Task force recommends new Lindbergh Schools start times

Task force has met since 2019 to consider start times

Task force recommends new Lindbergh Schools start times

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Lindbergh Schools Board of Education is considering changes to school start times for the 2023-2024 school year.

At a Board of Education meeting Feb. 15, Chief Academic Officer Tara Sparks explained that a special task force, comprised of teachers, students, parents, board members and administrators, had been reviewing and revising school start times since the 2019-2020 school year.

“We started this research back in the 2019-2020 school year, really looking at the research around adolescent development, looking at different priorities we wanted to see happen in regard to our school start times,” Sparks said.

In the 2021-2022 school year, the district did change its start times: Elementary times were changed from 8:45 a.m. – 3:25 p.m. while the high school times were changed from 7:25 a.m. – 2:25 p.m. to 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Middle school start times remained unchanged, from 7:40 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.

“Our biggest goal was to move that high school start time back,” Sparks said.

The district did another survey that year, asking the community how it felt about the new start times.

“There were some concerns that came up with the start times that we implemented last year. After doing some further research we decided to reconvene the task force … and ultimately the recommendation that we’re making is to shift start times slightly,” Sparks said.

Under the new recommendations from the task force, school start times would change in the 2023-2024 school year to 8:45 a.m. – 3:35 p.m. for elementary, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. for middle school and 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. for high school.

“Two key elements came up in our survey last school year. One was that the instructional time at the end of the day for elementary was not having the value that we wanted … the other thing that came out really clearly … our efficiencies at the end of the day were really problematic,” Sparks said, explaining the reasoning behind the recommended changes. “It is much more difficult for students to be picked up at the middle school end of the day and then get onto the high school campus when you’re talking about 39 buses having to converge onto the campus all at once.”

Other responses from the survey, which had 498 respondents, appreciated the shift to an earlier start time for elementary and a later time for middle school and a desire to retain the current high school start time.

The board will vote on the recommendations at its next regular meeting.