Changes in arrival and dismissal times for Cleburne ISD elementary and secondary schools will be in place in 2023-2024 to assist families with students at multiple campuses, with the implementation of new grade configurations.
The upcoming school year will have elementary campuses serving Pre-Kindergarten through grade four. Fifth and sixth graders will attend Lowell Smith, Jr. Intermediate School, and A.D. Wheat Middle School will house the district’s seventh and eighth grades. Students in grades 9-12 will continue to attend Cleburne High School or TEAM School.
Effective with the first day of school on August 16, elementary students will begin the day at 7:45 a.m. and will dismiss at 3:30 p.m. Secondary students in grades 5-12 will have an 8:15 arrival time, with classes ending at 4 p.m.
District administrators began researching a plan for staggered arrival/dismissal for students last fall, according to Dr. Chris Jackson, assistant superintendent of Data, Research and School Imrovement.
“One of our first steps was to conduct a parent/staff online survey,” Jackson said. “The feedback we received was a valuable source of information in determining how we should proceed. Survey results from student representatives from grades 6-12 serving on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee were also utilized. A variety of times, in 15-minute integrals, were presented as options, along with a question asking which student group should begin earlier: elementary or secondary.”
More than 1,530 responses were received, with two-thirds of participants selecting a 7:45 a.m./3:30 p.m. school day for elementary learners, and the later times for secondary schools.
“We built the new times we will use next year on the consensus we received from the survey results,” Dr. Jackson said. “It was important to develop new arrival/dismissal times to help our families who have students at several campuses. They want to have their students to school on time and that can be a challenge if you have more than one stop to make.”
“A lot of our high school drivers are responsible for taking their younger siblings to and from school,” Jackson said. “I believe the option chosen by parents and staff for the 7:45 elementary start time reflects that. This will give our high schoolers time to drop their siblings at their campuses in the morning and still get to class on time. Our elementary students will be under staff supervision in the afternoon until their rides arrive.”
The district’s transportation department also played a major role in determining the proposed time changes, from verifying enough buses—and drivers—would be available, while also reviewing any impact on route pickup/drop off schedules. Projections indicate the district will have a total of 45 bus routes in 2023-2024, with the capacity to add five more in the face of growing enrollment.
Transportation Director Dr. Chad Van Winkle said his department would be conducting rider registration earlier than previous years, in anticipation of expanded student participation. Transportation has received $246,000 in grant funds which will assist in the purchase of seven new buses to replace aging vehicles.