April 27, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced it will implement a more coordinated approach to bell times beginning in school year 2012-13 to assure a smooth transition as it moves to a Full School Day. By adopting a more coordinated approach to bell times, the District will also be able to provide a smooth transportation schedule that ensures quality service to students and families across the District and help better ensure the safety of all CPS students. All elementary schools will be assigned a start time between 7:45am-8:45am and an end time between 2:45pm-3:45pm; and all high schools will be assigned a start time between 7:30am-8:30am and an end time between 3:00pm-4:00pm.
“Never before has the District given such consideration to safety precautions in regards to the start and end times at our schools,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “The choice to adopt coordinated bell schedules is a new safeguard that we know will have a direct and lasting impact on all CPS students.”
The District thoroughly reviewed critical factors that affect students as they make their way to and from school, including sunrise and sunset times, proximity to other schools, street traffic, congestion, neighborhood safety concerns and other issues that may pose a safety threat to students.
Moving to coordinated bell schedules also allows the District to reconfigure transportation schedules while still upholding service levels. This will be possible by eliminating low-capacity buses and paring down bus routes. By staggering start and end times, the District will be able to deploy one bus to multiple schools for morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off, using more deliberate and efficient bus routes.
The process of setting proposed bell times for each school involved multiple departments, including the CPS Bureau of Student Transportation Services (BSTS), the Office of Safety and Security (OSS) and CPS education departments to ensure times meet programmatic concerns including early childhood programs, sports teams, and other after-school activities. Network Chiefs also had the opportunity to review bell times for schools within their collaborative, allowing them to flag any potential issues.
Schools have an opportunity to appeal their bell times through a district wide appeals process and must demonstrate a significant safety and/or instructional issue with their school’s proposed start and end times. Appeals must be signed off by Network Chiefs and be reviewed by BSTS, OSS, and the Office of Education. Appeal forms must be submitted between April 27 and May 9. CPS will make final decisions regarding bell times in mid-May.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.