FWCS changes start times beginning next school year

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:28 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Monday evening, Fort Wayne Community Schools leaders approved significant changes to school start times beginning in the fall of 2023.

Students in middle and high school will begin their day at 7:20 a.m. with the day wrapping up at 2:25 p.m.

High school students currently begin their day at 9:05 a.m.

Elementary schools will move up classes by 30 minutes, from 8:50 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

“After thorough examination of our options, six public meetings and input from hundreds of families, it was clear the two-tier schedule made the most sense to meet the needs of our students and families,” said Superintendent Mark Daniel in a release to media.

District officials have said the changes will allow high school students more time to take internships or work, while helping to relieve pressure on demanding bus routes which are difficult to staff. Transportation managers believe a 90-minute window between tiers will alleviate logistical congestion.

The current start times are in line with guidance from the American Academy of Paediatrics which recommends that middle and high schools begin at 8:30 a.m. or later to accommodate healthy sleep patterns in teenagers.

The new start times will push teens to wake up earlier than the AAP recommends.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, members remained confident in their decision.

“FWCS spent many hours engaging with families and employees to make the least disruptive decision that addresses challenges we currently face,” said President Maria Norman.

Schedules for half day pre-kindergarten, Career Academy and Amp Lab have not been finalized.