Photo: AL DÍA Archives.
Photo: AL DÍA Archives.

Philadelphia high schools pushes back its start time to 9 a.m.

One of the reasons why the school district decided on a bell change is for students to spend less time on school buses.


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High schools in the Philadelphia School District will be getting a later start time beginning this Fall.

Class will begin for high schoolers at 9 a.m., which will be a major change for many children.

Pre-Kindergarten programs that are located in the high schools will maintain their current schedule.

So far, elementary schools between Pre-K and eighth grade will also keep their current schedules.

The district said that there are four high schools that are excluded from the time change because their schedules must align with partner institutions. The four exempt schools are Widener Memorial School, Pennypack House School, Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, and Parkway Center City Middle College High School. 

The announcement was made on Thursday, March 17, in hopes to accommodate students and parents’ schedules. The change is also occurring to help students navigate a safe way to school in the morning.

Evelyn Nuñez, chief of schools, stated on the school district’s website that standardizing bell times was also originally designed to limit the amount of time students spend on buses.

A big majority of the reason why high school times are shifting is to be prepared for the national bus driver shortage.

“This effort improves the overall transportation experience for our students, even as we continue to face a nationwide bus driver shortage,” she said.

The letter also stated that high school students are more likely to feel refreshed and ready to go to school since they will have more sleep time.

“Research shows that later start times for high school students enable them to arrive at school more alert and ready to learn,” said Nuñez.

According to the CDC, children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for many health and behavior problems.

The CDC also states that children between 13 to 18 years should be getting eight to 10 hours rest per 24 hours.

42 states reported that most (75%-100%) public middle and high schools started before 8:30 a.m.

Just last year, the School District began to implement school times to just three: 7:30 a.m, 8:15 am. and 9 a.m.

The district is hopeful that students will feel more at ease when heading to and from school now that a majority of them do not have to wake up in the early morning.

The District is inviting the public to attend one of four upcoming virtual Community Forums, where it will dive more deeply into these adjustments and give them an opportunity to provide the District with feedback on supports that families may need as they plan for the 2022-2023 school year as a result of the bell schedule adjustments. 

The Community Forums will take place:

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

1 p.m.-2 p.m.: Register here

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Register here

Monday, March 28, 2022

11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Register here

6 p.m.-7 p.m.: Register here


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