Studying the Start-time for Maryland’s Students

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the General Assembly will consider a bill this Friday that would create a task force to study later school start-times, making recommendations on the topic for Maryland public schools by the end of the year.  The House Ways and Means Committee will hear the bill at 1pm on March 15.

HB 1462, sponsored by Delegate Aruna Miller of Montgomery County, would create a Task Force to review the science on the sleep needs of adolescents, including effects of sleep deprivation on academic performance and benefits of sufficient sleep.  The Task Force would also consider how other school systems have implemented later school day starting times and how various activities in those school systems were impacted and scheduled around the changes.  The Task Force would then make recommendations regarding whether public schools in the State should implement a starting time of no earlier than 8:00 a.m.

Some local jurisdictions have already looked into the logistical and financial effects of a change to a later start time, according to the Sun.  Others have also studied the impact of school schedules on student health.  As described,  

In Anne Arundel, the school system’s transportation division studied the logistics and financial impact of starting school later — as much as 21/2 hours later for high schools. . . The county school system’s transportation division created the School Hours Study, a 20-page review exploring logistics of its school hours and transportation as well as financial and nonfinancial impacts. . .

Howard County school officials also are studying start times and the impact of school schedules on the health and well-being of high school students. Superintendent Renee A. Foose said she had heard concerns that current start times lead to sleepy adolescents and cause day care issues for elementary school parents.

For more information, see the complete article from the Sun.