Community inspired changes in school bell schedules announced for next school year
Posted on 05/29/2019
Hamilton County Schools logo.Community interest in later start times at Brainerd High and Signal Mountain Middle/High was instrumental in several of the changes in school start times for next school year announced by Hamilton County Schools. Addressing changes at the two high schools resulted in minor adjustments at other schools because of connections related to bus transportation and school program schedules. The focus on providing more choice and availability of academic options for students and families also played a part in the new school bell schedules along with the announcement of the start and end times for the new Howard Connect Academy (Howard Middle).

The three schools on Signal Mountain will all change start and end times next school year. The Signal Mountain community has expressed an interest in a later start time for middle and high school students over the last two years. The schools on Signal Mountain include Thrasher Elementary, Nolan Elementary, and Signal Mountain Middle/High School. The schools' schedules are connected because of the use of common buses on tiered service routes for different age groups of children. Also, the traffic patterns for the three schools impact road congestion on the streets on Signal Mountain. The connected nature of the schools with bus routes and traffic congestion made it necessary to alter the elementary start and end time when the middle/high times were changed.

Brainerd High parents also expressed a strong interest in a later start time in the past year. In response, the district was able to combine some routes in other areas to provide the buses needed to make a change in the start time at Brainerd High. Some East Ridge Middle School routes will combine with East Ridge High and resulted in a change to the start and end time at East Ridge Middle.

The time changes at Harrison Bay Center (Hamilton High) and Sequoyah High will make those programs available to more students in Hamilton County Schools. Harrison Bay Center will have two Future Ready Institutes relocated from other schools next year. The Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics is moving to Harrison Bay Center from Central High School, and the Institute of Architecture and Engineering Design is relocating to the center from Ooltewah High School. The time change will allow for midday bus routes from schools to offer a morning and afternoon session of both programs to students. A time change at Sequoyah will also provide options for morning and afternoon sessions for students from other schools in the district.

“Teens will be able to take advantage of the unique career programs at Sequoyah while continuing to be enrolled at their home school and have the opportunity to participate in athletic programs and band,” said Dr. Neelie Parker, executive director of the North River Learning Community.

The time change at schools addresses the areas of Future Ready Students, Engaged Community, and Efficient and Effective Operations in the Future Ready 2023 action plan. The changes provide additional opportunities for children to be successful, add choice options for students and families in our community, and efficiently transports our students to and from school each day. Hamilton County Schools has worked with First Student, the new bus transportation company for the district, and system contract drivers to set the new school and bus transportation schedules.

Schools with time changes for next school year

School 2018-19 Start  2019-20 Start  2018-19 End  2019-20 End 
 Signal Mountain Middle/High 7:25 a.m.  7:45 a.m.  2:15 p.m. 2:45 p.m. 
 Thrasher Elementary  8:10 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 3:10 p.m. 3:30 p.m.
 Nolan Elementary 8:45 a.m. 8:55 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 3:55 p.m.
 Brainerd High 7:15 a.m. 8:15 a.m. 2:15 p.m. 3:15 p.m.
 East Ridge Middle 7:45 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 2:45 p.m. 2:20 p.m.
 Sequoyah High 9:00 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 4:00 p.m. 2:30 p.m.
 Harrison Bay Center N/A 7:30 a.m. N/A 2:30 p.m.
 Howard Connect Academy N/A 8:00 a.m. N/A 3:00 p.m.

The bell schedule for all schools in Hamilton County Schools is available on the district’s website.