Miami-Dade County Public Schools is exploring options for creating a bell schedule that will both consider the health needs of all students while improving transportation efficiency across the District.  Numerous research studies have outlined the benefits of shifting start times to better align with the natural sleep cycle of teenagers. A new bell schedule provides the unique opportunity to redefine the school day to support the future of learning.

Several factors play into the creation of a district-wide bell schedule. The District is committed to developing start time models that maximize the use of buses and limit any additional costs.  Community input is an important component of the evaluation process.

Thank you in advance for your support and feedback as we look for the best way to serve our students. 


Why Adjust School
Start Times?

There is a significant body of research that shows that adolescent brain functioning is higher later in the morning. At puberty, kids’ body clocks shift, which makes it harder for them to fall asleep until later at night (for teens, closer to 11 p.m.) and leads to them sleeping later in the morning. Waking a 16-year-old at 6:30 a.m. is the equivalent of waking a 40-year-old at 4:30 a.m. Moving school start times to 8:30 a.m. or later has been shown to be the single best way to address adolescent sleep deprivation and its associated health and public safety risks. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Society of Behavioral Medicine, American Psychological Association, and others all recommend this.

At school, too-early start times result in more absences and tardies, lower test scores and graduation rates, and even increased rates of student-athlete injuries. Studies have shown that when start times are moved later, students with the lowest scores show the biggest increases.

There is also a proven link between sleep deprivation, school start times, and teen hopelessness and suicidal ideation. Adolescents who experience chronic sleep deprivation because of early school start times are likely to have decreased ability to regulate negative emotions and moods.

As a result, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is exploring adjusting school start times to provide optimal conditions that will support students’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being and promote academic achievement. 


Proposed Bell Time Models

For the past year, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has identified feasible bell schedule alternatives with the following priorities:

  • Better allow students to arrive to school ready to learn based on recommendations from the research and medical professionals
  • Cost-neutral impact on the District
  • Maintain the length of day for each school type
  • Allows sufficient window of time for buses to service multiple grade levels
  •  Potential reinvestment of funds saved from operational efficiencies to expand transportation options to our choice programs

Both proposed bell alternatives were developed with input from multiple stakeholders including internal M-DCPS departments, students, parents and school leaders.  Starting no classes prior to 8am allows for students to minimize travel time in the dark to school.  Please note, the start times for proposed models may shift in the final recommendation.

Additional models will be considered as we continue to receive feedback from multiple stakeholders.


Grade Level Start End Early Release (Wed)
Senior 7:20 AM 2:20 PM
Grades PK-1st
8:20 AM 1:50 PM  
Grades 2-8
8:35 AM 3:05 PM 1:50 PM
Middle 9:10 AM 3:50 PM  


(revisions pending)

Grade Level Start End Early Release (Wed)
Grades PK-1st
8:00 AM 1:30 PM
Grades 2-8
8:00 AM 2:30 PM 1:30 PM
Middle 8:30 AM 3:10 PM  
Senior 9:30 AM 4:30 PM  


Grade Level Start End Early Release (Wed)
Grades PK-1st
8:00 AM 1:30 PM
Grades 2-8
8:00 AM 2:30 PM 1:30 PM
Senior 8:30 AM 3:30 PM  
Middle 9:30 AM 4:10 PM  


Provide Feedback via our Community Survey:


Haitian Creole



Twitter Town Hall

  • Thursday, January 9, 2020  at 4-5pm EST
  • Join the conversation by tweeting questions or comments to @MDCPS using #MDCPSBellTimes


Town Hall Meetings

  • Monday, January 13 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST
    Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School  - 1410 NE 215 Street, Miami, Florida 33179
  • Tuesday, January 21 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST
    Coral Reef Senior High - 10101 SW 152 Street, Miami, Florida 33157
  • Tuesday, January 28 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST
    Miami Jackson Senior High School - 1751 NW 36 Street, Miami, Florida 33142
  • Monday, February 3 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST
    North Miami Senior High School - 13110 NE 8th Ave, North Miami, Florida 33161
  • Monday, February 10 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST
    Coral Park Senior High School - 8865 SW 16th St, Miami, Florida 33165 


Many families already face change when their children transition from elementary to middle school or from middle to high school, which may have different schedules. Miami-Dade County Public Schools remains committed to assisting families with getting their children to school and ensuring they are safe and engaged prior to the beginning of the school day. This includes opening the cafeteria or media center before school, providing enrichment opportunities, allowing more kids to eat breakfast at school, and facilitating carpooling.

Teachers will continue to work the same length of day as outlined in their teaching contract. Principals currently set the building hours at each school based on community needs. If a new bell schedule is adopted, principals will determine building hours based on the needs of the community.

As part of the exploration process for this initiative, representatives from Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be meeting with municipal entities across Miami-Dade County and the Transportation Planning Organization to discuss the potential impact that an adjustment to school start times might have on existing traffic conditions. It is our hope to identify solutions that will maintain or improve traffic.

We at Miami-Dade County Public Schools firmly believe that athletics and extracurricular activities are an important part of a well-rounded educational experience. As such, we are involving athletic stakeholders in the exploration process for adjusted school start times. This will include athletic coaches from multiple sports, athletic directors, and school principals.

M-DCPS will continue to provide its robust offerings for before- and after-school care programs. Should there be a change in school start times, program times would be adjusted accordingly to assist families who wish for their children to participate in these activities.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools will continue to offer free breakfast for all students, regardless of school start time.


Public health officials and the medical community at large have declared that a public health crisis of epidemic proportions is affecting adolescents. Most adolescents do not get enough sleep, leading to a host of mental, behavioral, and physical effects, as well as public safety concerns.

Refer to the research below:


Please send comments and suggestions to belltimes@dadeschools.net.