the same, possible shifting by 10-15 minutes. More specific details will be available later this year.  

How will changing school start times affect the school district budget? 

The current plan for changing school start times is budget neutral, which means that it will have no financial impact on the school district.  

How will this affect elementary students? 

— Earlier start times will allow prime learning hours, when elementary-aged children are most rested and alert, to be spent with teachersResearch suggests that earlier start times will allow for more productive and energetic learning in the afternoon as well. Earlier release times for elementary students will allow for more outdoor playtime, fresh air and physical exercise before dark.   Earlier release times will allow for more family time at home in the evening.

How will this affect middle school students? — There is more than two decades worth of research to show that later school start times for adolescents result in better academic performance, improved graduation rates, less depression, tardiness and obesity in students. Due to natural physical development, teenagers are predisposed to fall asleep later and wake up later than younger children or adults. Research shows that when provided with later school start times middle school students get more sleep overall.

How will this affect high school students?

The change in school start times will have little to no impact on Farmington High School students because the high school already has a later start time. 

What about family schedules? 

We recognize that coordinating a family schedule with regard to school hours, work hours, childcare, extra curricular activities, family time and other factors is a big job. For some families a shift in school hours will make things easier and for some it might not. Ultimately, as a school district we must make decisions to best serve students and their learning. The research shows that changing school start times will have a significant overall benefit to student learning. 

How can I get more information or give feedback?

You are always welcome to reach out to the school or the district office through phone or email. Additionally, there are three information sessions planned for the fall of 2019, all beginning at 6:30 p.m.: Tuesday, October 8:  Akin Road Elementary Commons Area, 5231 195th Street West, Farmington, MN 55024 Thursday, October 24:  Farmington Elementary Media Center, 500 Maple Street, Farmington, MN 55024 Tuesday, November 5:  North Trail Elementary Media Center, 5580 170th Street West, Farmington, MN 55024

ARES Community Information Session 10-8-19 Presentation You may also share feedback through this form.

Where can I find research studies on adolescent sleep and school start times?  The American Academy of Pediatrics 
— The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
The Minnesota Sleep Society

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