You may have heard all the hubbub about the push to start Montgomery County High Schools later - culminating in the delivery of a petition with over 10,000 names on it today to the Montgomery County Board of Education. Well, Montgomery County with its 7:25 a.m. school start times has nothing on us here in Anne Arundel.
Besides being the proud owners of the very earliest high school start time in Maryland (7:17 a.m.!) and home of the national Start School Later coalition, Anne Arundel County has its own chapter of Start School Later, and its own petition. It also has a new partnership with the Parents Advocacy Network, an independent citizens group formed last year to improve Anne Arundel County public schools.
Readers who have been following the later start time issue might be interesting in the following press release, just issued by Joanna Conti, PAN's chair and founder:
Anne Arundel County’s high school start time of 7:17 a.m. is the earliest in Maryland and one of the earliest in the country. The Parents Advocacy Network has teamed up with the national organization Start School Later to request that our public schools start classes no earlier than 8:00 a.m. Almost 2,000 Anne Arundel County residents have already signed a petition supporting this change.
A tremendous amount of research in recent years has compellingly shown that very early start times are hurting our children’s health and educational achievement”, said Joanna Conti, Chair of the Parents Advocacy Network. “I was particularly struck by the number of comments made by teachers who signed the petition about how barely alert many Anne Arundel students are in their first period classes.”
Terra Snider, Co-Chair of Start School Later, adds: "The concerns opponents typically raise about costs, sports, jobs, daycare, etc. turn out to be largely myths. School hours that allow our children to get adequate sleep and maximize their health, safety, and academic success should be considered as fundamental - and non-negotiable - as heating the schools. Communities that have put children's health and well-being first have been able to find creative solutions, and so can AACPS if it has the will to do so."
If you agree that high schools should start later, please sign the petition at www.AACStartTime.com. To learn more or to help advocate for change, visit www.ParentsAdvocacyNetwork.org/starttime.