The children have spoken, and the adults have listened.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr announced on Tuesday his recommendations that county high schools start school 50 minutes later each day, and that the elementary school day be extended by 30 minutes, according to a news release from the county school system.
Before anything can be changed, however, there will be "extensive outreach to gather input from students, staff, parents and community members," and school staff will determine the costs associated with making the change to a later school start time, the news release added.
The earliest that any changes to the daily schedule could occur would be during the 2015-2016 school year, the news release stated.
"I am making this recommendation because I believe it is in the best interests of our students," Starr said. "There is extensive research that demonstrates that adolescents are simply not getting enough sleep. This is a public health and safety issue."
"At the same time, I realize my recommendation may have a substantial impact on the lives of our students, staff, families and school communities," he added.
- Moving high school start times later by 50 minutes, from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. (with school ending at 3 p.m.).
- Moving middle school start times earlier by 10 minutes, from 7:55 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. (with school ending at 2:30 p.m.).
- Keeping elementary school start times where they are (at 8:50 and 9:15 a.m.), but extending the school day by 30 minutes (with school ending at 3:35 and 4 p.m.) Currently, the county’s elementary schools have the second-shortest school day in the state, according to the news release.
Starr expects to have "substantial public input and a full cost analysis by spring 2014," the release added.
Starr’s recommendations are based on a report by the 2013 Bell Times Work Group, which Starr convened 10 months ago to study the issue of starting and ending times in county schools.
The report provides references and information about sleep deprivation and its impact on adolescents, who generally need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night, according to the group’s report.
Email comments about Starr's recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.