Sleep & School Start Times
The Lower Merion Board of School Directors approved the bell times below to begin in September 2024:
- Middle School 8:00 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
- High School 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
- Elementary School 9:10 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
The implementation of this schedule, which decreases the length of the school day for middle schools (15 minutes) and high schools (25 minutes), will necessitate revisions to the current class schedules at both of these levels.
In addition, some students may arrive at their schools with very little time before the start of the school day. There will be ongoing work with the attendance offices and Nutritional Services to ensure that students on buses that arrive with little time prior to the start of school can get breakfasts, if needed, and will not be marked “Tardy.”
This schedule may be further modified after implementation, as real-time data regarding transportation times and scheduling impacts becomes available. In the meantime, it should be noted that some students will be assigned to different bus numbers and routes for their AM and PM rides.
The District will also solicit feedback from staff during the upcoming school year to assess the impacts of this new schedule on staff members, their families and their ability to serve as coaches and advisors for afterschool sports, clubs and activities.
At the May 8, 2023, Education Committee and Supplementary Education Committee meeting, Acting Superintendent Megan E. Shafer shared an update on the ongoing work to address concerns that were raised by the community and recognized by the Board, when they voted in favor of changing school start times for September 2024.
To address concerns about elementary school ending after 4:00 p.m., Ms. Shafer shared several different bell schedules with slight adjustments to the length of the school day at various levels and/or starting the middle school slightly earlier. These various options can be found on pages 8 through 11 of the presentation available here. Feedback about these possible adjustments can be shared with the Board by emailing email@example.com.
In addition to the various modifications, Ms. Shafer noted that discussions were underway with Right At School about their ability to staff a short before-care option for families needing a small window of childcare prior to the start of the elementary school day. These discussions include the potential cost for Right At School staff and also internal discussions about other ways to staff and pay for that supervision.
Finally, she noted ongoing efforts to gather staff voice and support them through the transition, including conversations with the Lower Merion Education Association and a planned staff survey in Fall 2023, as well as the connection among start times and other wellness and Policy work, and she outlined the communications planning around the transition.