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Lower Merion School District


Sleep & School Start Times

Update: April 2024

Below are the proposed secondary school and early dismissal bell schedules for the 2024-2025 school year. Elementary schools (including full-day K) will run from 9:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.  The decision was also made to keep the high-school walk zone at one mile. 

Update: January 2024

LMSD Smart Start: In spring 2023, the Lower Merion Board of School Directors approved a change in school start times, beginning in September 2024. This initiative, known as “LMSD Smart Start,” will enable a later start time for high schools, aligning better with adolescents’ changing circadian rhythms, which research shows can result in health benefits for students.

The new start times, beginning in September 2024, will be:

  • Middle School - 8:00 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.
  • High School - 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Elementary School - 9:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Since the Board vote, the LMSD Administration has been working on logistical considerations to support this change. These have been discussed at Policy Committee and Board meetings, and some will result in some changes to current practices, especially in the area of transportation.

To accommodate the new start times, the amount of time buses will have between each tier – middle school, high school, then elementary school – will be shorter than it is right now. To achieve increased efficiency, and reduce the potential for late arrivals, the following changes are being made for the upcoming school year.

Expansion of High School Walk Zones

Beginning in September 2024, the walk zones for high school will be expanded to 1.5 miles. This means that some students who get school bus transportation this year will not be eligible for school bus transportation next year. Please note that this change will not affect students receiving transportation as part of their individualized education or health plan. It should also be noted that the new walk zones still fall below the state maximums.

A map of the new walk zone is posted on the District website. Lower Merion Township continues to work on “walkability” and increasing sidewalks in many neighborhoods and the District will work with the Township to determine whether additional crossing guards should be added within the expanded walk zones.

Families with questions regarding the walk zone can contact the LMSD Transportation Department using this form.

LMSD Transportation Opt-Out Process

Currently, all LMSD students who are eligible for bus transportation to school are included when bus routes are planned. For the upcoming school year, families will be able to opt out of LMSD transportation, and will be encouraged to do so if they know their child(ren) will not be using their seat on an LMSD bus. If LMSD’s Transportation Department knows which students do not need to be assigned to buses, they will be able to design more efficient routes for everyone who does ride the buses.

Families will be expected to opt out of transportation for the entire school year; however, if a family’s circumstances change and they once again require LMSD transportation, there will be a process to opt back in. Any opt-in requests will require at least five (5) school days’ notice to accommodate.

In addition, high school students who receive parking passes will be automatically opted out of LMSD Transportation. They will not be assigned to, nor they will be able to ride, a morning bus to school or an afternoon bus from school.

The forms and process for the LMSD Transportation Opt-Out are being developed and will be shared with families in the coming months.

Video Playback from the Community Meeting on Tuesday, October 25, 2022