Studying Starting and Ending Times in Maryland Schools

As reported in the Washington Post, as Montgomery County has debated a proposal to delay the start times of high school to 8:15 a.m., a district-created study group has discussed potential changes to elementary school hours. The study group included parents, teachers, principals, school administrators, and special education paraeducators.

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As described in the article,

If the elementary school day were lengthened, the extra time could be used for foreign language, technology or perhaps more art, music or physical education, school officials have said. The study group was asked to examine such options, gather data and collect feedback. . . [Superintendent Joshua P.] Starr has pointed out that Montgomery has the state’s ­second-shortest elementary school day, at six hours and 15 minutes.

For more information, see the full story from the Post

Also this year, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 883 – Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Study of Safe and Healthy School Hours for Maryland Public Schools.  The bill requires the Office of Public Health Services (OPHS) in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct a study of safe and healthy school hours for Maryland public schools. As described by the Department of Legislative Services,

In conducting the study, OPHS must review the science on the sleep needs of children and adolescents, including the effects of sleep deprivation on academic performance and benefits of sufficient sleep; review and study how other school systems have implemented alternative school day starting times and how various activities in those school systems were impacted and scheduled around the changes; and make recommendations regarding whether public schools should implement a starting time of no earlier than 8:00 a.m.

The report on safe and healthy school hours is due to the General Assembly by December 31, 2014. For more information, see the bill information page.