Next Steps in 2017 for School Hours in Anne Arundel County
- September 2017: The first step towards healthier and safer start times for middle and high school begin. High schools will shift 13 minutes to 7:30 a.m. All other schools will be delayed 15 minutes.
A History of School Start Times in Anne Arundel County
This summary is compiled from memories and news articles (when possible).
In the late 1960’s, Anne Arundel County high schools begin at 8:10 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m., based on an interview with a veteran teacher. (Although this letter writer recalls a 9 a.m. start.) Nearly all school levels start at about the same time.
- In the early 1970s, high school hours are 8:40 a.m. to 3:15 p.m, mostly to account for school construction, though at some schools there was both an early morning school session and an afternoon session.
- By the late 1970's high school started closer to 8:15 a.m.
- In the early1980's: High school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., presumably to allow for more efficient busing and when the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) mandates that students have to spend more "clock time" in school.
- In January 1986 (midyear) high school start time shifted from 7:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. to add 15 minutes to high school length (2 minutes per class period). Parents and students complained, to no effect.
- 1991 - Activity buses cut to save $331,000 and balance budget. See Capital article.
- 1994 - HS start time moves from 7:30 to 7:25 'to accommodate bus schedules'
- 1995: Some Elementary and Middle School (20% of schools) shifted to a latest start time of 9:35 a.m. and a dismissal time of 3:50 (was 3:30) to save $330,000 on transportation. See Capital article.
- 1996: High school is shifted to 7:17 a.m. from 7:25 a.m. to make up time for potential snow day closures. In a Washington Post article a Board of Education member mentions later start times for high school would actually be better for the students than starting eight minutes earlier.
- July 1998: The start/release time of 35 schools, primarily elementary shifted for upcoming school year to balance school budget. Two elementary schools (Meade Heights and Windsor Farms) release at 4:00 p.m. See Capital article.
- December 31, 1998: A letter in the Washington Post calls for moving AACo high school start times an hour later (scroll down or do a keyword search to find it in the link).
- ~2000: Shifting start times are discussed
- 2000-2001: Annapolis High School is proposed for a pilot program to implement a 9 a.m. high school start time. The program is never implemented.
- 2005: A Board of Education member says something to the effect of, “Oh, we know all the science. We don't dispute it. But we don't have the money. Find us the money, and we'll do it.”
- January 2006: Several Board of Education motions to shift start times (varying from 15 minutes to high schools at 9 a.m., ranging in cost from $0 to millions of dollars, respectively) fail to earn sufficient votes.
- November 2006: Parents in Severna Park and Annapolis high school clusters push for a pilot program for their school(s) to start at 8 a.m. (Read Part 1 and Part 2.)
- December 2006: Director of High Schools George Arlotto states that Superintendent Kevin Maxwell "shared with me that he does not intend to move forward with a recommendation regarding changing the high school start times."
- In 2007, a video of Anne Arundel County students sleeping in class is part of an attempt to petition President Obama regarding school hours.
- January 7, 2012: A Chapter of Start School Later is founded for Anne Arundel County (SSL AACo).
- October 21, 2012: Start School Later AACo creates a Move-On petition.
- January 11, 2013: SSL AACo presents the Move-On petition to the AACPS Board of Education.
- December 2013-February 2014: AACPS surveys parents about a 13 minute shift to 7:30 a.m. Results are split evenly overall. But when broken down by school level, elementary was against (58%), but both middle (54%) and high school (62%) were in favor of the small slide.
- February 2014: The AACPS Start Times Task Force created.
- August 25, 2014: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no middle or high school start before 8:30 a.m.
- October 2014: The Start Times Task Force presents a report to the Board of Education. Four options are presented to shift start times. More than two-thirds of survey respondents desired some kind of change in school start times. The task force recommended the purchase of transportation software since bus transportation routes are currently calculated by hand based on experience or institutional knowledge.
- December 2014: Superintendent George Arlotto includes money to purchase transportation software in his 2015-2016 budget.
- December 2014: The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Maryland Department of Education issue a joint study recommending that schools conduct feasibility studies of no schools starting before 8 a.m.
- January 2015: The County Council unanimously passes resolution 6-15 urging AACPS to purchase transportation software and take steps to establish healthy school hours.
- February 2015: The Board of Education adjusts its proposed budget by including $602,000 to shift school start times in 2016-2017 school year, in addition to funding for transportation software.
- June 2015: The County Council approves AACPS's budget for the transportation software purchase and $602,000 for a start time shift.
- June 2015: The Board of Education reaffirms its intention to shift start times in 2016-2017 school year. No details are provided.
- August 2015: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that U.S. schools start too early.
- August 2015: A contract is awarded by AACPS for transportation software (SEON).
- October 20, 2015: A public Workshop on School Start and Dismissal Times is held. Task Force information is re-presented and representatives from Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland present about their bell time changes implemented in Fall 2015.
- December 16, 2015: Superintendent George Arlotto includes $8 million for his version of Option A in his 2016-2017 budget (different from Task Force Option A) in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Proposed school hours will change in August 2017.
- January 12, 2016: Superintendent George Arlotto releases details about community outreach forums and a proposed bell schedule for every school in the district.
- February 2, 4, 8, 2016: Start Time Forums are held.
- February 17, 2016: The Board of Education removes $8 million line item, in the face of community opposition to single proposal. Instead the Board votes 7-2 to include $1.4 million in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for later start times for the 2017-2018 school year. Using transportation software and critical thought will define how much of a shift in start times this money, combined with $602,000 previously allocated, will achieve.
- March 16, 2016: The Board of Education asks Dr. Arlotto and AACPS to develop two new start time scenarios: one for the $602,000 already in hand and one for the $1.4 million requested and to be added to existing $602,000 ($2 million total).
- April 20, 2016: AACPS recommends two new plans for start times.
- May 2, 2016: County Executive forwards the budget to the County Council, with funding only for $602,000 for later start times.
- June 2016: The American Medical Association recommends that no middle or high school start before 8:30 a.m.
- June 15, 2016: The County Council approves the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, with the $602,000 for later start times.
- September 21, 2016: The Board of Education votes to delay high schools 13 minutes to 7:30 a.m. All other schools will be delayed 15 minutes. This will go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year.
- December 21, 2016: Superintendent of Schools does not include any money in his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget.
- February 15, 2017: The motion to amend the FY18 budget to include money for healthy school hours in 2018-2019 school year, does not earn a "second". The motion fails without discussion.
- March 3, 2017: AACPS releases "tentative" school hours for 2017-2018.
- The saga continues ...
Videos of Testimony
Daughter/Mother testimony before the Board of Education. October 21, 2016
3 students testifying before County Council at the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Hearing. May 12, 2016