School Starting Times

Chesterfield County School Board approves new school starting times for 2018-19 school year

The Chesterfield County School Board unanimously approved Tuesday night changes to school operating times, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

The new schedule will be:

  • 7:35 a.m.-2:05 p.m.: Middle schools (with the exception of Tomahawk Creek because of extremely long bus rides)
  • 7:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m.: Bensley, Bon Air, Crenshaw, Clover Hill, Jacobs Road and Wells elementary schools
  • 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: All high schools, Tomahawk Creek Middle, and Alberta Smith, Chalkley, Grange Hall, Matoaca and Salem Church elementary schools
  • 9:25 a.m.-3:55 p.m.: All remaining elementary schools

“This is not a perfect proposal; neither is the current schedule. But it is a move in the right direction,” School Board Chair Dr. Javaid Siddiqi said. “Our target all along has been to move high school starting times. This is based on research that shows a scientifically proven sleep pattern that does not align with our current schedules.”

“It is an imperfect compromise,” School Board Vice Chair John Erbach added. “When we went out to the public, we heard many people saying they want us to reduce costs. I want to commend our Superintendent and his team for reducing the costs tremendously.”

The new schedule aligns high school starting times with research-based recommendations that say high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later due to pubertal-related changes to teens’ circadian rhythms. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Centers for Disease Control each suggest high school starting times should be later than the current 7:25 a.m. schedule in Chesterfield County.

The new schedule also aligns nearly all middle school schedules – four currently are on the first tier and seven others are on the second tier – while keeping a majority of elementary schools (27 out of 38) in the last school tier. The latter was a request often made by parents who were concerned about elementary school children arriving home earlier than older siblings who could watch them after school. Many elementary school starting times will change by just 15 minutes.

While the approved schedule still has some adolescents starting earlier than the most optimal time, the recommendation was considered the least disruptive option presented among all potential changes. Switching the middle and high school schedules also addressed research related to a higher rate of car accidents for high school-age students in Chesterfield County.

Board members indicated a desire for school division staff members to continue to tweak operating times when possible, based on future test runs of bus routes. Board members also expressed an interest in looking at moving to a two-tier system in future years.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget includes $500,000 to address bus driver salaries, as the school division ramps up recruitment efforts. The final annual implementation cost is projected to be $1.9 million, a total that will cover expenses related to 30 new bus drivers, fuel and bus maintenance.

School Start Times October 10, 2016

Presentations and Handouts

Changing Chesterfield School Start Times: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
School Starting Times CCPS School Board presentation

PTA County Council school starting times presentation with Mrs. Smith, Dr. Siddiqi and Dr. Lane.

School Start Times CCPTA presentation

School start times, an evidence-based review by Suzanne E. Mazzeo, PhD

    Sleep Study Research

    Dissimilar Teen Crash Rates in Two Neighboring Southeastern Virginia Cities with Different High School Start Times

    Robert Daniel Vorona, M.D.1; Mariana Szklo-Coxe, Ph.D.2; Andrew Wu, B.A.3; Michael Dubik, M.D.; Yueqin Zhao, Ph.D.4;
    J. Catesby Ware, Ph.D.1
    1Department of Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA; 2Community and Environmental Health, Old
    Dominion University, Norfolk, VA; 3Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA; 4School Epidemiology-Biostatistics Research
    Support, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA

    School Start Time and Sleepy Teens
    School Start Times for Adolescents

    DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-1697
    Pediatrics; originally published online August 25, 2014;

    Insufficient Sleep in Adolescents and Young Adults: An Update on Causes and Consequences

    Pediatrics 2014;134;e921; originally published online August 25, 2014;
    DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-1696

    Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior

    Judith A. Owens, MD, MPH; Katherine Belon, BA; Patricia Moss, PhD

    Sleepless in Fairfax: The Difference One More Hour of Sleep Can Make for Teen Hopelessness, Suicidal Ideation, and Substance Use

    Adam Winsler • Aaron Deutsch • Robert Daniel Vorona •
    Phyllis Abramczyk Payne • Mariana Szklo-Coxe

    Earlier School Start Times as a Risk Factor for Poor School Performance: An Examination of Public Elementary Schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky

    Peggy S. Keller, Olivia A. Smith, Lauren R. Gilbert,
    Shuang Bi, and Eric A. Haak
    University of Kentucky

    Joseph A. Buckhalt
    Auburn University

    Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study

    Final Report February 2014
    Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D.
    Project Director/ Lead Investigator

    Research Team/Report Authors
    Kyla L. Wahlstrom, PhD, Principal Investigator
    Beverly J. Dretzke, PhD, Research Associate
    Molly F. Gordon, PhD, Research Associate
    Kristin Peterson, MA, Research Fellow
    Katherine Edwards, BA, Research Assistant
    Julie Gdula, MA, Research Assistant


    Adolescent Crash Rates and School Start Times in Two Central Virginia Counties, 2009-2011: A Follow-up Study to a Southeastern Virginia Study, 2007-2008

    Robert Daniel Vorona, M.D., F.A.A.S.M.1; Mariana Szklo-Coxe, Ph.D.2; Rajan Lamichhane, Ph.D.3; J. Catesby Ware, Ph.D., F.A.A.S.M.1;
    Ann McNallen, Ph.D.4; David Leszczyszyn, M.D., Ph.D.5
    1Department of Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA; 2Community and Environmental Health,
    Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA; 3Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX;
    4South University, Richmond, VA; 5VCU Center for Sleep Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

    The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players

    Cheri D. Mah, MS1; Kenneth E. Mah, MD, MS1; Eric J. Kezirian, MD, MPH2; William C. Dement, MD, PhD1
    1Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; 2Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA