Petition statement to be delivered to Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent MCPS and MCPS Board of Education

BEST Bell Times for ALL Montgomery County, MD Students

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BEST Bell Times for ALL Montgomery County, MD Students

To be delivered to Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent MCPS and MCPS Board of Education

Petition Statement

We respectfully request our school board to recognize the importance of start and end times for ALL Montgomery County, MD students and support a Bell Times proposal in which the end time for any school is no later than 3:30PM.
There are currently 729 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures!

Petition Background

The Montgomery County Public School Superintendent Joshua Starr has proposed to change the schedule of “bell times” (begin and end times) for all schools to accommodate a later start time for high school students. There are several options on the table that propose to end the elementary school day and even middle school day well after 3:30. (For children being dismissed as late at 4:00, this means getting home or settled into after-care no sooner than 4:30pm leaving very little time before sunset.) The proposal cites the benefits for health, well being and safety of high school teens as the primary reason for this change. The proposal does NOT however consider the effects of a later end time on elementary school students or young middle school students.

The negative effects on a later end time for elementary school students, young middle school children and families include:

-The CDC recommends that children should get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Currently students get only 30 minutes of recess during school hours. (And that is only on warm and sunny days. MANY days in the winter months the kids are kept inside all day with no active recess.) Ending school later robs the opportunity for additional outside play, after school sports activities or any other outdoor exercise.

-The American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized the importance of unstructured play in children's daily lives. They have stated that even children who are benefiting from structured academics "still need some free unscheduled time for creative growth, self-reflection, and decompression and would profit from the unique developmental benefits of child-driven play." A late end of school day takes that time away from children.

-Teachers and research state that time of day has a direct effect on young kids including how well they can pay attention, discipline issues and learning in general. Kids are ready to learn early but naturally tire out in the late afternoon.

-Elementary school children and young middle school children generally go to bed much earlier than high school children. A later end time leaves very little time at the end of the day which impacts:

-Family time: the same amount of time will be spent on homework, dinner, baths, etc. so family time will suffer.

-Homework: children who are overtired at the end of the day from having a compressed schedule will resist the evening activities including homework and family responsibilities.



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