Start School Later
Anne Arundel County
Our Goal: Safe and healthy school start times for all students in Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Anne Arundel County's 12 public high schools begin at 7:17 a.m., which is the earliest high school start time in Maryland, and one of the earliest in the nation.
Students in our county need to be at bus stops as early as 5:23 a.m. It hasn't always been this way. Until the mid 1970s, the start time for most schools in our county and elsewhere was well after 8 a.m. Local parents have been working to change our predawn school day starts since the late 1990s.
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that early school start times are contrary to the biologically-driven sleep patterns of adolescence, which requires a full 8 to 10 hours of sleep and naturally results in teenagers falling asleep later at night (typically not until 11 p.m. or after).
Data from the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Anne Arundel shows that a mere 21% of high school students are getting 8 hours of sleep on a school night, down from 59% of middle school students.
The chronic sleep deprivation experienced by teens often results in physical and mental health problems, problem behaviors and declining grades. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no middle or high school begin before 8:30 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control echoes that recommendation, as does the American Medical Association and many other public health groups.
The Maryland of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland State Department of Education issued a joint report recommending that school systems evaluate the feasibility of school starting after 8 a.m.
Implementing the school start time change our children need can be achieved only by the superintendent of AACPS schools and the Board of Education. Because of that, parents, educators, healthcare providers, students and elected officials need to both educate their peers and become advocates for school hours that are safe and healthy for all K-12 students.
DONATE: Contributions to Start School Later are tax-deductible — and you can direct your donation to the Anne Arundel County chapter.
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PAST AND PRESENT: Learn about the history of school times in Anne Arundel County. Read
THE LATEST: We post detailed updates on our Facebook page. Following are some recent highlights.
- On August 22, the new school year started. WBAL covered the first day of school.
- On August 18, a Guest Column was published by the Capital Gazette.
- On August 14, a letter to the editor was published by the Capital Gazette.
- On June 22, SSL AACO testified at the Board of Education meeting when the Fiscal Year 2017 budget was adopted.
- On June 15, the County Council struck the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Included was $602,000 for healthy and safer school hours. Read our press release.
- On June 3, a letter to the editor was published by the Capital Gazette.
- On June 2, SSL AACO met with the County Executive's Office to discuss the role of start times, teen sleep deprivation, and substance abuse.
- On June 1, SSL AACO presented to the adult chapter leaders of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) about drowsy driving, teen sleep deprivation, and the role of start times.
- On May 9 and 12, SSL AACO testifies before the County Council on the budget the Fiscal Year 2017 budget (Go to 2:43:00 on the May 12th's video to see the first of three students in a row seeking funding for healthier and safer school hours.)
- On May 4, SSL AACO testifies at the Board of Education meeting.
- Governor Hogan signs the Orange Ribbon Bill into law. SSL AACo attends the bill signing.
- On April 20, SSL AACo testifies at the Board of Education meeting. We are also interviewed by WBAL prior to the meeting and release of new start time proposal.
- On April 11, SSL AACo witnesses the Maryland Senate vote on the Orange Ribbon Bill, which had previously passed the House of Delegates.
- On April 6, SSL AACo testified at the Board of Education meeting.
- On March 25, SSL AACo and SSL Howard County meet with a representative in Gov. Larry Hogan's policy office.
- February 22, Anne Arundel County is included in Time Magazine's article "Why schools are struggling to let students sleep in."
- On February 17, the Board of Education 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. We issue a press release on February 19.
- A guest column in the Capital is published on February 16 listing the community benefits of safer and healthier school hours.
- Online survey results are published by AACPS on February 16.
- SSL AACo attends the AACPS Start/Dismissal Time forums on February 2, 4 and 8. We re-present our petition for healthy and safe hours to the Board of Education on February 3.
- SSL AACo testifies before the Maryland General Assembly Ways and Means Committee on the Orange Ribbon Bill for Healthy School Hours bill on January 28 and before the Senate Education, Health, and Environment committee on February 3.
- SSL AACo attends the budget workshop on January 19 and and testifies on January 20 at the Board of Education meeting.
- SSL AACo issues a press release in response to Superintendent Arlotto's proposed school start time changes for 2017-18 announced on January 12. We are interviewed by WMAR ABC2 News Baltimore for reactions to the proposal.
- We meet with Superintendent Arlotto on January 15 and Bob Mosier, AACPS spokesperson, on January 11.
- A local opinion editorial is published by the Washington Post on January 8.
- SSL AACo testifies at the January 5 and 7 Budget Hearings and the January 6 Board of Education Meeting.
- A guest column is published in the Capital Gazette on January 1.
- SSL AACo issues a press release in response to the proposed FY 17 budget. We are interviewed by WBALTV.
- SSL AACo testifies at the Board of Education meeting on December 16. Superintendent Arlotto includes Task Force Option A, to be implemented in August 2017, in his proposed FY17 budget. (Note: The proposal ultimately presented is an adaptation of Option A, not the original Option A.)
- A Letter to the Editor is published on December 30th in the Bay Weekly.
- SSL AACo testifies at the Board of Education's meeting on November 18t.
- A Letter to the Editor is published in the Capital Gazette.
- SSL AACO testifies at the Board of Education's meeting on November 4.
- SSL AACo attends the Board of Education meeting on October 21. Thirteen audience members speak in favor of moving middle and high school start times later. The two best speakers are a high school freshman and her mother. Watch them here.
- SSL AACo attends the Board of Education's Workshop on Start Times on October 20. Fairfax and Montgomery counties present about their change in school times. You can watch it here.
- A Letter to the Editor is published on October 13 in the Capital Gazette.
- A Letter to the Editor is published on September 4 in the Baltimore Sun.
- A Letter to the Editor is published on September 3 in the Bay Weekly.
- A Letter to the Editor is published on August 28 in the Capital Gazette.
- SSL AACo testifies at the Board of Education meeting on August 19.
- SSL AACo meets with Superintendent Arlotto on August 17.
- A Letter to the Editor is published on June 25 in the Capital Gazette.