Have You Weighed In On Rescheduling School Hours?

Patch users have voted, and most think schools should change start hours to begin later. What are your thoughts?


Montgomery County schools should change schooling hours to start later, according to Patch readers.

asking if they agreed with the Start School Later Initiative’s petition that encourages lawmakers to start school no earlier than 8 a.m. Petitioners say students would be physically and mentally healthier with more time for sleep and rest, while teachers would have more time to prepare lessons.

An overwhelming 88 percent of responders think that Montgomery County students, teachers and parents would benefit from school hour starting later in the morning.

“Without a doubt, a later start to schools is beneficial to everyone, most importantly to the kids,” Patch user wrote in. “My children have attended school in several countries and they all had later starts (8:45am - 3:30pm). Kids were engaged and awake but still had time for after school activities and sports.”

“I see high school student, after high school student, come to my office with major depression, anxiety, and social problems,” said MCPS parent and adolescent psychologist . “One of the first things I do is educate the parents and student on the compelling and growing research about [adolescent] sleep needs.”

While more than 200 readers agreed that schools should start later around the county, a little more than 30 responders think no change is needed. Some were concerned that later start times may not leave enough time for extra curricular activities.

“I think school should start later but not too late,” wrote . “My son currently starts at 8:40 and ends at 3:30. I do not like the 3:30 time because they do not have much homework time before a sport or other activity.”

“My daughter goes to Good Counsel H.S. and with school getting out at 2:45, play practice doesn't end until 6:30, IB Music ends at 6:00, sports that can't get a gym or field right after school also go late,” said . “If we move back the start time, then they're up even later than they are now doing homework.”  

What do you think about the Start School Later Initiative? Do you think later school times would leave enough room for extra curricular activities? Are hours fine as they are? Tell us in the comments!

Susan Byrne March 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
The early start times were instituted at most schools in the U.S. as a cost cutting measure to reduce the number of buses and transportation cycles required. Schools found this a convenient way to cut a major expense. But we have plenty of hard evidence that it is a significant negative impact on learning. Armed with the enlightened insight, we should demand that our BOE make learning the priority and make every decision support the benefit of our students; set an 8AM minimum start time for all MCPS schools.
Sue Shaw March 27, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Parents who are concerned that later start times will not leave sufficient time for myriad extra curricular activities should examine their priorities and question why it is important for their student to have such a long extended day beyond the big job of succeeding in the classroom.
Pedsfs March 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Well said, Sue Shaw!
Theresa Defino March 29, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Susan, aren't you an announced candidate for BOE? Not sure why you wouldn't want to identify that. My recollection is MCPS has looked into changing start times and determined it was too expensive. I don't believe this is a change the BOE can even make on its own.
Terra Ziporyn Snider, Ph.D. March 29, 2012 at 04:21 AM
A delegation from Annapolis-based Start School Later visited the offices of Congressmen Steny Hoyer & Chris Van Hollen today on Capitol Hill and presented them with copies of the national petition (http://bit.ly/tWa4dS) for help promoting legislation to prevent schools from starting before 8 a.m. Whether this limit is ultimately set at the national, state, or local level, or whether there is a better solution to this problem, we need the support of our state and national elected officials to move the issue forward. Calls and emails to Congressmen Hoyer (http://bit.ly/t0LIbz) and Van Hollen (http://1.usa.gov/YfwGX) supporting later school start times would be very helpful, as would additional names on the petition (which we are continuing to deliver to members of Congress and the White House administration in a series of "Wake Up Wednesdays"). Thanks, and for more information see StartSchoolLater.net.


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