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School Start Time Information

Over the past year, much attention has focused on delaying the start of the school day as a way to address chronic sleep loss in adolescents. The biological changes that youth undergo with the onset of puberty lead to a shift in circadian rhythms, pushing the onset of sleepiness later into the evening than either children or adults – about 11:00 p.m. Given the recommendations for adolescents to sleep 8-10 hours per night, a bedtime of 11:00 p.m. should ideally be coupled with a wakeup time of no earlier than 7:00-7:30 a.m., depending on the length of time it takes to fall asleep with a bedtime of 11:00 p.m. These biological patterns are in conflict with early school start times, leading several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), to recommend that middle and high school start times begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

The Hamilton Southeastern School District has been examining the feasibility of shifting school start times for the 2021-22 school year to align with these recommendations. An administrative committee, ORTAC (Operation Right Time Advisory Committee) has been working on collecting information that will be needed by the Hamilton Southeastern Board of School Trustees to understand the research surrounding this topic, learn from the experiences of other school districts, and consider relevant factors related to the unique context of the Hamilton Southeastern School District. 

Discussion Timeline

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ORTAC Meetings

What is ORTAC?  ORTAC stands for Operation Right Time Advisory Committee. This group of individuals are meeting to discuss the start times for the 2021-22 school year.  

ORTAC groups are made up of 4 committees consisting of 12 parents, 9 teachers, 3 school board members, 2 athletic directors and 12 administrative personnel.  Committees are focused on these key areas:

Committee #1: Research
Committee #2: Other District's Experience
Commitee #3: Operations
Commitee #4: Communication

Research

Watch this taped Zoom call with the ORTAC Committee #1 group featuring Sarah Honaker, PhD. To download the presentation she references, CLICK HERE

Sarah Honaker, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and the director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Riley Children’s Hospital. A clinical psychologist with board certification in behavioral sleep medicine, she provides treatment for children with insomnia, circadian rhythm disruption, and other sleep disorders. Dr. Honaker also directs the Healthy Sleep for Kids research laboratory and conducts research on sleep in children and adolescents. Her research has been funded by organizations such as the National Institute of Health and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation, and she has more than twenty-five publications on pediatric sleep. Sarah lives in Indianapolis with her husband Graham and daughters Kate (age 11) and Bella (age 8).​
 

Other School District's Experience

The ORTAC Committee #2 presented on the implications from other district's that have previously flipped start times.  The committee was tasked with examining the outcomes of changing school start times to see if later times will make sense for the Hamilton Southeastern District. 

To download their presentation, CLICK HERE

Additional Start Time Research

School Start Times for Adolescents from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Delaying Middle School and High School Start Times Promotes Student Health and Performance: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Position Statement.

AMA supports delayed school start times to improve adolescent wellness from The American Medical Association.

Do Schools Begin Too Early? Education Next. 

Backgrounder: Later School Start Times. SleepFoundation.org. 

School Start Time and Sleep. SleepFoundation.org.

Eight Major Obstacles to Delaying School Start Times. SleepFoundation.org.

Start School Later Major Studies and Other Resources

Why more sleep could help kids do better in school and life. PBSNewsHour.

School Start Times for Middle School and High School Students. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Why teen brains need a later school start time. The Conversation. 

Starting the School Day Later Might Mean Lower Teen Crash Rates. The American Journal of Nursing. 



Communication Archive

Last revised 2.14.2020

February 14, 2020 Update

Below are the start times for the next school year (2020-21):  
 
High School 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Intermediate/Junior High 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Elementary 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
On Wednesday, Feb. 12 the Board of School Trustees voted to implement the Option 2 schedule for School Year 2020-21 ONLY.
 
With this schedule, we will implement a three-tier transportation system that includes the following advantages:
  • Provides a consistent student day with no need for early release.
  • Provides professional development time for teachers and staff and eases the need for substitutes. 
  • Relieves demands of the bus drivers required to transport students and allows for direct bussing for Student  Choice at the high schools. 

February 7, 2020 Update

Skylert sent to families and staff

Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff: 
 
I want to share an update with you regarding the discussions around a proposed change to school start times.  
 
For the past several months, at the direction of the school board, our administrative team has been researching and identifying outcomes of other neighboring school districts that moved to an earlier start for elementary students and a later start for secondary students.
 
In addition to our research, since November 2019, we have also solicited feedback from the school community in the following ways:
 
  • Community Forum (Nov. 19, 2019)
  • Online Survey (Nov.-Dec. 2019)
  • School Board Meetings (Jan. 15, 2020 and Jan. 29, 2020)
  • Board Work Session (Jan. 27, 2020)
 
I want you to know that a decision still has not been made by our school board. However, the issue is slated for discussion and possible action at the February 12 meeting. Its implementation could begin as soon as the 2020-2021 school year.
 
At the Board’s request, I will be presenting the following two different options. Each come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, which I will discuss further during our meeting.
 
OPTION 1
Start times of high school and elementary students will be flipped, and we will utilize a three-tier transportation schedule. 
 
Elementary:                                    7:50 AM – 2:20 PM
Intermediate/Junior High:             8:20 AM – 3:20 PM
High School:                                   8:55 AM – 3:55 PM
 
Advantages of Option 1 include:
  • Supports adolescent sleep pattern research.
  • Provides consistent student day with no need for early release.
  • Provides Professional Development time for teachers and staff.
  • Three-tier transportation schedule relieves demands of the drivers required to transport students and allows for direct bussing for Student Choice at the high schools.
Disadvantages:
  • Will require some families to rethink childcare for younger students and may impact parent and high school student work schedules.
 
OPTION 2
We will implement a three-tier transportation schedule with the following start times listed below for 2020-21. Then, we would transition to Option 1 start times for 2021-22. This would give families an additional year to make arrangements in their schedules to accommodate “flipped” start times.
 
High School:                                    7:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Intermediate/Junior High:              8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Elementary:                                     9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
 
Advantages of Option 2 are as follows:
  • Provides consistent student day with no need for early release.
  • Provides Professional Development time for teachers and staff.
  • Three-tier transportation schedule relieves demands of the drivers required to transport students and allows for direct bussing for Student Choice at the high schools. 
Disadvantages:
  • Not supported by adolescent sleep pattern research.
  • Families may still need childcare for their intermediate and junior high-level students.
  • Stair-step approach would cause families to deal with changing start times two consecutive years.
I have given you a lot of information to consider here. I wanted to share this update to be fully transparent about the process and the possible path ahead. I understand the challenges of change and the adjustments that families and staff members face. I encourage you to learn more about this possible upcoming school board decision by reviewing the video recordings of the previous board meetings and by checking for more information posted to this webpage.
 
I have also attached a list of FAQs that may help answer some of your questions.
 
Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and schools.  
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Allen B. Bourff
Superintendent
Hamilton Southeastern Schools

January 15, 2020 Update

Previous 3-Tier Busing and School Start Time Discussion

​Information presented at the January 15th Board Meeting
 

On January 15th, the Board of School Trustees reviewed two models of a 3-Tier Transportation System and how those models would impact daily school schedules during Wednesday's meeting. In one model, bus drivers would begin their day picking up students in grades 5-8, then running a second tier of pick-ups involving high school students and a third tier of pick-ups involving students in grades K-4. In the second model, bus drivers would begin their day with high school students, then students in grades 5-8, and in the third tier students in grades K-4. Both models were presented as a topic separate from the discussion of “flipping” high school and elementary start times. However, a 3-Tier model was also used to illustrate a “flipped” high school/ elementary school schedule during the Community Forum on school start times back in November. Superintendent Dr. Bourff explained to board members during the meeting, he was not recommending a “flipped” schedule due to the feedback received from the community, in which approximately 60 percent of the respondents voiced opposition to that concept. Both 3-Tier models presented at the meeting eliminated the need for early-release on Mondays. The models also provided opportunities for teacher development and training that would not impact their instructional time with students. According to Dr. Bourff, the 3-Tier models presented would lead to fewer buses needed for regular routes, enabling HSE Transportation Department to provide a greater number of special routes and a more timely pick-up for after-school activities.  No decision has been made at this time.  Stay tuned for more discussion at the next school board meeting on January 29th. 
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November 19, 2019 Update

Start Time Research / Information 

​Information presented at the November 19th, 2019 Community Forum

An administrative team at Hamilton Southeastern Schools has been studying the feasibility of shifting our school start times to be better aligned with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Medical Association, among others. All of these organizations supports adjusting our school day timing as what is best for the health and well-being of students and best for their learning.  


Current Start Times Across the District

Elementary Schools 
School District    Start Time      End Time Total Time
Hamilton Southeastern 8:55 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 6 hrs. 45 min.
Carmel Clay Schools 8:05 a.m. 2:35p.m. 6 hrs. 30 min.
Noblesville 7:50 a.m. 2:35 p.m. 6 hrs. 45 min.
Westfield 7:50 a.m. 2:30 p.m. 6 hrs. 40 min.
Zionsville 8:00 a.m. 2:30 p.m. 6 hrs. 30 min.
Lawrence Twp. 8:00 a.m. 2:35 p.m. 6 hrs. 35 min. 

Intermediate Schools
School District Start Time End Time Total Time
Hamilton Southeastern 7:45 a.m. 2:53 p.m. 7 hours 8 min.
Carmel Clay Schools 7:45 a.m. 3:05 p.m. 7 hours 20 min.
Noblesville 8:40 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 7 hours 0 min.
Westfield 8:45 a.m. 3:35 p.m. 6 hours 50 min.
Zionsville 8:45 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 7 hours 0 min.
Lawrence Twp. 8:50 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 6 hours 55 min.

Jr. High Schools
School District Start Time End Time Total Time
Hamilton Southeastern 7:35 a.m. 2:45 p.m. 7 hours 10 min.
Carmel Clay Schools 7:45 a.m. 3:05 p.m. 7 hours 20 min.
Noblesville 8:40 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 7 hours 0 min.
Westfield 8:45 a.m. 3:35 p.m. 6 hours 50 min.
Zionsville 8:45 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 7 hours 0 min.
Lawrence Twp. 8:50 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 6 hours 55 min.
 
High Schools
School District Start Time End Time Total Time
Hamilton Southeastern 7:35 a.m. 2:55 p.m. 7 hours 20 min.
Carmel Clay Schools 7:50 a.m. 3:05 p.m. 7 hours 15 min.
Noblesville 8:40 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 7 hours 0 min.
Westfield 8:35 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 7 hours 10 min.
Zionsville 8:30 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 7 hours 10 min.
Lawrence Twp. 8:50 a.m. 3:40 p.m. 6 hours 50 min


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Hamilton Southeastern Schools

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