School Start Times
Learn more about upcoming changes for Worthington Schools.
Worthington Start Time Changes
Due to a State Law change, we are planning a change to all schools' start and end times for next school year (beginning in August of 2022). We've been discussing the change internally for the past 6 weeks, but we want to explain to all families our current set up, challenges, and thinking.
In October, the Ohio Budget Bill became effective. Written into that new legislation ORC 3327.01, it says school districts must drop students at school within 30 minutes of the school start time. We must assure that this is true each year under the law (see the assurances here).
Currently, in the morning, our Worthington buses drive routes in the following order:
- High School
- Early Elementary (Bluffsview, Brookside, Colonial Hills, Granby, Wilson Hill, Worthington Park)
- Late Elementary (Evening Street, Liberty, Worthington Estates, Worthington Hills, Slate Hill)
- Middle School
In order to make this system work, high school buses currently drop students at school roughly 45-55 minutes before the start of classes each morning. This makes us out of compliance with the new law.
Currently, in the afternoon, our Worthington buses drive routes in the following order:
- Early Elementary
- Late Elementary
- High School
- Middle School
Currently, our start and end times (with some individual school modifications) are:
- Early Elementary: 7:55 - 2:25
- Late Elementary: 8:20 - 2:50
- High School: 7:45 - 3:05
- Middle School: 8:45 - 3:45
In order to be in compliance with the new law, we need to make a change to our routing and our school start times. Because the system is interconnected, a change at any level impacts every other level.
We're working under the assumption that any new system needs to be built with our current bus fleet and number of drivers in mind. Adding buses and drivers would make things easier, but in this current time and place, the ability to add drivers due to the nationwide driver shortage doesn't seem like a realistic assumption. In our new bus routes modeling, we need 30 minutes between each level to make transportation work with our current fleet and staffing model.
We investigated several options:
- High School 7:30 - 2:20
- Middle School 8:00 - 2:50
- Early Elementary 8:30 - 3:20
- Late Elementary 9:00 - 3:50
Comparable large districts that surround us have schools starting before 7:30 A.M. (Olentangy, Westerville, Hilliard). In most cases, surrounding school districts have middle or high schools start times similar to our Proposal #1. This schedule is a major change at the elementary and middle school levels.
- Early Elementary 7:30 - 2:20
- Late Elementary 8:00 - 2:50
- High School 8:30 - 3:20
- Middle School 9:00 - 3:50
Proposal #2 presents us with an opportunity to begin high school later in order to meet the recommended school start times for 6th-12 graders (Adolecents & Sleep). Our high school students have been asking for this change for years, and we do believe it will be very beneficial for our teens from a better mental health and increased academic focus perspective. Additionally, it seemingly creates less disruption to elementary and middle school times.
In our prioritization, we felt aligning times to student sleep cycles and less disruption to the elementary schedule made the most sense, so we began by talking with staff members and parents about a change to the Proposal #2 schedule. Our schedule would be different from the surrounding school districts. We believe the difference will be a positive long-term benefit for our students.
After receiving feedback from stakeholders, it was clear that a 7:30 A.M. start time was a sticking point as was the extension of the elementary student day. Thus, we’ve modified the proposed schedule with that feedback in mind. The schedule that I plan to propose to the Board of Education (to begin in August of 2022) on February 28 is:
- Early Elementary 7:40 - 2:20
- Late Elementary 8:10 - 2:50
- High School 8:40 - 3:20
- Middle School 9:10 - 3:50
I understand that change is always hard, especially for those who will be affected by it immediately. But, we have to change our system to be in compliance with the law, and I believe the proposed schedule change is likely the best option for the greatest number of our students. This change is still 6 months away, but we recognize that it may impact family schedules, and we want you to have as much time as possible to make adjustments as you prepare for the next school year.
- Trent Bowers, Superintendent of Worthington Schools