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Change in Bell Times: Information for 2019/2020

posted Jun 3, 2019, 9:52 AM by Sean Nevans

The following information is provided in order to further clarify the information shared last week regarding changes to our schedule for the 2019-2020 school year. As was communicated our times will be as follows:

Entry Bell:   9:25 a.m.

Dismissal Bell: 3:45 p.m.

This adjustment to our school hours is a result of the Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) efficiency review.  Bus routes for numerous schools in Halton have changed (see attached report). These route efficiencies will result in significant cost savings in school bus transportation for the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board (approx. $865,960.00).

The changes are as a result of route efficiency reviews conducted by the Halton Student Transportation Service, as part of the Board’s budget discussions. This was not something that the school requested but is part of a larger process to find savings to address reduced funding by the province for the 2019-2020 school year. The changes to the bell times of the schools involved results in significant savings for our board (approx $500,000 annually). To not accept these changes would mean that our board would have to try and find these savings elsewhere (e.g., classroom instruction, special education, etc.).

While our entry time has moved back to 9:25 a.m. our dismissal time will remain the same. This has been accomplished by reducing our first nutrition break/recess from 50 minutes to 40 minutes. Therefore, both of our breaks will now be a total of 40 minutes in length. Please note that the majority of HDSB schools have long since moved to a 40/40 model. Frontenac is one of a dwindling number of schools that still has a 50/40 model.

Prior to the ‘balanced day’ model being introduced many years ago, all elementary schools followed a traditional model offering two 15 minute breaks and one 60 minute lunch break. The balanced day model ensures that all teachers had the ability to have a 40 minute uninterrupted period of time for lunch, as well as reduced the lost instructional time that students experienced when preparing to go out for recess and returning back inside.

All HDSB elementary schools utilize the balanced day model. This provides for three 100 minute blocks of instructional time that are interrupted by two blocks of nutrition/recess breaks.The initial move to the 'balanced day' model (vs the traditional one of a 60 min lunch and two 15 min breaks) had all schools offering a 40 min break and a 50 min break. Schools are required to follow the Bell Times Admin Procedure when bringing these requests forward. School Principals have initiated these requests based on some or all of the rationale below:

  • Reduces the supervision requirements for staff, which also lessens the need for student supervisors. There is a hard cap on the supervision minutes that elementary teachers can provide which can create challenges for some schools to meet their supervision requirements.

  • Shortens the length of the school day, which provides for more time to facilitate after school activities, professional development with staff, attend meetings, etc.

  • May allow for more support to be directed to students with special needs due to less general supervision required.

  • Reduces student behavioural concerns outside by reducing outdoor activity time. Student conflicts often occur towards the end of a longer period of unstructured time.

  • Increases overall safety of building as more teachers are available to supervise both on the playground and in the ‘lunchrooms’.

In summary, hope this information helps explain why we are experiencing the change to our school bell times. The change was not a request from the school but one that has originated as a part of a broad ongoing study of each and every department across our board, in order to determine how we can find as many efficiencies as possible in order to address budget shortfalls for the coming school year.


M. Bukovcan


Sean Nevans,
Jun 3, 2019, 9:52 AM