Later High School Start Times


On September 18, Superintendent Garza presented her recommendation to the School Board and requested that they adopt Blueprint for Change Hybrid Preferred Option #3. The School Board is scheduled to vote on October 23. Any change in school start times will not take place until the 2015-16 school year.


  • 6:45 length of day  
  • MS moved to 7:30
  • All SS students will start at the HS start time


(8:00-9:20) - (2:45-4:05)


7:30 - 2:15


(8:00-8:10) - (2:45 – 2:55 )

Plan Cost & # of Buses

$5.4 million
47 buses

Revised Plan Cost*

$4.9 million
27 buses

*As part of the FY 2014 Final Budget Review, the School Board approved a purchase of 20 buses.


Expenditure Detail
Description ($ in Millions)


Bus Driver



Bus Attendant









Recruitment Bonus



Fuel & Vehicle Services



Initial Training



Buses (Lease Purchase)



Spare Bus Usage


Total Cost $5.4

Net Cost
(Reduced by 20 buses already purchased)


Preferred Option Overview:

  • This option has the majority of elementary schools starting at the same time or within five minutes of their current start time. The remaining elementary schools (approximately 25) will start within 10 minutes of their current start time.  As the chart reflects, all middle schools will begin at 7:30 a.m. and high schools will begin between 8 and 8:10 a.m.
  • This option also keeps secondary schools times aligned, rather than splitting middle school and high school start times.
  • This option reflects the community’s input from the eight dialogues and online feedback forms, balances the needs of the community, and represents a consensus among many stakeholder groups that could be impacted by this change.
  • While middle school times are not optimal yet, the Superintendent will continue to work on moving them closer to 8 a.m. in the future.


The Fairfax County School Board adopted a resolution in April 2012 to seek solutions that will establish high school start times at 8 a.m. or later. After adopting the resolution, the School Board voted in March 2013 to award a contract to Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) to develop a proposal to achieve the goal.

Working with a stakeholder committee, CNMC’s Division of Sleep Medicine initiated a process to develop a Blueprint for Change. The committee studied several workable scenarios to start high schools in Fairfax County after 8:00 a.m. to improve students’ mental and physical health, academic performance, and safety. The scenarios were presented to the School Board at a work session on April 23.

Four options were presented by consultants from Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) at community meetings and via an online form in May and June. After analyzing the feedback, CNMC made a final recommendation to the School Board at its work session on July 14.

In total, the School Board has held six work sessions since June 2012 to discuss the issue. Eight community meetings were held between May 19 and June 11 during which approximately 1,000 participants shared their opinions on four options. In addition, more than 2,000 comments were gathered from an online feedback form.  Opinions, ideas, and concerns can be directed to any School Board member. Their contact information is available on the FCPS website under School Board.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the plan on October 23.

Children’s National Medical Center Division of Sleep Medicine

As part of its community engagement efforts, the CNMC team created and maintained a website and social media pages with educational materials, held more than 45 individual community stakeholder meetings, and hosted four group stakeholder meetings to examine costs, logistics, feasibility and the potential impact of moving high school start times later. The work resulted in a number of scenarios/ranges that were considered.

For more information about the Blueprint for Change process, visit


The Children's National Medical Center consultants prepared a report on start times in districts throughout the country:

Report on Start Times (pdf)

Community Meetings Feedback and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (pdf - updated 10/9/14)


Play ButtonSuperintendent Garza message on Later Start Times (2:27)


American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement

Webpage Curator

Nancy Moy

Last Updated

October 9, 2014