New Bell Times for Next School Year (2021-2022)

Posted April 14, 2021

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April 14, 2021

Dear McKinley-Thatcher families,

We wanted to let you know about some changes to Transportation Services that will affect our school’s schedule next year. Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, DPS will begin using a three-tier system for bell times. This means that most schools will start and end their day within one of three windows. Many schools will be implementing new start and end times within this new system, including McKinley-Thatcher.

Beginning next school year, all grade levels at McKinley will begin class at 7:30am and will dismiss at 2:30pm. We’re letting you know so you will have time to prepare and make adjustments for this change.

A lot of research and planning went into making this change, and our Transportation Services department believes the new tiered bell time system will help schools provide a better experience for families and maximize learning for students. In the past, DPS schools had multiple start and end times across the district, which made it difficult to offer full-time schedules and the living wages needed to retain our bus drivers. Due to bus driver shortages, office-based transportation staff were often required to step away from their primary roles to help drive buses. 

The new tiered bell time system will help Transportation Services keep bus driver positions fully staffed so other Transportation team members can focus on their primary job responsibilities. This means that Transport Services office staff will be more available to answer phone calls from schools and parents, and the staff on the bus will be better trained to operate the vehicle and safely transport students. Switching to a three-tier system will also help improve bus service for students. Because bell times will be more evenly distributed, buses will be more likely to arrive at their destination on time.

If you have questions about these changes, please contact Transportation Services by calling (720) 423-4600 or emailing If your student rides the bus, please find your 2021-2022 pick-up and drop-off times by clicking on the Transportation tab of the Parent Portal over the summer.

Thank you,

Sonia Geerdes