School Start/End Time Advisory Task Force

Meeting Schedule & Materials

  • The purpose of the Next Generation School Start/End Times Advisory Task Force is to analyze pertinent information and consider options for school start/end times, in particular at the elementary and middle school levels.

    The School Start/End Time Advisory Task Force, comprised of students, parents, staff and administration, will meet four times in the fall of 2016. The public is invited to attend and observe all task force meetings, with engagement of such attendees encouraged as appropriate. The process will follow the School Board charge and involve consensus building to inform administrative options that are scheduled for presentation/discussion on Nov. 14, with board action planned for December. Implementation of proposed start times will be for the 2017-18 school year. 




    Meeting 1 - Tuesday, Sept. 27

    The Task Force held its first meeting at which members received an overview of the district’s Next Gen Strategic Plan as well as information on current start times, busing and funding. They then engaged in a presentation/discussion about the impact of sleep on the brain and learning from two leading experts:

    • Dr. Con Iber a UMN/Fairview Health Services Pulmonologist, Critical Care Physician and Sleep Medicine Physician. He is also the Medical Director of Fairview Sleep Centers 

    • Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, senior research fellow and lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD) in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. She is also the former director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at UMN and has done nearly 20 years of research on sleep, teens and school start times.

    Future meetings will include additional data gathering from a recently conducted parent survey, options for district transportation services and other operational support resources. The group will then work through consensus building to develop recommendations that include 2-3 options and explore the benefits and challenges of each.

    Meeting 1 Materials

    Meeting 2 - Tuesday, Oct. 5

    On October 5, the Task Force held convened for the second time during which members reviewed a summer 2016 parent survey as well as data about district transportation routing and potential options.

    • 2016 Parent Survey - In an effort to gather baseline data from EPS parents about their feelings of current and potential start time changes for elementary and middle school, the district conducted a scientific random sample of 300 EPS parents in June and July of 2016. The survey, conducted by The Morris Leatherman Company, asked parents their general attitudes about current start times and then asked for feedback to various scenarios. The survey did not indicate any specific start time change, but rather explored what issues parents prioritized in terms of school start and end times, including length of bus rides, increased walking distances and the importance of before and after school enrichment opportunities. The task force reviewed the presentation from Dr. Bill Morris, president of The Morris Leatherman Company, and then engaged in small group assessment of the data in relation to conversations held at the first meeting on Sept. 27.

    • EPS Transportation Data and Options - The Task Force then reviewed data from EPS Transportation Supervisor David White about current district transportation services. Lance Libengood, CEO of Center for Efficient School Operations, provided additional background on statewide trends in school district transportation as well as previously conducted audits and studies of the district’s operations. To get the task force thinking about potential options for the future, White and Libengood offered five scenarios for review, for which task force members analyzed for strengths and weakness. After assessing these initial options, the task force provided suggestions for further study and exploration.

    The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 at which the group will review additional data and begin to draft and assess options for future implementation. Members will work through consensus building to develop recommendations that include 2-3 options and explore the benefits and challenges of each. 

    Meeting 2 Materials

    Meeting 3 - Tuesday, Oct. 25

    At its third meeting, the Start/End Time Advisory Task Force explored and assessed options, prioritizing values and considerations. The district will use this information to draft options, along with benefits and challenges of each, to be presented to the Task Force at their next meeting. The Task Force will prioritize the options and decide which two or three will be presented to the School Board on Nov. 14.


    Meeting 3 Materials 

    Meeting 4 - Tuesday, Nov. 1

    The Task Force spent their last meeting on November 1 assessing the prioritized values and considerations shared at the October 25 meeting and reviewing the benefits and challenges of draft options. After engaging on the options in small groups, the Task Force identified the top three to four options that they wanted to see advanced for consideration.

    The options will then be further refined by administration for presentation to the School Board at its meeting on November 14. After the Board discussion, the community will have an opportunity to provide input on the options, which will be gathered by administration along with any additional information requested by the Board. Administration will then present its recommendation to the Board on December 12, with Board action slated for January 9. Implementation of new school start/end times will be for the 2017-18 school year.

    Meeting Materials