Here's some exciting news following yesterday's presentation of a 10,000 signature petition by Mandi Mader, leader of Start School Later Montgomery County, and her community coalition, to the Montgomery County School Board.
"We're delighted that after we presented the petition this a.m., Dr. Starr announced that that he is going to establish a work group to take a serious look at the sleep and educational research and possible options for Montgomery County," Mrs. Mader told supporters in an email yesterday.
"He is not making any promises, but we are very happy with this outcome. We are hopeful we will be invited to join the work group and will be keeping a very close eye on the progress. Thanks for making a positve difference in the world - especially in our children's world."
MCPS issued the following press release:
Superintendent Establishes Work Group to Study Bell Times
Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr announced today (December 11, 2012) the establishment of a work group to study the issue of school bell times.
The work group will look at past reports done by MCPS on this issue; review public input and correspondence that have been received; analyze the efforts of other jurisdictions that have considered changing bell times; review current literature and research; and gather community input.
“This is a very complex issue and I want to make sure we have a full understanding of the impact that school bell times have on student achievement and other areas of development,” Dr. Starr said. “A change in school bell times would affect every student in Montgomery County, and would have a significant impact on our budget and operations. Therefore, it is imperative we have all the information we need before making any decisions.”The work group will begin meeting soon and a report should be completed sometime in the spring.
Changing school start times for high school students has been discussed in Montgomery County and throughout the nation. MCPS studied this issue extensively in 1998 and released a report entitled “Changing Bell Times.” No changes were made to bell times as a result of the report. The issue has been raised at different times over the past 10 years and on Tuesday, a group of parents submitted an onlin petition to the Board of Education asking the district to move back school start times.
This is good news for advocates of healthier school schedules who have been working with Montgomery County on this effort and continue to work for change in school districts in Anne Arundel County, Fairfax County, and others across the country. For more information, visit www.startschoollater.net