Hopkins to change start times and grade configuration

Hopkins to change start times and grade configuration
changes to school start times elementary earlier start time secondary later start time junior high 6th-8thgrade HHS 9th-12th

In the fall of 2021, Hopkins Public Schools looked deeply into how we might organize our schools in four main areas: school start times, year-round school, non-traditional spaces and places, and grade reconfiguration. Under the guidance of a diverse steering committee, we reviewed each concept, identified potential change options, and collected our community’s input on system-wide issues. We are grateful that thousands of parents and caregivers, students, and staff responded to surveys, submitted feedback on our website, and/or attended community engagement sessions. All of this data is available for your review on our Reimagine School Parameters webpage. 

At the Nov. 23 School Board Meeting, the Hopkins School Board approved the following: 

  • Starting next school year (2022-23) Hopkins will adjust school start times such that elementary schools start earlier and secondary schools start later. There are operational details that need to be determined with this recommendation, including establishing the exact start times for each school. Information will be shared as the operational plans are developed.

  • Starting in the 2023-24 school year, we will transition 6th-graders to middle school, and 9th graders to our high school. We will use the many months ahead to prepare our staff, our school cultures, and our instructional practices to ensure this change is very positive and nurturing for all 6th and 9th grade students.

    • With this decision, we want to acknowledge that we grappled with mixed feedback we received from parents and caregivers, staff, students, and school leaders. Many parents wanted to keep their students in elementary school through 6th grade. We acknowledge the survey and anecdotal feedback from teachers and students was more mixed. We listened to the expert advice from elementary school leaders. In the end, we believe in a strong and nurturing middle school model that provides more developmentally appropriate learning for 6th graders. We will also create space for more PreK and Kindergarteners. Finally, as one of the last districts in MN to make this shift, we believe this move puts us in a better position to further expand upon our Vision 2031 priorities at the middle school and high school levels.

  • We will continue to offer an online academy (VirtualEDU) to interested students, both resident and out-of-district. If you are interested in exploring VirtualEDU, please visit our webpage

The Board recommended further exploration on the following topics: 

  • We will continue to explore and visit year-round school (45 days on/15 days off) models across the U.S. We may pilot one year-round elementary school during the school year 2023-24. While we are interested in the idea of year-round school, more research and community/staff engagement are needed before we are confident in recommending a pilot decision.

  • We will continue to explore the creation of a PreK-6 outdoor immersion program for a possible pilot in school year 2023-24.

  • We will explore the identification of high school courses that should be permanently offered in a hybrid or online format. 

If you are interested in the data that helped shape our decision making, please visit our Reimagine School Parameters webpage. You can also directly access a few key pieces of data at these links: Learning Redesign Feasible Study, Qualitative Data Report, Learning Redesign Survey Results.

We firmly believe that these actions will serve students well, bring us closer to Vision 2031, and are excited to share more with you in the weeks and months to come.