Next Steps in 2019-2020 school year (and beyond)
for Anne Arundel County
- July 10, 2019: the Board of Education approves the contract of $135, 811 for Prismatic Services to evaluate AACPS transportation system. Interim report due November 4, 2019, with final report due January 3, 2020.
- Fall 2019?: Transportation consultant recommends options for age-appropriate school hours that are safe, healthy, and age-appropriate for all AACPS students.
- Winter 2019/2020?: Board of Education approves one scenario for new bell times and includes any appropriate budget requests in Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
- Summer 2020?: County Council funds request for altering school hours.
- Fall 2020-Winter 2021?: AACPS conducts outreach to explain new school hours, new buses ordered, new bus drivers hired. Plan adjusted based on community feedback
- Fall 2021?: New healthy, safe, and age-appropriate school hours for all students implemented.
A History of School Start Times in Anne Arundel County
This summary is compiled from memories and news reports. Scroll down to see videos of powerful testimony.
- 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 1964, a few Annapolis High School buses picked up at 7:50 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. according to schedules published in the Capital.
- In the Early 1970's, 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.
- On August 31, 1971, the Capital pubished bus schedules. Annapolis high school bus routes all began ~7:30 a.m. (The scan is fairly blurry, but you can make out the times.)
- By the Late 1970's high school started closer to 8:15 a.m.
- In the Early 1980'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: High school 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).
- 1999/2000: Shifting start times are discussed, including a student-led group that recommended later high school start times.
- 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.
- 2004: The Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) writes to the Anne Arundel Department of Health requesting their opinion on school hours. The Deputy Health Officer responded with this letter.
- 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."
- September 27, 2007: The Maryland Office of Legislative Audits reviews AACPS and recommends transportation software and transporation routing metrics.
- 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.
- December 21, 2012: A Meade High School freshman is killed at 6 a.m. crossing the street.
- 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.
- June 25, 2014: The Maryland Office of Legislative Audits reviews AACPS and recommends (for the second time) transportation software and transportation routing metrics.
- 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 the original funding 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 original $602,000 for later start times.
- August 2016: A pilot program for recent immigrants/english language learners who are working and cannot make it to school at 7:17 a.m., begins at Annapolis High School. Modified school hours are 11 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. The early start time is noted as a reason some teens drop out of school to work.
- 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 Dr. George Arlotto 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.
- September 5, 2017: New school hours implemented. A 13 minute delay for high schools to 7:30 a.m. and a 15 minute delay for most other schools.
- October 22, 2017: On the 5th anniversary of the original petition, SSL AACO launches a new petition.
- February 21, 2018: The Board of Education declines to amend the budget to include additional monies for school hours.
- September 2018: Anne Arundel County Public Schools implements transportation software in parallel with manual routing.
- November 6, 2018: First elections for Board of Education positions in Districts 1, 4, 5, and 7. (Districts 2, 3, and 6 Board of Education elections in 2020.)
- February 6, 2019: Board of Education tasks AACPS with developing a Request for Proposal to seek outside assistance with transpation routing with the goals of 1) moving late starting elementary schools earlier as soon as possible and 2) identifying bell scenarios and cost estimates to move high school to a later start time.
- March 6, 2019: AACPS provides draft Request for Proposal for Board (RFP) review/future approval. Within the draft scope of work: "Recommendations and costs associated with changes to school start and dismissal time scenarios; essentially to compress said times to allow for a later start for those schools with the earliest start times and an earlier compeletion for those schools with the latest dismissal times. Develop, analyze, and cost out various optimatization models to assist AACPS in investigating compressing school start and dismissal times. Determine the impact and costs of the various scenarios on the AACPS Transportation Department and associated school operations. Also examine opportunities to cost effectively shorten the duration of the longest bus route run times where possible and practcable." Watch the video at 1:28:25. BOE approved the scope of work at the March 20 meeting.
- May 13. 2019: Anne Arundel County Public Schools releases a Request for Proposal to hire a transportation consultant to assist them in determining some bell time schedules, among other transportation evaluations. Bids due on June 12, 2019. Interim report due November 4, 2019, with final report due January 3, 2020.
- The saga continues ...
Videos of Testimony
Daughter/Mother testimony before the Board of Education. October 21, 2015
Three students testifying before County Council at the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Hearing. May 12, 2016
Acting Health Officer Fran Phillips responds to questions from the County Council (acting as the Board of Health) regarding school start times. It was an issue back in 1996 she says... November 20, 2017
North County High School student Public Service Announcement on teen sleep. October 2017
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