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Montgomery County Md. superintendent recommends later high school start times, longer elementary school day

10:17 AM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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(WUSA9) -- Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr recommended on Tuesday that the school district consider delaying high school start times and extending the elementary school day.

Starr suggests high school start times be pushed back 50 minutes and the elementary school day be extended by 30 minutes, based on the 2013 Bell Times Work Group report on starting and ending times in MCPS for the past 10 months.

Read the 2013 Bell Times Work Group Report: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/pdf/2013BellTimesReport.pdf

The elementary school day is currently 6 hours and 15 minutes, which is 30 minutes shorter than the middle and high schools.

"This would add the equivalent of 14 days of instruction to our elementary grades, providing additional learning opportunities for students and staff," Starr said in a press release on Tuesday.

Here's what the proposed changes to the school day would look like:

- High school start time - 8:15 a.m.

- High school end time - 3 p.m.

- Middle school start time - 7:45 a.m.

- Middle school end time - 2:30 p.m.

- Keep elementary school start times at 8:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.

- Elementary school end times - 3:35 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Read Starr's recommendation details here: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/pdf/BellTimesRecommendation10113.pdf

Next Tuesday, the Montgomery County Board of Education will hear a presentation from Dr. Starr and the Bell Times Work Group and students, staff, parents, and community members will get to weigh in on the recommendation. The cost and operational impact of making changes will also be discussed, according to officials.

"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 press 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.

He continued, "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 said he expects to have public input and a full cost analysis by spring 2014. According to MCPS officials, the earliest any changes would occur is the 2015-2016 school year.

Community members with comments about the recommendation can email belltimes@mcpsmd.org

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