Starr Recommends Later High School Start Time
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr on Tuesday recommended pushing back high school start times by 50 minutes and extending the elementary school day by 30 minutes. MCPS says the recommendation is based on a report from a work group charged to study the issue of school start times. Many MCPS parents have argued a later high school start time would mean more awake and more productive days for the system's teenage students. Starr and the Bell Times Work Group will make a presentation to the Board of Education on Tuesday, Oct. 8. MCPS promised an extensive outreach period and a study of cost and operational impacts. The earliest any changes would happen is the 2015-2016 school year. "I am making this recommendation because I believe it is in the best interests of our students. There is extensive research that demonstrates that adolescents are simply not getting enough sleep. This is a public health and safety issue," Starr said in a prepared release. "If we are truly committed to the well-being of our students, we must consider the feasibility of adjusting our start times to support their health and success. "At the same time, I realize my recommendation may have a substantial impact on the lives of our students, staff, families, and school communities. Therefore, we must take the time to determine the costs and operational impact of my recommendation and gather input from as many stakeholders as possible before we make a final decision next year." Starr's recommendations include three changes:
- Move high school start times 50 minutes later, from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. with school ending at 3 p.m. instead of 2:10 p.m.
- Move middle school start times 10 minutes earlier, from 7:55 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. with school ending at 2:30 p.m. instead of 2:40 p.m.
- Keep elementary school start times (8:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.) as they are but extend the school day by 30 minutes so school ends at 3:35 p.m. and 4 p.m.