Henley’s New Schedule and Traffic

It seems (to me) that morning traffic in front of Henley has been worse than usual. Maybe their new pilot schedule is the reason (see after the jump for that). Maybe not; at least they’re aware of the challenges and are trying to make things better.

The schedule may or may not be the cause (or contributor) but this much is true – with more growth brings more kids. There is currently limited capacity to deal with current population; what’s the solution?

My one comment on the following: why not address/encourage those who ride bikes or walk? Words matter.

Update: Good conversation at the corresponding facebook post.


Before School

Car riders report to cafeteria
Bus riders who arrive before 8:40 report to gym


After School

Car Riders dismissed at 3:43
Bus Riders at 3:45 to lockers
Staging areas 3:50 until busses

Via email:

  1. What is the Henley Schedule Pilot?

    1. Henley is proposing a schedule change for the 2016-17 school year. We believe that it is in our students’ best interest to start school at 8:40 and end at 3:45. Transportation supports our proposal from a traffic standpoint, as allowing Henley students to get off the bus first has the potential to alleviate a heavily trafficked Rt. 250 and the side roads off of 250. We would like to do a pilot to see if our “hypothesis” about the change being better for kids and traffic is true!

  2. Why is Henley interested in piloting a schedule change?

    1. Our students begin arriving at 8:00 in the morning. While some have morning programs, the majority remain in the cafeteria until 8:58. We feel that is a lot of unstructured time and we could be starting their day earlier. Likewise, students who take the bus spend between 10-25 minutes sitting on the bus waiting to be “dismissed” from the buses to come into school. All of that time could be better spent getting their day started!

  3. Why do you need a pilot?

    1. Henley and Western Albemarle High School’s buses are the same. If we make a change, we have to ensure that it doesn’t impact the high school schedule.

  4. How are students impacted?

    1. The majority of our students are not impacted, especially since the pilot is only one week. Many of our students are in the building or on the buses at the proposed start time. We would be starting their day earlier, but the reality is that 85% of the students are already at Henley at 8:40.

    2. NOTE: The pilot will not impact BUS pick-up and drop off times. All students who ride the bus will get on the bus in the morning at the same time and get off the bus at the same time in the afternoon.

  5. What is the schedule?

    1. General Timetable

  6. How are morning programs, like EtB49 impacted?

    1. Morning programs will end at 8:40 during the week of the pilot. Our vision, if we are able to make this a change for the 2016-17 school year, is to use the early start opportunity to offer a robust after school program similar to the elementary schools.

    2. Your child’s EtB49 may make the decision to start the class early for the week of the pilot. He/she will communicate with you directly. No one will be penalized for arriving at the previously scheduled start time of 8:00.

  7. How will you know if the pilot is successful?

    1. We are studying a couple of points. Transportation and the Sheriff’s Department are going to be on hand to gather data around the number of cars on 250 at certain times, buses entering and exiting Henley first in the morning, times of congestion, etc. The school will be looking at engagement data, teacher and student survey data re: the new start time, parent feedback, and other qualitative data points to suggest that this is a positive change for kids.

  8. What if my child is late during the pilot?

    1. If you had an appointment already scheduled and, because of the schedule change, your child will now miss part of an instructional block, please let your child’s teacher know and he/she will ensure your child gets the missing work.

  1. What if traffic is not alleviated?

    1. Well, Transportation is banking on this to work. We are interested in supporting the Transportation side, but our purpose and goals extend far beyond Transportation. We hope we can make this change because students are sitting for too long before their day starts and we think we can improve on that reality.

  2. Will Western Albemarle’s schedule be impacted?

    1. At this time, no. We are doing our best to accomplish our goal with no impact to WAHS students.

  3. What happens to students who ride the bus in the afternoon?

    1. Students will be dismissed at 3:45. Bus riders will have 5 minutes to gather their things and report to the cafeteria or gym. They will be supervised by Henley administration. The bell will ring again at 4:05 and bus riders will be dismissed.

  4. During the pilot, what time will car riders be dismissed?

    1. 3:45. If parents cannot make it to school by 3:45, students will be supervised in the gym or cafeteria. If you come into the building, we can call your child down to the main office. If not, ALL students will be released as normal, again, at 4:05.

  5. What will you do after the pilot?

    1. STUDY the results and see what we learned. We will involve stakeholders in this process after the pilot.

  6. Will I be able to give feedback before any changes are made?

    1. Yes, of course! After the pilot, we will seek feedback.

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6 Replies to “Henley’s New Schedule and Traffic”

  1. The main reason traffic is so bad is that so many kids at both Henley and Western are dropped off by their parents. At Western, where I’ve worked for 11 years, there is a neverending stream of parents dropping their kids off each morning. When they stop to let their kids out of their car it then inhibits the flow of traffic and everything gets backed up.

    Look at the buses too. You can count on one hand how many kids are on some of those buses by the time they get to Western. I have my kids ride the bus and I think more parents should do the same, but I do understand that some kids have very long bus rides. I also get that some kids, especially in high school, might not want to ride the bus. However, I can say with absolute certainty that because such a high volume of parents drive their kids to Henley and Western that there is no doubt as to that being the main contributing factor in the traffic, even aside from the pilot schedule this week, which has also made traffic worse.

    Lastly, as someone who rides a bike to work with regularity, I can say that there are, at most, only 3 or 4 students and/or teachers that ride on any given day. There are tons of walkers though. I’ve had students say that the bad traffic is one of the reasons they don’t want to ride their bikes, even if they live close enough to do so. They say they don’t feel safe being on their bikes with all the traffic on 250.

    I’m glad you brought this issue up. I think it’s one that deserves attention. Thank you.


    1. Why not let the kids at both schools, get there when they desire to? Have a little breakfast, do a little homework, and simply relax before school. After all the doors open at 6:30. The trouble at Henley Middle School, is that under the current schedule that the children are required to stay on the bus until released, around 8:50, regardless of weather conditions. Why is this true? Is it a lack of supervision at HMS? Let them inside at 8:30 to get some breakfast, meet with instructors and help alleviate the traffic. I never sit in traffic at 6:30.

  2. This is on point! My boys bike from our house near Crozet Elem to school pretty often. Old trail and the new street scape create a great “safe passage.” USE IT!

  3. If ACPS and Henley were banking on the trial working and having no impact on WAHS — they made the wrong decision. As a teacher at Western my students who drove were constantly late to first block every morning this week. Why? Because they were caught in the crazier traffic trying to get in and around the Henely/Old Trail/WAHS/250 morning rush. And every morning an announcement was made that there were multiple late busses with more students arriving late to class. In my opinion, this trial did not work at all.

    I agree with others here that walking and biking are extremely under utilized by our community especially for those who live in Old Trail and attend Henley, Brownsville, and WAHS… but I can also see how the design of the parking, drop off, and entrance/exits at the 3 schools are a large contributor to the problem. For example, WAHS only has one entrance and exit with no real effective parent drop off area. When student drivers, busses, and parents are all trying to get in and out of one area, and down one road, it makes for one extremely frustrating time. And I’m guessing it is not much easier at Henley and Brownsville with both schools sharing the one entry and exit.

    One thought I had…what happened to the idea of K-12 bussing? One route, one pick up time, and schools starting and ending around the same time? It would save transportation a lot of money on gas and upkeep, sports practices could start earlier, students would miss as much time away from classes.

  4. What are the pros / cons of Henley and Brownsville having the same start time? Seems that might alleviate some of the traffic. If middle school sports are an issue — might the students do homework BEFORE their games?

Something to say?