Considering a Change to Middle School Start Times for School Year 2025-26

FCPS will explore starting the middle school day at 8 a.m. or after.

In September 2023, FCPS awarded a contract to Prismatic Services, Inc., to develop a plan for changing middle school start times. The plan will explore starting the middle school day at 8 a.m. or after -- beginning in the fall of 2025. 

At the February 22, 2024, School Board meeting, Prismatic presented an analysis of middle school start times including background information and community engagement plans. View the presentation slides. 

The top priority will always focus on doing what is best for our students.

Why Is FCPS Exploring Whether or Not to Change Middle School Start Times?

FCPS middle schools start at 7:30 a.m. Research shows that later start times may have positive impacts on student academic performance and mental and emotional well-being. 

In 2011, FCPS surveyed 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students and found that two-thirds of students reported sleeping seven hours or less on an average school night. That is at least two hours short of the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours needed per night. 

In 2012, the School Board passed a resolution stating that, “because of the benefits to student health, well-being, and performance, it is a goal of the Fairfax County School Board to achieve high school start times after 8 a.m., so that students are able to obtain a healthy and sufficient amount of sleep, as defined by sleep research and medical experts.

In 2013, a contract was awarded to the National Children’s Medical Center (NCMC) to research the effects of sleep on adolescents, and to work with the School Board and staff to devise a plan for FCPS students. This plan was known as the Blueprint for Change.

NCMC found that high school classes beginning at 7:20 a.m. could negatively affect student health. In October 2014, the board voted to delay high school start times to 8 a.m. or after, beginning in the 2015-16 school year. As a result, middle school start times moved up to 7:30 a.m. FCPS’ superintendent in 2015 stated that she would consider pushing back middle school start times at a later date. 

Community Engagement

This spring, the public is invited to attend a community forum to learn more and share feedback.  Four community forums will take place in April and May. Prismatic Services, Inc., an educational consulting firm, will lead the forums. All forums will deliver the same presentation and provide the same feedback opportunities. Please attend the event that best suits your schedule. Registration is not required, but does help us plan. Language interpretation and childcare will be provided. Dates and locations for the community forums are:

Spring Series - Past Event


Flyers: English   I   Spanish   I   Arabic   I    Chinese   I    Korean  


Forum Agenda


Project Overview

Sleep Science

Transportation Challenges

6:30 - Breakout Sessions

7:20 - Group Report Outs


PowerPoint Presentation (PDF): English Spanish 
Note: Certain slides contain images and cannot be translated.) 


Virtual Session Recording
Note: To access closed captions in other language first click on the CC icon to display, then
click on the Setting icon , click on Subtitles/CC (1), click on Auto-translate and choose your
preferred language.