After 14 months of study and planning, Eden Prairie Schools finalized start and end times for schools, which go into effect for the 2021-22 school year.
In November of 2019, Eden Prairie Schools announced a study of its school start and end times during 2020. The district invited experts to present to the community, and formed a task force to look at research more deeply.
Teens experience biological changes that affect their sleep patterns, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep early. Many research studies have shown that high school students experience better academic, emotional, psychological outcomes, and have fewer risk-taking behaviors, when they get adequate sleep. After months of study, the task force of parents/guardians, teachers and community members recommended that Eden Prairie High School start later. The task force pointed to the research in its recommendation; many key studies are posted to Eden Prairie Schools’ Start and End Times Study webpage.
In November, Dr. Josh Swanson, Superintendent, directed district staff to work with this recommendation and create specific times. The proposed times were communicated to all families and staff in December. The district began collecting final comments and conducted community sessions in January for more detailed discussions. The start and end times met all of the parameters outlined by the superintendent:
- The length of school days exceed state minimums;
- They aligned with research and the task force recommendation;
- They are fiscally responsible;
- And they are operationally, and logistically, viable;
- They maintain the district’s three-tier transportation system.
The new start times will be broadly communicated across all district and school communication between now and the start of the school year.
Additional key points as Eden Prairie Schools implements these times are:
- During the last school year, Eden Prairie Schools started to provide more time for lunch and recess at the elementary level. This plan puts time back into the instructional day in order to support those changes.
- As bus routes are developed for the 2021-22 school year, the Transportation Department will review closely the longest routes in the district to limit early pickups as much as possible.
- CMS administration and the high school activities director will work with middle school students who participate on high school teams to ensure that school work remains a top priority.
- With Designing Pathways, a new, eight-period, middle school schedule starts in fall of 2021 that provides more choice for students. As part of planning for the 2021-22 school year, administration at CMS will also be reviewing and developing after-school activities in order to continue offering unmatched opportunities.