FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – After input from the public, Fort Wayne Community Schools announced new start and end times for the next school year.
Monday start times for middle schools and high schools will be moved to 7:20 a.m. and school will conclude at 2:25 p.m.
Elementary schools will run from 8:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., a 30-minute delay from the previous start time.
Leaders say that the new schedule will allow more time after school for high school students to work, obtain internships and participate in co-curricular activities after school. Additionally, they say it will improve transportation schedules to ensure students arrive at school on time every day.
FWCS officials released the following:
Fort Wayne Community Schools will operate on a two-tier schedule beginning with the 2023-24 school year with middle and high schools in session from 7:20 a.m.-2:25 p.m. and elementary schools in session 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,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel said. “We understand change can be disruptive. With that in mind, we tried to minimize how much of a change we would make with middle school hours remaining the same and elementary hours shifting slightly. The biggest change comes for high school students, but we have heard for years from students and families the need to start high school earlier.”
FWCS held five in-person meetings (one of which was also live streamed) and a virtual meeting. At the meetings, hundreds of comments were gathered, in addition to the more than 500 comments received through Let’s Talk. Each comment was reviewed by staff and member of the FWCS Board of School Trustees.
The change in school hours addresses two issues: allowing more time after school for high school students to work, obtain internships and participate in co-curricular activities after school; and improving transportation schedules to ensure students arrive to school on time every day.
With 90 minutes between tiers in the morning, transportation will be able to run the middle and high school routes, transport students to special programs, such as the FWCS Career Academy or Amp Lab, and pick up elementary students on time.
Under the new schedule, Towles Intermediate School will follow the first-tier schedule (7:20 a.m.-2:25 p.m.), and Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center will follow the second-tier schedule (8:50 a.m.-3:30 p.m.). Hours for half-day programs, including pre-K, Career Academy and Amp Lab have not yet been determined.
“FWCS spent many hours engaging with families and employees to make the least disruptive decision that addresses challenges we currently face,” said Maria Norman, President of the FWCS Board of School Trustees. “We wanted to make the decision now to give families more than six months to plan for the new schedule.”