Good afternoon, Silver Falls Families.

Last summer, we made the monumental decision to change the start times of many of our schools. Our elementary and K-8 students were moved to an earlier start time, while students at SMS and SHS started their day later in the morning. Today we are announcing that, effective Fall of 2022, these changes will be reverted. For a table of school start and end times for next year, see the bottom of this message. For additional context as to why we changed school start times in the first place, and why we are going back now, read on.

Our reasons for changing school start times coming into the current school year were two-fold, with one primary reason and one secondary reason.

First of all, in the Summer of 2021 we faced the very real possibility of not being able to provide adequate transportation to SFSD students. This would have been catastrophic, as transportation must be provided to all students by federal law. At that time, we lacked the bus drivers necessary to staff our routes. Changing the start and end times of SHS and SMS gave us far greater flexibility to meet our transportation needs.

The second reason was that this change reflected current research, which pointed to later secondary start times being more supportive to adolescent sleep patterns. In a typical year this would not have been sufficient reason for us to reconfigure school start and end times, but we did see it as a potential pro alongside the transportation issue discussed above.

Having now been through the bulk of this school year on this new schedule, we have seen some minor positive impacts related to student performance due to the later start time, but they are neither overwhelmingly strong nor concretely attributable to that change. Additionally, they do not outweigh many of the negative side-effects of these schedule changes which have been reported by our administrators and staff members. Finally, our transportation and busing situation is markedly different from the situation we were in last summer, with even a new transportation provider starting service for us beginning with the new school year. With this in mind, we have identified four major reasons (alongside a host of minor ones) for why we are reverting this change, effective this Fall:

  1. Students at SHS (and to a lesser extent SMS) are now losing a significant amount of core instructional time due to leaving early for extra-curricular activities.
  2. Extra-curricular activities (meetings, practices, and contests) are now scheduled as late as 9 pm due to schools releasing at later times in the day (which often eliminates any additional sleep students might have obtained from the later start time, as their homework time has shifted later into the night).
  3. Older students are now not able to be home before their younger siblings, thus placing additional burdens on families with students across multiple schools.
  4. Students do not have adequate access to their teachers for support after school.

We know this change will come as a surprise, and we know that, even as many in our communities have repeatedly asked for us to return to our previous schedules, for others the current schedule has worked very well. We believe that this change to our previous schedule will result in the best possible service for our students, and we appreciate the support of our entire community as we work through the logistics of this change.

For a complete list of start and end times by school for next year, see below:

School Start Time End Time
Bethany Charter School 7:45 am 2:30 pm
Butte Creek School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Central Howell School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
The Community Roots School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Evergreen School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Mark Twain Elementary 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Pratum School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Robert Frost Elementary 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Scotts Mills School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Silver Crest School 8:30 am 3:00 pm
Silverton Middle School 7:55 am 3:00 pm
Silverton High School 7:55* am 3:05* pm
Victor Point School 8:30 am 3:00 pm

*Silverton High School’s schedule is tentative, will not begin earlier than 7:55 am, and is subject to minor adjustment by up to 20 minutes. We’ll let you know when the schedule is finalized.