At Start School Later we're trying to figure out just how, when, and why anyone got the idea of starting school at 7:17 a.m. Can you help us create a community history?
Some people who grew up here seem to think "it's always been that way." Others insist that AACPS moved up the clock without public input back in the 70s.
Of course, the answers vary with the age of the person, as well as the shakiness of most of our memories. It's hard to find reliable records of school hours.
Here's the story as told by a veteran teacher: In 1967, when this teacher first began teaching, Anne Arundel County (AACPS) high schools all began at 8:10 a.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m. Due to construction issues in the 1970s, however, the time shifted to 8:40 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. In 1976, this time was changed from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. - presumably to allow for more efficient busing.
A few years later the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) mandated that students had to spend more "clock time" in school. So AACPS decided to add 15 minutes to the day by going from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
At the last minute, the teacher said, "a curve was thrown," and the extra 15 minutes were added at the beginning of the day, resulting in a 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. start time. He said that "many reasons were given on the street" for this last minute curve, including demands for sports practices and fast food jobs beginning at 3 p.m. and running until 9 or 10 p.m.
A few years later, when MSDE required even more class "clock time" and after-school demands increased, the end time was made even earlier - 1:55 p.m. - and the start time moved even further up to 7:17 a.m.! In the 2000s, the end time was changed back to 2:05 to add a few more minutes to the school day.
Does this story sound right to you? Certainly, the changing hours this teacher recalls over the years help explain why different people have conflicting memories about when school started "back in the day." But it would be helpful to hear from others, so if you if you remember SPHS hours back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s, please help us reconstruct this history. Thanks!