The Portland Board of Public Education voted on Tuesday, May 5, to approve a revised schedule of elementary and middle school start and end times for the 2015-2016 school year. The new bell schedules are necessary to accommodate 20 more minutes of student learning time that will be added to each school day, beginning this fall.
Beginning in September, the elementary school schedule will be as follows:
• Elementary School Group 1 (Riverton, Ocean Avenue and Reiche) – 8:20 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
• Elementary School Group 2 (Hall, East End, Longfellow, Lyseth and Presumpscot) – 8:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.
Because the district has a limited number of school buses, the elementary schools have been divided into two groups to allow for buses to make all runs necessary in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
The schedule for middle school students will be:
• Lyman Moore, Lincoln and King middle schools: 7:55 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.
The school board in March voted to adjust the bell schedule for most of the city’s high schools. High school schedules for this fall are as follows:
• Deering, Portland and Casco Bay high schools: 8 a.m. to at 2:30 p.m.
• Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS): 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The board also voted on Tuesday to approve a new schedule for the Bayside Learning Community, which serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Starting this fall, Bayside students will attend school from 7:55 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.
Peaks Island and Cliff Island schools will maintain their current schedule for the 2015-2016 school year.
As part of the new changes, Portland METRO buses will transport most high school students to and from classes. School bus transportation will be provided for high school special education students. The METRO plan gives the school district more flexibility when it comes to transportation.
The longer day for students was part of a contract agreement between the school board and the Portland teachers’ union that the school board approved in December.
Starting this fall, students will attend school for 178 days per year, compared to the 180 days they’re attending this year. However, because each student day will be 20 minutes longer, students will actually gain learning time. Their new 6.5-hour day means they’ll get more than 46 additional instructional hours in school over the course of the year. That’s a 4 percent increase over the current year’s student hours.