A new school hours schedule (start/dismissal times) for the 2017-18 school year was approved at a Board of Education meeting on May 8.

School officials said the new schedule was “designed to streamline start and end times across the district while continuing to build efficiency.”

The major catalyst for the change was the district’s ability to have all eight elementary schools start and dismiss at the same time.

There will be no change to the Foran High School and Jonathan Law start and end times. Those remain as a 7:20 a.m. start and a 1:58 dismissal. But there are minor changes at The Academy, the elementary and middle school levels.

The Academy will start at 8 a.m. now and run until 1 p.m., which is a half hour earlier than its current schedule.

Middle schools will start at 8 a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m., which is 10 minutes later than the current schedule.

All elementary schools will start at 8:40 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m. For early-dismissal elementary schools that is 20 minutes later than the current schedule, and for late-dismissal elementary schools it is 10 minutes earlier than current schedule.

“The current early elementary/late elementary school start/end structure was required over the years because there were not enough busses to transport all elementary students to all eight schools at the same time,” school officials said. “Primarily due to declining enrollment, Durham is now able to transport all elementary students in one wave.”

School officials like that middle schools will start “on the hour.”

“Years ago, the middle schools had a start time of 8 a.m.,” states a school notice about the new start times. “We believe an ‘on the hour’ start time will result in a decrease in the tardiness rate at the middle school level.

At the elementary school level, school officials are happy that all the elementary schools will start at the same time.

It “makes planning easier for everyone, parents, teachers, and community,” school officials said. The common start and end times will “enable better scheduling by our specialists, many of whom travel to two or more schools.” Also, “conference day schedules will be consistent across the district, school officials said.
Two-hour weather delay
A change was also approved in the schools’ inclement weather delay schedule. Rather than the 90-minute delay, there will be a two-hour delay.

“The benefits to this are many; most predominantly in the fact that weather conditions will have a bit more time to improve and our facilities team will have more time to prepare the school properties for students and staff,” school officials said.
In summary
High schools
Jonathan Law and Foran
Start time 7:20 a.m., dismissal 1:58 p.m./delayed opening 9:20 a.m., early dismissal 12:05 p.m.
The Academy
Start time 8 a.m., dismissal 1 p.m./delayed opening 10 a.m., early dismissal 11 a.m.


Middle Schools
East Shore, Harborside, West Shore

Start time 8 a.m., dismissal 2:45 p.m./delayed opening 10 a.m., early dismissal 12:45 p.m.


Elementary Schools
Start time 8:40 a.m., dismissal 3:25 p.m./delayed opening 10:40 a.m., early dismissal 1:25 p.m.


Preschool
Morning Preschool
JFK, Live Oaks Orchard Hills
Start time 8:40 a.m., dismissal 11:25 a.m./canceled if delayed opening: if planned early dismissal, 8:40 to 10:40 a.m./weather related early dismissal, 8:40 a.m. to 11:25 a.m.


Afternoon Preschool
JFK, Live Oaks, Orchard Hills
Start time 12:25 p.m., dismissal 3:25 p.m./delayed opening 12:25 p.m./planned early dismissal 11:10 a.m. to 1:25 p.m./if weather related early dismissal, school is canceled.