School Start & End Times Study
On Nov. 25, 2019, Eden Prairie Schools administration announced a plan to start a community conversation to review the times that schools start and end.
A Start & End Times Task Force spent months reviewing surveys and comments from staff and families, hearing from experts and reviewing reports from district administration. After six months of work, the Task Force recommended planning school times to ensure a later morning start for Eden Prairie High School students. The research indicated that school districts with later high school start times saw reduced tardiness, reduced absenteeism, improved grades and graduation rates.
Reviewing the plan
Following the task force’s recommendation, Eden Prairie Schools administration developed bell times for the 2021-22 school year. Key points in this plan are:
In order to start high school later, and fulfill promises from the 2019 referendum for neighborhood preschool and a grade 6-8 middle school, each school’s bell time is adjusted.
The proposed times were designed in alignment with research, they are consistent with schools in the Lake Conference,
Another factor is from Designing Pathways: a new, eight-period, middle school schedule that provides more choice for students. It requires that we unlink the high school and middle school from the same tier of transportation.
Finally, during the last school year, we started to provide more time for lunch and recess at the elementary level. This plan puts time back into the elementary instructional day in order to support last year’s changes.
An added benefit is the district will see a one-time savings of $200,000, plus $130,000 annually with this plan.
"Read this background on teen sleep patterns and tips to help improve teen sleep” from the Sleep Foundation.
One of the most frequently-cited studies around school start times is by Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D.: "Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study," 2014, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, College of Education & Human Development, University of Minnesota
- More information is available at CAREI's School Start Time Research Resources
A review of 38 reports around school start times was conducted in 2016 by Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D., Daniel P. Chapman, Ph.D. and Janet B. Croft, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
Executive summary from Eden Prairie School's Start and End Time Task Force covering available research on elementary school start times
Tips for parents and research findings about the importance of teen sleep can be found on the Minnesota Sleep Society’s Teen Sleep Loss website.
A number of Twin Cities metro area school districts have reviewed their school start and end times in the last few years. Here are links to those outcomes and study processes: