Equal School Day

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Welcome to the online forum for the Equal School Day plan.

The public comment period is now closed. Thank you for your comments and questions. Through the month of March, staff will review and consider all of the feedback we have received. The Board of Education will hear an update and discuss the plan at a work session on April 20.


Equal Time for Elementary Students Starting in 2021-22

Starting in August 2021, BVSD has proposed a new schedule that would move all elementary schools to a 7-hour school day four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) with the

Welcome to the online forum for the Equal School Day plan.

The public comment period is now closed. Thank you for your comments and questions. Through the month of March, staff will review and consider all of the feedback we have received. The Board of Education will hear an update and discuss the plan at a work session on April 20.


Equal Time for Elementary Students Starting in 2021-22

Starting in August 2021, BVSD has proposed a new schedule that would move all elementary schools to a 7-hour school day four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) with the same start and end times. On the fifth day (Wednesday), there would be a district-wide, 1-hour late start on Wednesdays for all schools for professional development.

This change, similar to the move to later high school start times in 2019, comes from the recommendations of the Ideal School Day Task Force and more recently the Transportation Assessment Steering Committee. The Board discussed the work of the steering committee at a work session last May.

In BVSD, the length of the school day for elementary students ranges from six and a half hours to more than seven. Over the course of a school year, that half-hour difference adds up to more than 13 days, and the disparity grows more dramatic over a student's elementary school career.

To give all students an equal dose of instructional time each day, most elementary school schedules will expand, starting earlier and ending later. Middle schools, K-8s, and high schools already have the same length days, but middle and K-8 schools may see slight shifts in start and end times to standardize their schedules and make bus routing more efficient. High school start and end times will remain the same.

New School Day Schedules

MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY
Elementary | 7:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Middle School and K-8 |
8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
High School | 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (No change)


WEDNESDAY
Elementary | 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Middle School and K-8 |
9:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
High School | 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.


There are a few exceptions to these times:

  • Monarch K-8, Southern Hills Middle School, and Nederland Elementary School will not change their schedules because of the physical configuration of their campuses.
  • Jamestown and Gold Hill start times will not change.
  • Flatirons and Foothill elementary schools will be at 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. to allow for travel from mountain communities.
  • Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies (BCSIS) and High Peaks will have separate bell times because they share a campus and most students arrive by car since they are choice schools. BCSIS will be 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. High Peaks will be 7:45 a.m to 2:45 p.m.
  • Boulder TEC’s bell times will be 8:55 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.

The district is setting the start and end times for each school to provide equal instructional hours for all students, but principals and leadership teams will be able to determine how the time between the starting and ending bells is spent while following board policy and state requirements. This means schools have some discretion for deciding how to spend the additional time in their schedules.

Why this change?

Reducing disparity

In BVSD, the length of the school day for elementary students ranges from six and a half hours to more than seven. Over the course of a school year, a half-hour difference adds up to more than 13 days, and the disparity in learning time grows more dramatic over a student's elementary school career. Elementary schedules are changing to provide an equal amount of instructional time for all students at each level in the district. Middle schools, K-8s, and high schools already have the same length of days.


Although the district has been looking at addressing this disparity in instructional time for several years, the change is all the more needed now as students and teachers work to make up for lost learning due to the pandemic. Research supports the benefits of more instructional time for students, particularly disadvantaged students. All Together for All Students, the district’s strategic plan, aims to reduce differences in achievement due to systemic inequities. Creating a uniform length of day for students at each level is one step toward reducing disparities in our system.


Equal opportunity for professional learning time at all schools

The school-day schedule change will include a one-hour late start on Wednesdays for all schools for professional learning time (PLT) for staff. Providing adequate PLT for staff is a critical part of supporting their work as educators and ensuring all staff are able to deliver the same high-quality educational experience to all students. This is especially important as we implement new best practices district-wide through the new strategic plan, which, again, aims to reduce disparities in achievement.


How was this plan created? Who was involved?

This change comes out of discussions the district has been having for years and aligns with BVSD’s new strategic plan. In 2016, the district’s Ideal School Day Task Force, which included teachers, principals, district staff, parents, and community members, made several recommendations to adjust the school day schedule to serve students and staff better, including providing a standard length of day for students at each level. In 2019, BVSD implemented the group’s recommendation to push back high school start times to align with research that says adolescents need to start their school day later. The current recommendations for the new bell time schedule came from the work of the 22-person Transportation Assessment Steering Committee in 2019-20 that included school leaders from all levels, the Boulder Valley Education Association and district staff. More recently, the plan was shared with the District Parent Council for feedback.


Why do all schools need to be on the same schedule?

The primary driver for the bell time changes, including the late start on Wednesday, is to provide equal instructional time for elementary students and to support staff professional development. Aligning the bell time schedule also helps us create more efficient bus routing schedules. One of the significant obstacles for making this change has been planning transportation and concerns about whether moving most schools to the same bell times would require more buses and drivers and therefore increase costs. Working with two school bus transportation consultants, BVSD staff have developed a two-tier routing scenario (with buses transporting elementary students first then making a second trip for secondary students) that would be nearly cost-neutral. Over the next few months, staff will look for other opportunities to make Transportation services more efficient and reduce costs. This could include measures such as consolidating routes and re-evaluating walk distances to bus stops.


CLOSED: Thank you for your comments and questions. Through the month of March, staff will review and consider all of the feedback we have received. The Board of Education will hear an update and discuss the plan at a work session on April 13.

All questions will be answered but not all will be answered publicly.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I assume we have data to show that a longer school day leads to better academic outcomes. Equity does not mean providing the same program for everyone. It means looking at the needs of each school community, and designing a program that helps that community achieve the same outcomes as its peers. A tailored approach to scheduling might actually be more equitable.

    Claire Dixon asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments. We appreciate your perspective regarding equitable scheduling. All Together for All Students, the district’s strategic plan, aims to reduce disparities in achievement due to systemic inequities. Creating a uniform length of day for students at each level is one step toward reducing disparities in our system. As we move forward with implementing the strategic plan, more work will be done to provide equitable educational experiences for students in all schools. The professional learning time provided under the new schedule is a critical part of supporting their work as educators and will be especially important as we implement new best practices district-wide through the new strategic plan.

    Thanks again for your input. Your comments will be shared with our team.

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    There appears to be a needed and focused attention on elementary schools, while I support any decision to create equity in the younger grades, what is the rationale behind switching high school schedules to a late start? This could be a very serious disruption to schedules that had been worked out at the local school level. Data driven decisions made at the school support keeping schedules the same. What data have you gathered to promote a late start for Wednesday, why did you specifically pick that day and not another? Did you ask high school leadership if that would work for each school?

    hoss37@msn.com asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments. Your feedback will be shared with our team. The late start on Wednesday was chosen to be consistent with other schools in the district that already have it in place, including many K-8, middle, and high schools. The committee that created the recommendation for the Equal School Day schedule included principals from all levels. Once we have collected feedback, we will bring any adjustments back to our board and community.

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I want to express my opinion that the two full day professional development days for teachers moving from Mondays to Wednesdays is an unfortunate change. Families need those three day weekends for mental health. I read the reasoning being due to preschool not being in session on Wednesdays. I don’t think that outweighs the benefit to all other grade levels and families. I’m supportive of the equal school day schedule change, but this piece of it is not positive. Please reconsider.

    KOKelly asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments regarding professional development days on Wednesdays. Your feedback will be shared with the members of our team who guide these decisions as well as the board of education that approves the calendar. We appreciate your feedback. 

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    This is being put forward to the community as an equity initiative. How is this equitable to K-8 schools? A 3:40 end time for young children is hugely detrimental. I understand the bussing situation but why is this being put before student need? In the K-8 schools why are the needs of elementary students not being looked at separately from the needs of the middle school students? Perhaps this needs to be given more attention as some of these schools are under preforming the surrounding schools in their areas. Perhaps this is a key piece you should be paying more attention too.

    Mel123 asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for sharing your perspective regarding considering the needs of elementary students and middle school students separately at K-8 schools. Your input will be shared with our team. Once we have collected feedback, we will bring any adjustments back to our board and community.

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    It seems that some schools that might be in need of an equitable school day are actually losing instructional time due to the plan? For example: Elisa Sanchez Elementary already has a bell schedule of 8-3pm, so they are actually losing 60 minutes of teaching time? How is this "equitable" or help to reduce the achievement gap (assuming that you think more instructional time is part of the equity solution)?

    hipmom asked 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments. The district’s strategic plan, All Together for All Students, aims to reduce disparities in achievement due to systemic inequities. Creating a uniform length of day for students at each level is one step toward reducing disparities in our system. As we move forward with implementing the strategic plan, more work will be done to provide equitable educational experiences for students in all schools. The professional learning time provided to teachers under the new schedule is a critical part of supporting their work as educators and will be especially important as we implement new best practices district-wide through the new strategic plan.

    Thanks again,
    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    The calendar shows Wednesday October 13 and Wednesday February 9 as days off school, not just one hour. Why were professional development days switched from Mondays to Wednesdays? It's so much easier to have a long weekend than to have a weird day off in the middle of the week.

    Tiffany G asked 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your question and for your feedback about preferences for professional development days. The professional development days were switched to Wednesday to give preschoolers more teacher contact days. Preschoolers attend four days a week. Under the new bell schedule, the off day for PK will be Wednesday to coincide with the professional learning time. Having the full-day professional development days on Wednesday means the PK students don't lose another instructional day as they would if they were on another day of the week. 

    Thanks again,
    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    If teachers are given an hour each week for planning and development per the late start initiative, does that mean there won't be as many days off school during the year?

    Stacey R asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your question. The weekly Professional Learning Time (PLT) will be used for educators to engage in on-going, sustained professional learning necessary for the implementation and success of district and school initiatives. Our current professional learning days are allocated as follows:

    • district professional learning opportunities across multiple schools and or content areas (1.5 days) 
    • school-based professional learning focused on school initiatives (3 days)
    • time for teachers to prepare their classrooms and instructional materials for the upcoming semester (5.5 days)

    While these days allocate some time for teacher professional learning, they do not provide for on-going learning and discussion over the course of the year as the weekly PLT will.

    Thanks for your input. Once we have collected feedback, we will share any adjustments to the plan with our board and community. 

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    As a middle school teacher (as well as a parent to both a 1st and 6th grader), I am not a fan of late start Wednesdays. When we used to do late start, what we found was that admin simply added an extra hour of meetings to the teacher day. I think that is a terrible trade-off for an earlier start and longer school day (on non-Wednesdays) for all students. I can't think of any students who wished that their last class of the day ended later simply to give teachers more meeting time.

    annegwest asked about 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments. We appreciate hearing your perspective as both a teacher and a parent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the use of the late start time on Wednesday. The professional learning time is not intended to be staff meeting time. This time is intended to allow teachers to engage in on-going, sustained professional learning and to engage in collaboration with peers regarding student learning. 

    Your input will be shared with our team. Once we have collected feedback, we will bring any adjustments back to our board and community.

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Will there be a later-start option for students who need more sleep than this new schedule allows?

    Heather57 asked 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your question. The intent of the change is to provide an equal length school day for all students at each level. We appreciate your question regarding the individual sleep needs of students and will share it with the team. Once we have collected feedback, we will bring any adjustments back to our board and community.

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I personally feel 7:45 is extremely early for kids to start school. Physiologically there is no benefit in trying to get kids to concentrate at 7:45 and function appropriately through a 7 hour day. They will be feeling sleep deprived and the start of the day will just be a waste for many. I know many people will be late which will be a disruption defeating the purpose of adding extra time to the day. I also feel having a late start one day a week is very disruptive. Kids get in a rhythm and it is easiest to just keep them on that same rhythm through the week. That has been studied for years in elementary aged kids. Another point is having the elementary and middle/high schools starting and ending at such drastically different times is a logistic nightmare for families with different aged kids at different schools. I understand that they want the length of the day to be equitable for elementary but this 7:45-2:45 just doesn’t seem to be a good answer. I saw some schools would be going 8:15-3:15 and I am confused why all schools won’t be following the same schedule. I feel 8:30-3:30 is a better option as well. It is just more reasonable. I’ve spoken to many parents who agree a later start time and later end time is much more feasible. This isn’t about the convenience of parents and faculty or saving cost on transportation, this is about what is best for kids. They have been through enough in the last year. Can we try and set things up for them to thrive. If they must change the start/end time maybe they should shift it a little over the next few years.

    Mom asked 2 months ago

    Hello -

    Thank you for your comments. We appreciate hearing your perspective about what bell schedule is best for kids as well as the logistical challenges of varying schedules by level. Your comments will be shared with our team. Once we have collected feedback, we will bring any adjustments back to our board and community.

    Thanks again,

    BVSD Operations Team