New School Hours Facts

Information on a variety of issues relating to the change in school hours will be posted on this page. This page will be updated regularly through the start of the 2018-19 school year.


Metro Kids is a fee-based school childcare program available in elementary schools on school days.  All kindergarten through fifth-grade students are eligible. After school care is available starting immediately after school dismissal and running through 6:00 PM (an extension beyond the current 5:45 PM end time). With the change in school hours, before school care will not be offered due to the reduced amount of time before school; the exception is Cowles Montessori School, which operates on middle school hours. For more information, be sure to visit the Metro Kids Care web page.


Through a federally funded program called Breakfast in the Classroom, all elementary students at Des Moines Public Schools may enjoy a free breakfast at school. This service not only provides students with a nutritious start to the day, but is also a convenience for parents in the morning.


Elementary School Middle School High School
Office Hours 7:15 AM – 3:15 PM 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
School Hours 7:30 AM – 2:25 PM 8:30 AM – 3:25 PM 8:25 AM – 3:25 PM
Early Wednesday Dismissal Time 1:10 PM 2:10 PM 2:10 PM


While continuing to work with neighboring districts to provide regional options for students, Central Campus and Central Academy will move to a later start time to align with the secondary school schedule. Additionally, busses will run directly from each high school to our Agriculture, Horticulture, and Aviation Programs in order to maximize the student sleep benefits.


Practices and rehearsals for extracurricular activities will be adjusted to reflect the new school hours. Because many high school activities currently do not begin until later in the afternoon, the “time gap” between the dismissal of school and the start of practices will be lessened or eliminated.


All schools that include both elementary and secondary grade levels will follow the middle school schedule (8:30 AM – 3:25 PM). This will apply to Cowles Montessori School and Ruby Van Meter School starting in August, 2018. This will also apply to the new Montessori school in northeast Des Moines, scheduled to open in August, 2020.



Preschool classrooms located at elementary schools will follow the elementary bell times (7:30 AM – 2:25 PM). Preschool classrooms located in one of the district’s four early learning centers will continue to use the current tiered schedule, which are set to accommodate parent drop off/pick up, parking and transportation.


The City of Des Moines has created recommended safe routes for many schools in the district. Those routes will be posted to our web site and shared with parents in the near future. In addition, be sure to read our Pedestrian Safety for Students memo for advice and tips on making sure students safely walk to or are dropped off at school.


Bus schedules will be adjusted to reflect the new school hours. Details on pickup times and locations for students receiving transportation from DMPS will be available in the summer.


Des Moines Public Schools will dismiss 75 minutes early on Wednesdays to provide for professional development time for our educators. (NOTE: this is a change from the past several years when classes dismissed 90 minutes early on Wednesdays.)