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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

MCPS returns to school start time issue

MCPS+returns+to+school+start+time+issue

Just two years ago, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) voted to alter school start times at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In recent months, talk has once again emerged among parents, teachers and county officials concerning the effectiveness of these new bell schedules, with heated claims emerging on both ends of the spectrum.

The debate over school start times in the county first emerged officially in late 2015. In October of that year, after recommendation from then-Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr, the board of education ultimately voted 5-3 to push back the first bell at middle and high schools by 20 minutes, and the elementary school bells by 10 minutes over two tiers, which has caused elementary schoolers in tier 2 to get home often after 4:00 PM.

Original changes to the system were motivated by several factors, including reports of sleep deprivation from early wake-ups and reduced ability to process information in classes thereafter. Claims from medical professionals have also emerged in recent years detailing the benefits of students getting more sleep.

The current obstacles in the way of another possible shift to start times include the large amount of funding via implementation costs needed, necessary adjustment efforts on the parts of school staffs across the county and after-school child care service hours.

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Within schools themselves, scheduling for before and after school extracurriculars would have to be recalculated, as well as sporting events, and other school-sponsored activies.

“I think it is remote that anything of a major adjustment is realistic right now,” Superintendent Jack Smith said on the WAMU Kojo Nnamdi show.
While local governance and the multitude of factors vital for such a shift point toward no quick schedule change, an addition or subtraction of time from the county schools’ schedules would certainly create a change one that would impact most county citizens.

 

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