Posted on March 17, 2022
Categories: News from SDP

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March 17, 2022

Dear School District of Philadelphia Parents and Families,

In alignment with the School District of Philadelphia’s Goals & Guardrails, we are consistently striving to create educational conditions that empower all students to succeed. In the Fall of 2021, as part of a larger strategy to create those conditions, the District began its phased approach to standardizing daily start and end times at our schools. Standardizing the bell times is designed to reduce the amount of time students spend on buses, help ensure buses are on time more often, and allow for consistent cleaning of high-touch areas on buses between runs. This effort improves the overall transportation experience for our students, even as we continue to face a nationwide bus driver shortage.

As discussed in previous forums during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, we have started to implement a 3-tier bus schedule. At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, we began to align schools to the three tiers and made substantial changes to Kindergarten-Grade 8 schools. This fall we are making additional schedule adjustments for the 2022-2023 school year. Starting this fall all District high schools, except four schools whose schedules must align with partner institutions, will shift to a 9:00 a.m. start time – including high schools that include middle grades. Pre-Kindergarten programs that are located in the high schools will maintain their current schedule. All other elementary schools – schools serving Pre-K through Grade 8 – will maintain their current bell schedules. This decision was informed by community feedback collected in the Spring of 2021, and research from the American Academy of Pediatrics which shows that later start times for high school students enable them to arrive at a school more alert and ready to learn. In addition, since a majority of our high schoolers are responsible for making their own way to school, later start times promote safer travel in the mornings and afternoons.

You are invited to attend one of four upcoming virtual Community Forums where we will dive more deeply into these adjustments and give you an opportunity to provide the District with feedback on supports that families may need as you plan ahead for the 2022-2023 school year as a result of the bell schedule adjustments.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 (Sessions will be interpreted in Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish)
● 1:00pm-2:00 pm: Please register for the 1:00 pm session here
● 7:00pm to 8:00pm: Please register for the 7:00pm session here

Monday, March 28, 2022 (Sessions will be interpreted in Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish)
● 11:00am to 12:00pm: Please register for the 11:00am session here
● 6:00pm to 7:00pm: Please register for the 6:00pm session here

Families will also have the opportunity to complete a brief online survey regarding the 2022-2023 bell schedule that will be available in nine languages. The survey will include questions about supports that families may need as we plan for the 2022-2023 school year. The online survey will go live after the community forums on March 28th, and a link will be shared at that time.

We recognize that changing start and end times can present challenges to families, and remain committed to providing support to families wherever possible. We will also continue to communicate updates early and often so you can make any needed family arrangements ahead of time to ensure your child can attend school on time every day in alignment with this new schedule. I encourage you to visit the School District of Philadelphia website on a regular basis for the most up-to date information.

Thank you.



Evelyn Nunez, Ed.D.
Chief of Schools