Bell Times: The Solution

Updated on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 7:50am

The Decision

The new bell times for the 2020-21 school year will be as follows: 

Bell Times 2020-21 Schedule

Centennial and Thornton Elementary, K-8 and Charter Note: This new bell schedule does not apply to Centennial and Thornton Elementary, our K-8 schools (Hulstrom, STEM Lab, STEM Launch and Thunder Vista) and the district’s charter schools.

What We Heard

Several pieces of information informed the final decision including input from more than 12,000 students, parents and staff members through three surveys and multiple open house events.

While the vast majority of participants (about 70%) indicated they want to see later bell times, there was no clear consensus on the best solution. Students, staff and parents initially provided feedback on four proposed scenarios. While none of the scenarios were preferred by a significant margin, the cost-neutral option of pushing bell times 30 minutes was preferred more than the others.  

Our final survey asked stakeholders to share their preference between maintaining the current bell schedule and pushing bell times 30 minutes. Roughly 56% of all stakeholders indicated a preference for the current schedule and 44% favored the 30-minute push.  

The Whys of the Decision

In addition to input from our engagement process, several other pieces of information helped inform the decision to push bell times 30 minutes later beginning with 2020-2021 school year.

  • Sleep research indicates older students benefit from later start times and currently we’re behind in making this happen. As of the 2017-2018 school year, the average start time for high schools in Colorado was 7:52 a.m., and our current start time is 7:15 a.m.
    • Additionally, we have hundreds of high school students currently getting picked up at their bus stop between 5:55 a.m and 6:20 a.m.
  • Our elementary teachers need time before the school day starts to develop lesson plans, and pushing bell times 30 minutes later allows this to happen without reducing student access to school-based co-curricular opportunities after school.
    • 85% of our elementary principals and teacher leaders supported the Elementary Planning Committee’s recommendation to push bell times 30 minutes. 
  • Pushing bell times 30 minutes later provides a cost-neutral solution which is absolutely necessary given anticipated state funding cuts to our district budget by as much as $42 million due to the economic hardships caused by COVID-19.   

Bell Schedule Steering Committee Recommendation 

Read the Decision Making Report and Recommendation from the Bell Schedule Steering Committee given to the Superintendent for final consideration. 

Further Questions

For further questions or information, view the Bell Times Frequently Asked Questions