- MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr
- United States of America
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr recently proposed the following changes to the elementary, middle, and high school "bell times" (start and stop times):
Move high school start and stop times 50 minutes later (start at 8:15am, end at 3:00pm).
Move middle school start and stop times 10 minutes earlier (start at 7:45am, end at 2:30pm).
Keep elementary school start times unchanged, but increase the length of time in school by 30 minutes.
(ES Tier one schools: start at 8:50am, end at 3:35pm)
(ES Tier two schools: start at 9:15am, end at 4:00pm)
The 2013 Bell Times Workgroup report provides the rationale for a later high school start time; it may lead to lower rates of depression, obesity, inattentiveness, and even traffic accidents. Although evidence is lacking that it definitely affects academic performance in a measureable way, the non-academic benefits are sufficient to justify the change to a later bell time for high school students.
However, pushing the end of the day for elementary school students later by a half hour, especially for those enrolled in tier two schools, significantly limits opportunities for these students to engage in extracurricular activities and also makes it more difficult to complete the increasing volume of homework assignments, especially given their generally earlier bedtimes compared to high school students.