Montgomery County schools report

The Report of the 2013 Bell Times Work Group: Sleep Needs of Students, Scheduling Practices, and Options for Consideration Montgomery schools chief pushes for later high school start times

The Report of the 2013 Bell Times Work Group:
Sleep Needs of Students, Scheduling Practices, and Options for Consideration

September 2013

Table of Contents

Executive Summary..................................................................................................................................................... 1
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2
History of Bell Times in MCPS ............................................................................................................................. 5

2013 MCPS Bell Times Work Group ............................................................................................................... 8

Findings: Summary of the Research Since 1998 ................................................................................... 9
Options and Implications ...................................................................................................................................... 21

Community Assessment Strategy ................................................................................................................... 29
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................................................ 31

Appendices....................................................................................................................................................................... 32
Appendix A: Charge Statement to the Bell Times Work Group....................................... 33

Appendix B: History of Activities on Changing Bell Times................................................ 34

Appendix C: Presentations by Local Experts ........................................................................... 35
Appendix D: OSA 2013 HS Start Times Survey Findings ................................................... 37

Appendix E: HS Start Times Parent Survey .............................................................................. 43

Appendix F: HS Start Times Student Survey............................................................................ 45

Appendix G: Start Times in 25 Largest School Districts (October 30, 1997) ............ 47

Appendix H: Cost Implications....................................................................................................... 51
Appendix I: MSDE Total School Days/Hours ........................................................................ 53

Appendix J: Bibliography .................................................................................................................. 54

Executive Summary
In December 2012, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Joshua P.
Starr directed staff to convene a work group--including community stakeholders--to develop
options to address students' needs for more sleep, and in particular, to consider adjustments to
school start times, often referred to as "bell times." The development of options was to take into
consideration current research, the efforts of other school districts, as well as the previous efforts
by interested stakeholders, which carefully considered and documented the issues, concerns,
options, and implications of changing bell times, in reports published by MCPS in 1998 and
1999. The work group was asked to consider what has changed since 1998, what options
previously offered might be more compelling in the current context, and what options not
previously considered might be meaningful countermeasures to the problems associated with
adolescent sleepiness.
The 2013 High School Bell Times Work Group (Bell Times Work Group) met from January to
July 2013. The group heard presentations from local experts, reviewed current research from
sleep experts and school start times experts nationwide, benchmarked comparable districts,
conducted informal focus groups, and commissioned a survey of high school students and
parents of high school students. The survey found that 70 percent of MCPS parents of high
school students and 63 percent of high school students consider the 7:25 a.m. high school start
time "too early." Sixty-nine percent of parents and 54 percent of high school students want the
high school start time pushed back by 30 minutes or one hour, and 28 percent of parents and 38
percent of high school students want the high school start time to remain the same.
The Bell Times Work Group was tasked with researching and developing options but not with
making a recommendation. The group did not reach consensus on all of the options discussed nor
are the options presented in order of preference. Four options are proposed by the Bell Times
Work Group for further consideration by the superintendent of schools and the Montgomery
County Board of Education (Board) and are discussed in this report.
The work group concurred with medical experts who have identified sleep deprivation in
adolescents and adults as a public health issue. Work group members felt that MCPS students,
staff members, and parents could benefit from a sleep education campaign addressing the wide
discrepancy between the hours of sleep needed versus the hours of sleep typically achieved by
students, the relationship between sleep and learning, the impact of electronic devices on sleep
habits, and other important findings in the sleep research literature regarding the academic,
psychological, physical, and public safety problems associated with sleep deprivation.

1

Introduction
When the bell rings at the end of the high school day, teens scatter in directions as varied as their
interests--to sports practices, jobs, and/or internships; to be with friends; to care for younger
siblings; and, of course, home to study (or so their parents and teachers hope, at least for some
portion of the night). Before they go to bed, they will have logged hours of activity and motion,
some of those hours spent being driven--or driving themselves--from music or theater
rehearsals to competitions, meetings, or friends' houses, and hopefully, home at a decent time
before checking for that one last Tweet, reading one last text or e-mail message, or sending a
Snapchat photo. And then they finally get to bed, where research shows they will sleep 7.6 hours
on an average school night, or 6.9 hours on average if they are high school seniors--much less
than the 9 hours of sleep per night that research says they should get.
They will sleep less than they need and probably wake before the sun comes up, walking to the
school bus stop or driving or walking to school for the start of the school day. In MCPS, the high
school day starts at 7:25 a.m.
When asked, 38 percent of MCPS high school students want school start times to stay the same.
One may ask why student support for a later start time is not almost unanimous. Certainly
students like the idea of sleeping later in the morning but not necessarily the idea of staying in
school later in the afternoon. Proponents of the 7:25 a.m. start time rarely argue for the benefits
for high school students of starting school that early. With the possible exception of high school
staff members who appreciate a traffic-free early morning commute, most proponents of the
7:25 a.m. start time argue for the 2:10 p.m. end time and what happens after the bell rings at the
end of the day. Students, teachers, students' employers, coaches, and club advisors argue for
time to work, practice, meet, or compete in the afternoon before it gets too dark to practice on
unlit fields or in time to travel across the county and return from a competition in time for
homework before bedtime. Also, some parents count on high school students being the first ones
home in the early afternoon to care for younger siblings or to contribute to the family finances by
working after school. Similarly, a host of community businesses provide tutoring, private
lessons, and other activities to students after school.
Logistically, in a traffic-congested metropolitan area like Montgomery County, it takes four
separate "tiers" of school bus routes and start times to transport students at all levels--
elementary, middle, and high school--to school and back again. Simply put, to make sure the
latest school opening occurs by 9:15 a.m., someone has to take an early tier, and that tier in
Montgomery County traditionally has been assigned to high school students.
According to a 2013 MCPS survey conducted by the Office of Shared Accountability (OSA),
70 percent of MCPS parents of high school students consider the 7:25 a.m. high school start time
"too early," and 69 percent want it pushed back by 30 minutes or one hour. A petition received
by MCPS in November 2012 requested a school start time schedule more aligned with sleep
research. Sleep research shows that insufficient sleep contributes to a range of physical,
psychological, and public safety problems. Important brain functions that are part of the learning
process--the ability to complete abstract and complex tasks, develop working memory, and
consolidate memories of information gathered during the day--are affected negatively by sleep
deprivation. Additionally, the United States has the highest numbers of sleep-deprived students
2

of all countries participating in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
(TIMSS). TIMSS researchers hypothesize that the lack of sleep in affluent countries like the
United States and Saudi Arabia results, in part, from affluent students having cell phones and
tablets and the impact of artificial light from the screens on their ability to fall asleep.
While the sleep research emphasizes the importance of more sleep for students, school start time
research does not conclusively demonstrate that later high school start times produces academic
gains. While the findings on academic gains may be inconsistent, research consistently does
show a relationship between starting high school later and lowering the traffic accident rate
among school-aged drivers.
If research findings, school bus schedules, and the multiple after-school demands on high school
students' lives were puzzle pieces, they seemingly come from different puzzles. Add in the
pieces that impact elementary and middle school students and their families, and it soon becomes
clear these pieces do not fit together into an image that pleases everyone. Moreover, depending
on how these pieces are assembled, the costs can increase substantially.
In December 2012, MCPS Superintendent Dr. Joshua P. Starr directed staff to convene a work
group--including community stakeholders--to develop options to address students' needs for
more sleep, and in particular, to consider adjustments to school start times, often referred to as
"bell times" (Appendix A). The development of options was to take into consideration the
previous efforts by interested stakeholders, which carefully considered and documented the
issues, concerns, options, and implications of changing bell times, as documented in reports
published by MCPS in 1998 and 1999, as well as the efforts of other school districts. The
purpose of the 2013 Bell Times Work Group was to consider what has changed since 1998, what
options previously offered might be more compelling in the current context, and what options
not previously considered might be meaningful countermeasures to the problems associated with
adolescent sleepiness.
The Bell Times Work Group was tasked with researching and developing options but not with
making a recommendation. The group did not reach consensus on all of the options presented nor
are the options presented in order of preference. The following four options were put forward by
the Bell Times Work Group for further consideration by the superintendent of schools and the
Board (see page 23 for the current school bell times schedule):
o

o
o

Option 1 and 1A reverse the order of school opening for the first two tiers, starting
middle schools before high schools. Option 1 opens elementary schools 10 minutes later
and extends the day by 10 minutes. Option 1A leaves the opening time for elementary
schools unchanged and extends the day by 20 minutes.
Option 2 retains the current order of school openings but moves all start times 25 to
35 minutes later.
Option 3 extends the elementary day by 30 minutes, making the length of the school day
at all levels the same (and therefore somewhat more interchangeable from a
transportation perspective), and changes the order of school openings so that half of the
elementary schools start first at 7:50 a.m.

3

o

Option 4 maintains the current order of school openings and start times and suggests
using existing within-day scheduling practices and additional instructional techniques to
support students who need a later start time on an individual basis.

Each option presented has features that are responsive to research or public demand, but the fit of
these various puzzle pieces is imperfect:
o

o

o

o

1

Starting middle schools before high schools (Option 1 and Option 1A), before 8:00 a.m.,
allows high school students to sleep 50 minutes later and leaves elementary school
families' lives minimally impacted but conflicts with the research that shows that
pubescent middle school students sleep needs are similar to those of their high school
counterparts.
Starting all schools 25-35 minutes (Option 2 and Option 2A) later incurs no additional
costs and creates desirable start times for high school (7:50 a.m. or 8:00 a.m.) and middle
school (8:20 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.). However, Option 2 pushes the latest elementary start
time to 9:40 a.m. or 9:50 a.m., creating a need for before-school child care for more
families or, as was reported in one study reviewed by the work group, possibly setting
some elementary students up for 2-3 hours of television before school.
Starting elementary schools before middle and high schools (Option 3) is consistent with
elementary students' sleep patterns and their tendencies to be alert and active in the early
part of the day. An earlier start time for elementary schools appears to be a favorable
option for many elementary school parents, teachers, and principals. Further, Option 3, as
presented, proposes adding 30 minutes to the elementary school day and extending
needed instructional time to assist elementary students in developing foundational skills.
This brings the length of the MCPS elementary school day more in line with other
Maryland school districts. 1 Option 3, as presented, starts high schools on the second tier
and middle schools on the third tier to minimize the impact of a later start time on afterschool activities. An undesirable feature of this arrangement is that the second elementary
start time is on the fourth tier, and two elementary school start times are one and a half
hours apart may make it more difficult to coordinate planning, training, and meeting
times for staff members at elementary schools on different schedules. However, if high
schools or middle schools move to the third or fourth tiers, the school day would end at
3:35 p.m. or 4:05 p.m., cutting into coveted after-school hours and leaving some families
with the challenge of supervising elementary students after their school day ends.
Leaving the schedule the same (Option 4) and depending on existing scheduling and
instructional practices to minimize students being sleepy in first period classes causes
minimal disruption to existing patterns and, in some cases, permits some high school
students to arrive after first period. However, arriving after first period assumes that
students will provide their own transportation to school for second period, making it
difficult for students without transportation to utilize this flexibility. Further, taking full
advantage of this option requires that students and their parents possess a degree of
scheduling savvy to pursue and attain a nontraditional schedule.

Data from the Maryland State Department of Education (Appendix I) shows that MCPS had the shortest elementary school day
of all Maryland counties. Sixteen of 24 Maryland counties had elementary school days of six hours and thirty minutes or longer.

4

The ability to function on minimal sleep is often glamorized in American culture and has long
been a part of military, 2 medical, and other academic training. Advertisements for caffeinated
power drink products and other stimulants target students and young adults and further glamorize
sleep deprivation while promising consumers the ability to function at a high level on little sleep.
However, science increasingly cautions against sleep deprivation and demonstrates the impact of
sleep loss on American health, safety, productivity, and learning.
Many work group members benefited personally from the education they received reviewing the
sleep research. These studies showed that Americans, in general, are sleep deprived, and their
lack of regard for sleep carries over into their opinions about what is acceptable and normal for
students. A 2010 resolution of the American Medical Association identified insufficient sleep
and sleepiness in adolescents as a public health issue and supported education about sleep health
as a standard component of care for AMA members' adolescent patients. Similarly, the work
group concurred that MCPS students, staff members, and parents could benefit from a sleep
education campaign addressing the wide discrepancy between the hours of sleep needed versus
the hours of sleep typically achieved by students. In addition, work group members believed it
was important for students, parents, and staff to understand findings in sleep research literature
regarding the academic, psychological, physical, and public health problems associated with
sleep deprivation, as well as the impact of electronic devices on sleep habits.
As medical researchers investigate the sleep needs and sleep patterns of children and adolescents,
educational policymakers wrestle with how to best educate students and operate school systems
in ways that balance sleep research findings, the often incompatible demands of various
stakeholder groups, the instructional needs of students, and resource constraints. Whether and to
what extent school systems can provide countermeasures to a culture that places little value on
the importance of sleep have been debated for almost twenty years in Montgomery County (see
Appendix B) and throughout the United States.

History of Bell Times in MCPS
MCPS high schools currently start at 7:25 a.m.; middle schools start at 7:55 a.m.; and elementary
schools start at 8:50 a.m. or 9:15 a.m. The current schedule was implemented during the 1993-
1994 school year. Prior to 1993, school bell times were not uniform, and high school start times
ranged from 7:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. Standardizing the start times resulted in most high schools
changing by only a few minutes; only three schools shifted start times earlier by 25 to 50
minutes. MCPS's analysis of academic measures in these three schools after the schedule change
showed average class marks in academic subjects shifted in inconsistent directions after the
change in starting times. 3
Two factors contributed to the consideration of school bell times in MCPS in the late 1990s. The
first was increased awareness of sleep research and actions taken in several Minnesota school
districts to change school start times. Research generated by the University of Minnesota
studying these changes in Minnesota school districts was cited throughout national conversations
2

Two articles reviewed for this report (Carrell, Maghakian, & West, 2011; Miller, Shattuck, Matsangas, & Dyche, 2008),
showed that the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Navy Recruit Training Center have instituted recent policy changes to
allow more sleep for their students.
3
Changing Bell Times, January 1998, p. 4.

5

in the scientific, academic, and popular press about the need to start school later, particularly for
adolescents.
The second contributing factor to the consideration of school start times in MCPS was the
release of findings in 1995 from the National Education Commission on Time and Learning.
Under consideration was the length of the school day and the recently standardized MCPS bell
times. Then, as now, the elementary school day was six hours and fifteen minutes long, 4 and the
middle and high school days were six hours and forty-five minutes long. Data from the Maryland
State Department of Education in 1996 showed that MCPS had the shortest elementary school
day of all Maryland counties. Sixteen of 24 Maryland counties had elementary school days of
six hours and thirty minutes or longer.
In 1996, an MCPS survey of parents and staff was produced to receive input about the length of
the school day and bell times, among other topics. The results specific to bell times showed that
55 percent of parents of high school students, 75 percent of parents of middle school parents, and
74 percent of parents of elementary school students said that the school days began at the right
time.
From 1997 to 1999, the Board considered start times on several occasions, directing the
superintendent of schools to analyze bell schedules and explore options that would permit high
school students to start school at a later time. The first resulting report, Changing Bell Times:
Report of the Bell Times Work Group, was distributed to the Board and to the community in
January 1998. The report included 15 options for changed bell times and analyses of associated
impacts on sleep needs, safety, child care, before- and after-school activities for students and
staff, athletics, transportation, and budget implications. Also included were surveys of bell times
from other jurisdictions, trip reports of site visits to Edina, Minnesota, and a review of current
literature on sleep cycles and student achievement. Appendix B summarizes the history of
actions by the Board and the superintendent of schools with respect to high school bell times
from the 1990s to the present.
In April 1998, the Board commissioned a citizen task force to study all of the multifaceted
aspects of changes to bell times. In October 1998, the task force presented its report to the
superintendent of schools that included the recommendation to split high school schedule and
offer two starting times. In November 1998, Dr. Paul Vance, superintendent of schools,
recommended a proposal to seek one high school to pilot test a split schedule by September
1999, a recommendation that the Board adopted. The Board requested that the superintendent of
schools seek volunteer schools and provide guidance in implementing a split starting time
schedule.
The proposal for a split start time was thought to address both the needs of students who chose to
start school at a later time to get more sleep and the needs of students who might prefer the
7:25 a.m. start time--mostly likely those who participate in extracurricular activities. Under a
split schedule model, a student could select a normal start first-period class at 7:25 a.m. or opt to
select a second-period arrival. A later arriving student still could attend seven periods with an
4

There was a 5- or 10-minute secondary adjustment made to lengthen the elementary day to 6 hours and 15 minutes after the first
year (1993) when times were standardized. Prior to 1993, the length of the elementary school day and bell times were varied
from school to school and ranged from 5 hours and 55 minutes in some schools to 6 hours and 20 minutes.

6

added period at the end of the day. Skeleton bus service would have been provided during the
pilot period both for the second period arrival and for the late departure, similar to activity bus
routes provided at most schools. Additional resources for schools piloting were promised
including added administrative and needed support staff. Another added benefit was that students
who desired additional course offerings could use an eighth period under a split schedule model.
In February 1999, the Board requested that the superintendent of schools investigate the
feasibility of using private bus contractors to provide high school bus service so that high schools
could start later. In March 1999, staff reported back the Board that no vendors expressed an
interest in providing contractual service for high school transportation and that such a contract, if
awarded, would add significant costs to the MCPS transportation budget. The Board then
requested staff to reexamine the available options and further investigate the option to eliminate
school bus transportation for high school students and/or to rely on public transit as an
alternative to school buses for high schools.
In September 1999, the superintendent of schools reported back the Board that after consulting
with schools and Parent Teacher Association/Parent Student Teacher Associations at the 23
MCPS high schools, none were interested in pilot-testing a split schedule.
In November 1999, Dr. Jerry D. Weast, then superintendent of schools, presented Bell Times:
Analysis of Additional Options, to the Board. This second report, developed in consultation with
staff and representatives of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and
Ride-On, presented eight options, including the options requested earlier by the Board to assess
eliminating high school buses and using public transit in addition to or in lieu of school buses.
Based on the review of options available and the lack of evidence that changing high school bell
times would result in improved student academic performance, Dr. Weast did not recommend
adoption of any of the options presented.
In October 2012, Montgomery County citizens developed an online petition to express support
for a later high school start time. The online petition requested that the Board recognize the
research on teenage sleep needs and academic achievement and set a goal to start high schools
after 8:15 a.m.
During Public Comments at the December 11, 2012, meeting of the Board, three parents, three
sleep experts, and two students testified regarding their desire for later high school start times.
In December 2012, Dr. Starr directed staff to convene a work group--including community
stakeholders--to develop options to address students' needs for more sleep, and in particular, to
consider adjustments to school start times, often referred to as "bell times."
By January 5, 2013, ten thousand one hundred and sixty-nine online signatures had been
gathered on the online petition to express support for a later high school start time. The majority
of signatures indicated Montgomery County residency. It was not possible to verify how many of
the signatures represented parents of MCPS students.

7

2013 MCPS Bell Times Work Group
Work Group Membership
The 2013 High School Bell Times Work Group was convened in January 2013 under the
leadership of Mr. John Matthews, project manager and former MCPS director of transportation.
The group met from January until July 2013. The work group was charged by Dr. Starr with
presenting options for bell times based upon their review of current research, current trends in
other school districts, previous reports and work in MCPS, and conducting an analysis of the
impact of school start times on high school students (see Appendix A). The work of the group
was to include analysis of past efforts, analysis of similar efforts in other jurisdictions, input
from stakeholders and other experts, and a review of relevant research. Dr. Starr instructed the
group not to exclude options based on cost or contractual implications. The group was not tasked
with making recommendations, but rather, its task was to present options for further
consideration by the superintendent of schools and the Board.
The work group comprised parents, middle and high school students, principals and former
principals, and other MCPS staff members responsible for transportation, special education,
community outreach, applied research, budget, and policy. Mr. Matthews brought to the work
group his thorough knowledge of the history of bell times in MCPS, having participated in
previous work in the late 1990s and having traveled to school districts in Minnesota and
Colorado to consult with districts who implemented later high school start time schedules.
Presentations by Local Experts
The work group heard presentations by the following local experts in the fields of sleep research
and school start time research and representatives from local school districts with later high
school start times:
o
o
o
o
o

Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Children's
National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Dr. Peter Hinrichs, associate professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown
University, Washington, DC
Dr. Susan G. Robinson, former assistant superintendent, Information Services, Arlington
Public Schools, Arlington, VA
Mr. Fred Evans, former MCPS high school principal and former director of secondary
education, Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun, VA
Dr. Kecia Addison-Scott, supervisor of applied research, OSA, MCPS

A summary of the key findings presented by each speaker is summarized in Appendix C.
Collection of Data by the Work Group
The work group commissioned a survey of high school students and parents of high school
students by OSA. While consultation with a range of stakeholder groups is important before any

8

action can be considered to change the school day for thousands of students, the work group
thought it was important to approach their task in the following logical sequence of steps:
o
o
o

Survey the primary intended beneficiaries first (high school students and high school
parents) to determine the level of interest in a later start time.
Develop a limited and specific set of most acceptable bell schedule options for the final
report.
Based on survey results, develop an outreach plan to seek input from stakeholder subgroups on specific and well-defined options.

The work group considered high school students and their parents to be the primary intended
beneficiaries of any changes to bell schedules that might occur. To begin the work, the group
decided it was necessary to first determine the interests and issues of these two groups before
reaching out to any other stakeholder groups. This should in no way be interpreted to suggest
input from high school staff or middle and elementary school stakeholder groups--as well as
many others--should not be considered fully.
A thorough description of the survey methodology, survey instruments, and findings is
summarized in Appendices D-F. Further, a plan for outreach to additional stakeholder groups is
described below, in the section titled Community Assessment Strategy.
Throughout the process, work group members were tasked with conducting conversations with
colleagues, peers, and stakeholders among their respective constituencies to collect feedback on
issues related to changing bell times. These insights were discussed at the beginning of every
work group meeting.
Student members of the Bell Times Work Group should be commended for the initiative they
demonstrated in developing and administering their own survey to middle and high school
student government representatives. Their outreach to high school students participating in the
Montgomery County Regional (MCR) Student Government Association General Assembly and
middle school students participating in the Montgomery County Junior Council (MCJC) General
Assembly was helpful to the work group in gauging relative levels of student interest in later bell
times and is similar in several respects to findings from the survey developed by OSA.

Findings: Summary of the Research Since 1998
Predictors of School Start Times
A common transportation strategy used by more densely populated districts with large
enrollments is to stagger school start times, reusing the same school buses to transport students at
each start time. Each start time is commonly referred to as a "tier." As a large, metropolitan
school district, MCPS has four start times and is referred to as a "four-tier" system.
Less densely populated areas often have only one- or two-tier structures because of the size of
attendance areas and the distance buses must travel to pick up students. In these areas, age
groups are mixed with younger and older students riding together. Such districts are more likely

9

to begin schools later, usually between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. to allow for ride times of an hour or
longer.
A 2005 survey of school districts nationwide 5 showed factors associated with earlier start times
to include larger enrollments, more affluent communities, urban/inner city environments, and a
larger number of bus tiers (as compared to systems with no buses or one tier only). Wolfson and
Carskadon found that larger high schools started, on average, 15 minutes earlier than smaller
high schools, and more affluent high schools started 12 minutes earlier than less affluent high
schools. Schools in districts with two or three bus tiers started earlier than districts with no buses
or one tier only. Wolfson and Carskadon's survey did not include a choice for districts with four
tiers, as is the case with MCPS.
MCPS is similar to other school districts with large student enrollments, similar demographics,
and three or more bus tiers, that start earlier than smaller districts with a more rural profile and
fewer bus tiers.
During the 2001-2002 school year, Wolfson and
Carskadon found that nationally, the average high
school start time was 7:54 a.m. with most high
school starting between 7:30 and 8:20 a.m. MCPS's
7:25 a.m. high school start time is at the earlier end
of the national profile. Edwards 6 also found the
national median start time for middle schools was
8:00 a.m., with roughly 55 percent of middle
schools starting between 7:45 and 8:30 a.m.

Nationally, Wolfson and Carskadon
found, during the 2001-2002
school year, the average high
school start time was 7:54 a.m.
with most high school starting
between 7:30 and 8:20 a.m.

1997 Survey of 25 Largest School Districts
Previous MCPS research also benchmarked MCPS start times against the start times in the 25
largest school districts in the United States. In 1997, the earliest high school start times in
benchmarking districts 7 ranged from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (Appendix G). With its 7:25 a.m.
high school start time, MCPS was among the approximately one-third of large school districts
starting high schools before 7:30 a.m.

5

Wolfson & Carskadon, 2005
Edwards, 2012
7
Many districts have multiple start times for high schools, sometimes as much as one and a half hours apart.
6

10

High School Start Times in 25 Largest Districts
9
7:30-7:44

8

8:00-8:14

6
7:15-7:29

5
4
3
2
1

7:00-7:14
MCPS: 7:25

Number of School Districts

7

7:45-7:59

0

11

8:15-8:29

8:30-8:44

Sleep Research
There is growing awareness that sleep needs vary over the lifecycle 8 and that insufficient sleep
contributes to a range of physical, psychological, and public safety problems. Specifically,
research shows that insufficient sleep in adolescents is associated with higher rates of obesity; 9
increased incidences of depression; 10 delayed reward-related brain function and lower levels of
motivation; 11 lowered ability to complete abstract and complex tasks; 12 lower levels of
attentiveness; 13 and increased numbers of traffic accidents. 14
Adolescent Sleep Needs
As children enter puberty, they experience changes in two of the body's systems that interact to
coordinate the sleep/wake cycle. 15 These systems are known as the circadian timing system and
the homeostatic sleep system. The circadian timing system is a process that helps coordinate and
organize regulatory mechanisms such as feeding, reproduction, and the sleep/wake cycle. These
patterns of coordination, or circadian rhythms, are self-sustained and oscillate over a 24-hour
time period. Though the circadian timing system oscillates with a time period slightly different
than the normal 24-hour day, it synchronizes to the 24-hour day primarily by the daily variation
of daylight and darkness. 16 The homeostatic sleep system is described as a process which
consists of the pressure to sleep. The longer one is awake, the pressure to sleep increases. And
conversely, the longer one is asleep, the pressure to sleep decreases. During puberty,
developmental changes in the two systems result in sleep times being shifted later. 17
Adolescents generally need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of
sleep per night. 18 During puberty, however,
developmental changes in the circadian timing
system and the homeostatic sleep system result in a
later shift in the time adolescents can fall asleep.
This shift to later bedtimes--combined with early
high school start times--results in adolescents
reporting that they are not getting enough sleep. In
a 2006 poll conducted by the National Sleep
Foundation (NSF), adolescents reported sleeping
7.6 hours on school nights. 19 Compared to the
hours of sleep adolescents generally need, this
represents a sleep gap of between 0.9 and 1.9 hours.
8

Adolescents generally need
8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per
night. During puberty, however,
developmental changes in the
circadian timing system and the
homeostatic sleep system result
in a later shift in the time
adolescents can fall asleep.

Crowley, Acebo, & Carskadon 2007
Hitze et al., 2009; Chen, Beydoun, & Wang, 2008; Knutson, 2005; Al-Disi et al., 2010
10
Killgore et al., 2008; Dagys et al., 2012; Fredriksen et al., 2004; Moore et al., 2009
11
Holm et al., 2009; Owens, Belon, & Moss, 2010
12
Kopasz et al., 2010; Curcio, Ferrara, & Gennaro, 2006
13
Kim et al., 2011; Beebe et al., 2008
14
Hutchens et al., 2008; Danner & Phillips, 2008
15
Crowley, Acebo, & Carskadon, 2007
16
Czeisler et al., 1981
17
Carskadon et al., 1997
18
Carskadon et al., 1980
19
National Sleep Foundation, 2006
9

12

Additionally, more than 50 percent of teenagers who responded to the poll reported they feel
sleepy during the day; more than 50 percent reporting driving sleepy in the past year; and only
9 percent of high school students reported getting an adequate amount of nightly sleep (i.e.,
greater than or equal to nine hours per night).
Obesity
Insufficient sleep is associated with higher rates of poor dietary habits and obesity. 20
Specifically, researchers have found that adolescents who sleep for short periods of time (i.e.,
less than 9 hours per day) are more likely to have higher body mass index standard deviation
scores (BMI SDS) than adolescents who sleep 9 hours per day. 21 Additionally, the duration and
quality of sleep have been found to influence diet composition with long and uninterrupted sleep
being associated with a better diet. 22 In fact, a meta-analysis of sleep duration and obesity
research published between January 1980 and May 2007 23 found that children with shorter sleep
duration had a 58 percent higher risk of obesity than children with longer sleep duration, and
with each hour increase in sleep, the risk of obesity decreased by an average of
9 percent.
Psychological Problems
In addition to the association between sleep duration and obesity, a lack of sleep also has been
shown to be related to a number of psychological problems. These problems include, but are not
limited to: depression; 24 delayed reward-related brain function and lower levels of motivation;25
lowered ability to complete abstract and complex tasks; 26 lowered amounts of working memory
and memory consolidation; 27 and lower levels of attentiveness. 28 Regarding depression,
adolescents who receive 6.5 hours or less of sleep report
decreased positive affect than when rested (receiving 8.5 hours
Sleep facilitates
of sleep). 29 This was the case for both adolescents who consider
working memory,
themselves morning persons and those who consider
themselves evening persons. Additionally, sleep deprivation
memory
also has been shown to be associated with reduced self-regard,
consolidation, and
reduced empathy towards others, and reduced impulse
30
control.
performance in
Important brain functions that are part of the learning process
are reward-related brain function, motivation, the ability to
complete abstract and complex tasks, working memory and
memory consolidation, and attentiveness. Similar to the
20

abstract and complex
tasks involving higher
brain functions.

Hitze et al., 2009; Knutson, 2005; Chen, Beydoun, & Wang, 2008; Al-Disi et al., 2010
Hitze et al., 2009
22
Al-Disi et al, 2010
23
Chen, Beydoun, & Wang, 2008
24
Killgore et al., 2008; Dagys et al., 2012; Fredriksen, Rhodes, Reddy, & Way, 2004; Moore, 2009
25
Killgore et al., 2008; Holm et al., 2009; Owens, Belon, & Moss, 2010
26
Kopasz et al., 2010; Curcio, Ferrara, & Gennaro, 2006
27
Kopasz et al., 2010
28
Kim et al., 2011; Beebe et al., 2008
29
Dagys et al., 2012
30
Killgore et al., 2008
21

13

association between depression and sleep deprivation, each of these brain functions has been
shown to be affected negatively by inadequate amounts of sleep. A review of the literature
published between 1996 and 2008 using the keywords "sleep," memory," "learn," "child",
"adolescents," and "teenager" found that most research supports the hypothesis that sleep
facilitates working memory, memory consolidation, and performance in abstract and complex
tasks involving higher brain functions. 31 Additional research has suggested that adolescents who
sleep for shorter periods of time are less attentive 32 and less responsive to reward-related brain
function, thus require more exciting rewards. 33 This can lead to adolescents being difficult to
motivate in the classroom and higher levels of participation in risk-taking/risky behaviors both in
and out of school. In fact, a study of one Rhode Island high school 34 suggests that even an
additional 30 minutes of sleep can improve adolescents' self-reported motivation and alertness.
Traffic Accidents
Through a nationally representative telephone survey of United States drivers ages 14 to 22,
researchers found that aside from length of licensure, only driving alone while drowsy and being
a smoker were associated with having been involved in a traffic collision. 35 These results held
true even after controlling for gender, average hours driven per week, urban vs. suburban
driving, sensation-seeking driving, and hours slept per night.
School Start Time Research
Outcomes of Changing Start Times
The following articles examined outcomes associated with school districts that changed school
start times. To be included in this group of articles, the subject of the study needed to be a school
system that shifted start times later, and there had to be some basis of comparison: either
outcome data from a similar school district that did not make the change, or outcome data
gathered from the same district before and after the schedule change. Few studies met these
search criteria. The search yielded only one study involving a school district of comparable size
to MCPS and only one systemwide study that demonstrated academic gains associated with later
start times. 36 Two studies showed lowered teen driving car crash rates during morning school
commute time, and three studies showed students obtained more sleep with later start times. 37
Edwards' 2012 study 38 of Wake County, NC (WCPSS) schools compared middle schools within
the same district with varying start times. WCPSS enrollment was 120,504 in 2005-2006.
31

Kopasz et al., 2010
Beebe et al., 2008
33
Holm et al., 2009
34
Owens, Belon, & Moss, 2010
35
Hutchens, Senserrick, Jamieson, Romer, & Winston, 2008
36
While not focused on a K-12 school district, a related study of undergraduates at the United States Air Force Academy
(Carrell, Maghakian, & West, 2011) showed improved academic achievement among first-year students associated with delay
in start time from 7:00 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. A similar study of recruits at the U.S. Navy's Recruit Training Command (Miller,
Shattuck, Matsangas, & Dyche, 2008) showed that recruits who received 8 hours of sleep performed better than recruits
receiving 6 hours of sleep on an academic performance assessment.
37
However, only one of the three articles focused on a school district. The other two studied single schools.
38
Edwards, 2012
32

14

The district was characterized as mostly urban and suburban with a three-tier bus structure.
Increased enrollment during a six-year period from 1998-1999 to 2005-2006 resulted in new
schools opening and several changes in start times, allowing Edwards to measure variation in
academic performance and school start times within and across WCPSS schools. Edwards found
gains in mathematics and reading test scores associated with later start times. Further analyses
revealed larger positive effects for students on the lower end of the distribution of test scores,
and, consistent with research on the sleep needs of pubescent adolescents, a delayed start time
had a positive effect on achievement for 13- and 14-year olds but no effect for 11- and 12-year
olds.
Hinrichs 39 compared Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and St. Paul Public Schools, two
adjacent, demographically similar districts, to assess the relationship between later start time and
ACT scores. MPS high schools shifted start times from 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. in 1996. St. Paul
high schools started at 7:30 a.m. 40 MPS enrollment was 32,236 in 2012, compared to St. Paul's
enrollment of 39,000. His analysis of data from 1993-1994 to 2001-2002 found no effect of
school starting times on achievement or attendance. He also assessed statewide, standardized test
scores from Kansas and Virginia and similarly found no relationship.
A related 2002 study by Walstrom 41 of the Minneapolis Public Schools that compared outcomes
three years before and three years after the schedule change similarly found no effect on grades.
A 2005 study 42 of nearby Arlington Public Schools (APS) evaluated middle and high school
outcomes comparing data from 2001-2002, the first year APS implemented later high school
start times (2001-2002), to the prior year (2000-2001). High school teachers and students
reported increased participation in first period classes after high school start times shifted
45 minutes later, from 7:34 a.m. to 8:19 a.m. Conversely, middle school teachers and students
reported decreased participation in first period classes after middle school start times shifted
20 minutes earlier, from 8:10 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. There was no effect on high school grades, and
study design concerns made it difficult to interpret differences in middle school grades. Thirtysix percent of high school students reported there was no difference in their participation in
extracurricular activities, and 29 percent reported they were participating more. Forty-four
percent of high school students reported they liked the adjusted start time, and
21 percent said it made no difference. Forty-two percent of middle student reported they did not
like the adjusted start time, and 28 percent said it made no difference.
Although not a study of a school system, a 2007 comparison of two urban New England middle
schools by Wolfson et al 43 showed that eighth grade students who started school at 8:37 a.m.
performed better on academic measures than students who started at 7:15 a.m. It is interesting to
note that there were no differences in academic performance for seventh graders, similar to
Edwards' finding that a later start positively impacted 13- and 14-year olds, but not 11- and
12-year olds.
39

Hinrichs, 2010
St. Paul schools adjusted start times in 2011-2012 as follows to shift schools to a three-tier system to save transportation costs
and achieve other system goals: high school start times were unchanged at 7:30 a.m.; middle schools start times were moved
30-90 minutes earlier to place all middle schools on the same 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. schedule as high schools; elementary school
start times were adjusted up to 60 minutes earlier or later to start all elementary schools at 8:30, 8:35, 9:30, or 9:35 a.m.
41
Walstrom, 2002
42
Arlington Public Schools, 2005
43
Wolfson, Spaulding, Dandrow, & Baroni, 2007
40

15

A 2011 study44 of adjacent, demographically similar cities showed that the teenage driving crash
rate during morning school commute time was higher in Virginia Beach, VA, where high schools
started at 7:20 a.m. or 7:25 a.m., compared to Chesapeake, VA where high schools started at
8:40 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. Chesapeake Public Schools enrollment was 39,630 in 2013, compared to
Virginia Beach Public School's enrollment, which was 68,408 in the same year.
As seen with the shift in high school start times and adolescents' self-reported motivation and
alertness, 45 a one-hour delay in high school start times in Lexington, Kentucky 46 was associated
with a 16.5 percent decrease in automobile collision rates for high school-aged drivers across the
county. This pre-/post-study assessed traffic data for 17- and 18-year olds two years before and
two years after a change in start times in Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, KY.
Fayette County changed high school start times from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in 1998. This
decrease in collisions was observed at the same time automobile collision rates for high schoolaged drivers increased by 7.8 percent across Kentucky.
Research also shows a positive relationship between a delayed start times result and student
sleep. A 2002 47 study of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and a matched school district
showed that MPS students slept 46 minutes longer than students in a comparable district with an
earlier start time. When students in the same districts were surveyed three years later, students in
the later start time group slept 58 minutes
longer.
Families were differentially impacted
While its sample is limited to a single school,
a 2010 study by Owens et al 48 showed that
when start times were delayed from 8:00 a.m.
to 8:30 a.m. at an independent high school in
Rhode Island, students slept 45 minutes
longer. A similar 2008 study by Htwe et al 49
of 259 students at a single high school
showed that when start times were delayed
by 40 minutes, from 7:35 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.,
students slept 33 minutes longer, on average.
Impact on Family
A 1999 study50 of 18 Minnesota school
districts documented impacts of changing
school start times on family life.

by school start time changes,
depending on their level of affluence.
While more affluent families reported
having to change job schedules, less
affluent families reported having less
flexibility in their jobs, often having
to change jobs entirely to meet the
demands of the new schedules. Less
affluent families were more likely to
report concerns about transportation
and childcare.

44

Vorona et al,, 2011
Owens, Belon, & Moss, 2010
46
Danner & Phillips, 2008
47
Wahlstrom, 2002
48
Owens, Belon, & Moss, 2010
49
Htwe, Cuzzone, M. O'Malley, & E. O'Malley, 2008. Available documentation does not provide identifying information about
the high school that is the subject of the study, except to say that the enrollment of the high school was 977 in 2004.
50
Wrobel, 1999
45

16

Ten thousand study participants included students, parents, school staff members, and key
community stakeholders.
Wrobel found that families were differentially impacted by school start time change, depending
on their level of affluence. While more affluent families reported having to change job schedules,
less affluent families reported having less flexibility in their jobs, often having to change jobs
entirely to meet the demands of the new schedules. Less affluent families also were more likely
to report concerns about transportation and childcare. Specifically, less affluent families were
more likely to report limited transportation alternatives and "non-existent" child-care options that
were affordable and reliable. By comparison, more affluent families were more likely to report
that their primary concern about school start times was what was in the best interest of students.
Families' ability to adjust work and family needs to new schedule demands also were positively
impacted by sufficient forewarning about the schedule change. Among the findings were
recommendations about the policy process of instituting change. Wrobel reports that
communities that had ample warning about impending changes in start time schedules had less
difficulty adjusting. Wrobel specifically recommends not making a quick change. Similarly,
community stakeholders who described the policy process as open and sensitive to their needs
were able to make more informed decisions and adjust better to the change in schedule.
Students who reported having discussed sleep and the impacts of sleep on school performance in
school were better prepared for the schedule change, reportedly making better decisions about
sleep habits and time management. Students who reported little involvement in or preparation for
the change in start time were more likely to report simply staying up later as a result of the later
start times.
Families whose children attended schools that moved to later elementary start times reported the
negative impact of adding morning child care and the resulting additional transition in the
morning from home to day care to school. Similarly, families reported elementary students
viewing two or three hours of television before school. Teachers reported later elementary
schedules took away optimum hours of elementary students' prime learning time early in the
day.
Families of special needs students reported mixed effects. Parents of students with substantial
needs for personal care reported advantages to a later start in the morning, while teachers
reported that behavior of some students with special needs deteriorated in the later afternoon
hours.
MCPS Research: 2013 Survey of High School Start Times
In spring 2013, OSA surveyed high school students and parents of high school students. The
findings are summarized below, and a complete report of the methodology, survey instruments,
and findings are included in Appendices D-F.
The 2013 survey included a random sample of 4,335 parents of MCPS students in Grades 9-11.
The response rate for the parent survey was 23 percent. A sample was selected of 150 high
school classes across 25 MCPS high schools, resulting in feedback from 3,034 students in
17

Grades 9-11. Ninety-one percent of classes sampled responded..
Seventy percent of parents who responded reported that high school started "too early," and
69 percent preferred high school start later, either 30 minutes or one hour. (See the inset below to
compare 2013 findings to 1996 findings.) Twenty-eight percent of parents reported start times
should remain the same, and 3 percent reported no preference. Sixty-three percent of high school
students surveyed reported high school started "too early," and 54 percent indicated they wanted
high school to start later, either by 30 minutes or one hour. Thirty-eight percent of students
reported start times should stay the same, and 8 percent reported no preference.
Detailed in the findings are students'
and parents' perceptions of benefits
and drawbacks to starting school
The 1996 MCPS School Calendar Survey was later, students' self-reports about the
conducted shortly after MCPS moved to the current amount of sleep they receive each
standardized start schedule for all high schools. night, as well as students'
Parents of high school, middle school, and elementary perceptions of the degree to which
students assessed school start times as follows:
they sleep in class. When asked to
rate eight categories of possible
o High school parents reported high school started impacts to family life such as child
"too early" (45 percent) or "at the right time" (55 care, employment, or transportation,
percent)
44 percent of parents reported a later
o Middle school parents reported middle school bell time would have a positive
started "too early" (24 percent), "at the right time" impact on the safety of their child,
(75 percent), or "too late" (1 percent)
and approximately one-half or more
o Elementary school parents reported elementary responded that a later bell time
school started "too early" (2 percent), "at the right would have no impact on the
remaining categories: child care
time" (74 percent), or "too late" (24 percent)
before or after school (86 percent
and 84 percent, respectively), the
employment schedule for their child (74 percent), and after-school activities/clubs or
practices/events (52 percent and 53 percent, respectively).
Comparison to 1996

Students were asked to respond to a number of positive and negative statements about how a
later start time would be better for them or a problem for them. On the positive side, 85 percent
responded "I will get more sleep," but problems students anticipated were that it would be harder
for them to get a job after school (36 percent), participate in after-school activities/clubs
(31 percent), or participate in athletic practices/events (30 percent).
Students were asked to indicate the average number of hours of sleep they get a night. Based on
responses, students sleep about 7 hours or less each night. Students were asked to identify how
frequently they fell asleep or lost focus in their first or second period class in the past month.
About one third of respondents reported "2-4 days per week" and 30 percent reported "every
day."

18

Student Surveys
Two surveys designed by student members of the work group polled middle and high school
student government representatives. The surveys were administered to high school MCR
representatives and to middle school MCJC representatives at their respective general assembly
meetings. Their findings showed that MCR representatives reported sleeping less than the
national average and slightly less than the MCPS average. Similar to OSA's findings from
MCPS high school students generally, 38 percent of MCR respondents reported dozing off or
losing focus in first or second period classes 2-4 times a week, and 28 percent reported dozing
off every day. MCR representatives were about as likely to report wanting a later start time as the
general MCPS high school student population.
Results from 60 MCR representatives
showed 51 percent thought the 7:25 a.m. Sixty percent of MCR representatives
start time was too early, and 43 percent reported that they would be interested
thought the bell time should change. MCR in an option that would allow them to
respondents reported sleeping 6 hours and
15 minutes, on average; 66 percent arrive later and take one or two of their
reported dozing off in class at least twice a classes online.
week; and 67 percent reported that if start
times were moved later, they would go to sleep at the same time. Sixty percent of MCR
representatives responding to the survey reported that they would be interested in an option that
would allow them to arrive later and take one or two of their classes online.
Results from 70 MCJC representatives--of which 60 percent were in Grade 8--showed that they
sleep 6 hours 48 minutes on average. Sixty percent thought the 7:55 a.m. middle school start
time was too early. Fifty-seven percent reported that if start times were moved later, they would
go to sleep at the same time. Forty-three percent of MCJC respondents reported dozing off or
losing focus in first or second period classes 2-4 times a week, and 22 percent reported dozing
off every day.
Sleep in the News
Public awareness of sleep needs has been informed by the popular press and recent public
statements of organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA). For example, a
2010 AMA resolution identified insufficient sleep and sleepiness in adolescents as a public
health issue and supported education about sleep health as a standard component of care for
adolescent patients. In the period during which the 2013 MCPS Bell Times Work Group was
convened, articles such as the following appeared in the popular press:
o
o

A 2013 Newsweek article notes similarities between sleep disorders and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and describes one physician's success negating patients'
ADHD symptoms by treating them for lost sleep.
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reported out a set of findings from the Trends
in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International
Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) study conducted by Boston College. The international
comparison study found the United States to have the highest numbers of sleep-deprived
19

o

9- and 10-year olds and 13- and 14-year olds. Comparisons of sleep habits and test results
showed that students who obtained more sleep achieved higher on mathematics, science,
and reading tests. The lack of sleep in affluent countries like the United States and Saudi
Arabia was attributed, in part, to students having cell phones and tablets and the impact
of the light from the screens on their ability to fall asleep.
The Huffington Post updates its sleep web page daily with emerging research--including
a recent article from the Centers for Disease Control, sleep hygiene advice, and blogs by
researchers from such institutions as the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and
Research.

20

Options and Implications
Bell Times Work Group Process
The following lists describe what the work group considered "must haves" and "deal breakers"
for any option under review:
Must haves
o Must address needs of primary stakeholders
o Must have "sleep education"/health education campaign for students, parents, and staff
o Benefits must be clear and unassailable
o Must be the right thing to do (willing to consider costs for options that will produce real
benefits)
o Must be a true net gain (described in more detail below)
Deal breakers
o May not be too costly (but would consider a plan that phases in a change, thereby
spreading increased costs over multiple years)
o Is not the right thing to do for students
o Is not focused on student achievement
o Adversely affects non-affluent students/families
o Creates inappropriate start times for any student
o Has a significant negative impact on non-school activities/extracurricular activities
Who is a primary stakeholder? While the
current 7:25 a.m. start time for high school The group was unanimous in their
students provided impetus for the work
concern for students at any school level
group to convene, middle school students
and elementary students and their families travelling to or from school in the dark.
clearly are stakeholders who would be
impacted by any change to the school start Similar concern was expressed for any
time schedules. The group was unanimous schedule change option that would
in their concern for students at any school
level traveling to or from school in the dark. delay elementary school start times in
Similar concern was expressed for any such a way that created unintended
schedule change option that would delay
elementary school start times in such a way negative consequences such as creating
that
created
unintended
negative a need for morning child care or
consequences such as creating a need for
morning child care or depriving students depriving students and teachers of key
and teachers of key morning hours when morning
hours when elementary
elementary students are most awake and
attentive for learning. There was general students are most awake and attentive
agreement that earlier start times for for learning.
elementary schools would be beneficial to
elementary students. A related discussion of the length of the elementary school day is described
below in Table 1: Options for Consideration.
21

Group members were similarly unanimous in their concern for equity and any unintended
negative consequences that could adversely affect non-affluent families more than other families.
Research on impacts of changing school start times on families 51 summarized above describes
the kinds of issues that tend to vary with levels of affluence, such as flexibility of work and the
availability of transportation and child care.
The work group encountered disagreements primarily in the area of what types of evidence from
the research were considered sufficiently compelling to justify changes to school start times, with
resulting costs and impacts on other stakeholders. The group did not reach agreement on what it
considered "clear and unassailable benefits." The large body of research reviewed showed
numerous benefits of sleep and numerous psychological, physical, and public health problems
associated with sleep deprivation. However, some group members interpreted "clear and
unassailable benefits" to mean only gains in academic achievement that could be shown to result
directly from starting high school later. The current body of research did not appear to
conclusively demonstrate that changing start times would result in academic outcome gains. The
lack of substantive gains in grades or test scores led many group members to conclude that
available research was not sufficiently compelling to support changing the bell time schedule.
While most group members focused on academic benefits, a few members focused on more
broad outcomes such as more sleep for high school students and the associated psychological,
physical, and public health benefits. As a whole, the group acknowledged the value of these
benefits. The group used the term "true net gain" to weigh the various benefits and various
costs--to think through the possible benefits to students at all levels against the financial impact
on the operating budget and the disruption and adjustments associated with widespread schedule
changes at all school levels. For example, would changing the high school schedule by
30 minutes or one hour produce enough of a difference in high school students' sleep to end
sleep deprivation or only partially mitigate it? Would sizable academic gains result, or would
they be only minimal, if at all? Could other benefits result for elementary or middle school
students that would make disruption of school schedules at all levels appealing to stakeholders at
those levels? Would they be worth the costs?
The following options presented represent the outcome of work group deliberations, but no
single option represents group consensus. Expected benefits associated with each option as well
as concerns expressed about each option are presented.
Sleep Education Campaign
Presentations by local experts on sleep needs were compelling to many group members, and
consensus emerged that MCPS should conduct a sleep education campaign for students, parents,
and staff. The American Medical Association passed a similar resolution in 2010 to include sleep
hygiene education in members' care of adolescent patients. Evidence presented to the work
group about the wide discrepancy between the hours of sleep needed versus the hours of sleep
typically achieved by students, the impact of electronic devices on sleep habits, and other
important findings in the sleep research literature regarding the academic, psychological,
physical, and public safety problems associated with sleep deprivation should be shared with the
51

Wrobel, 2005

22

general public. However, sleep experts argue that sleep education alone will not resolve the sleep
deficit experienced by high school students who need to rise early. To obtain the recommended
nine hours of sleep, a high school student who needs to rise at 5:30 a.m. would need to be asleep
by 8:30 p.m., which is unlikely. Similarly, to best align with the biological clock of adolescents,
students would need to sleep from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and arrive at high schools around
9:00 a.m.
During the course of the work group meetings, many articles appeared in the news about sleep
and are summarized above. The volume of coverage in the popular press demonstrates the
emerging awareness of the science of sleep. The work group became attuned to these articles
which often talked about adult and child sleep needs, sleep deprivation, and its impact on longterm health outcomes which included increased hypertension, obesity, and other health
impairments. These studies showed that Americans in general are sleep deprived. This lack of
regard for sleep needs carried over into Americans' opinions about what they value about
children's sleep and what they consider acceptable and normal for students. The work group
agreed that a holistic approach including education on sleep for students and adults was a
worthwhile endeavor.
Current Schedule
The current bell times schedule for MCPS is as follows:
Level
High School (HS)
Middle School (MS)
Elementary School Tier 1 (ES1)
Elementary School Tier 2 (ES2)

Time
7:25 a.m.-2:10 p.m.
7:55 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
8:50 a.m.-3:05 p.m.
9:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Length of Day
6 hours, 45 minutes
6 hours, 45 minutes
6 hours, 15 minutes
6 hours, 15 minutes

Schedule Changes
The group considered schedule configurations and other strategies to address insufficient sleep in
teens. Table 1 summarizes proposed schedules and anticipated benefits and key concerns.
Appendix H provides additional information on cost calculations.

23

Table 1: Options for Consideration
OPTION

OPTION DESCRIPTION
o
o

SCHEDULE

1A

o
o
o

(Modification of Option #1)
Switch order of high schools and middle schools
Start middle schools 10 minutes earlier and high schools 50
minutes later (as in Option 1)
Lengthen elementary instructional day by 20 minutes; leave
elementary start time unchanged

7:45-2:30

HS

8:15-3:00

ES1

9:00-3:25
9:25-3:50

MS

7:45-2:30

HS

8:15-3:00

ES1

8:50-3:25

ES2

o

Switch order of high schools and middle schools
Start middle schools 10 minutes earlier and high schools 50
minutes later
Lengthen elementary instructional day by 10 minutes and
start 10 minutes later

MS

ES2

1

9:15-3:50

Discussion of Options 1 and 1A: Starting middle schools before high schools, before 8:00 a.m.,
allows high school students to start school 50 minutes later and leaves elementary school families'
lives minimally impacted. However, research shows the sleep needs of pubescent middle school
students are similar to those of their high school counterparts, and the 7:45 a.m. start time would not be
optimal for older middle school students. The delayed start for elementary schools in option 1 further
exacerbates the already late beginning of their day.
Estimated Costs: Option 1: $9,054,495 (transportation) + $260,000 (utilities) = $9,314,495
Option 1A: $11,500,301 (transportation) + $515,000 (utilities) = $12,015,301
(See Appendix H for additional information on cost calculations)
OPTION

2

OPTION DESCRIPTION
o
o

SCHEDULE
8:00-2:45
8:30-3:15

ES1

9:25-3:40

ES2

24

HS
MS

All start times are moved 35 minutes later
Order and length of day remain the same

9:50-4:05

2A

(Modification of Option # 2)
HS
MS

8:20-3:05
9:15-3:30

ES2

All start times are moved 25 minutes later
Order and length of day remain the same

7:50-2:35

ES1

o
o

9:40-3:55

Discussion of Options 2 and 2A: Starting all schools 25-35 minutes later incurs no additional costs
and creates more desirable start times for high school (7:50 a.m. or 8:00 a.m.) and middle school
(8:20 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.). However, Option 2 pushes the latest elementary start time to 9:40 a.m. or
9:50 a.m., possibly creating an increased need for before school child care for some families or, as was
reported in one study reviewed by the work group, setting some elementary students up for 2-3 hours
of television before school. In addition, the dismissal time for ES2 could result in some students getting
off the bus close to sunset during winter months (typically 4:45 p.m. in late December).
Estimated Costs: $0 (no transportation impact/no utilities impact)
OPTION

3

OPTION DESCRIPTION
o

o
o
o

52

Extend the elementary day by 30 minutes making the day six
hours and forty-five minutes long for all levels (this provides
for interchangeable order 52 of start times and any range of
first start and last end times)
Switch the order of start times as follows: ES1, HS, MS,
ES2
High schools and middle schools start 55 minutes later
ES1 starts 1 hour earlier, and ES2 starts
5 minutes later

SCHEDULE
ES1

7:50-2:35

HS

8:20-3:05

MS

8:50-3:35

ES2

9:20-4:05

One of the factors that limits MCPS's flexibility to change the opening order of schools is the difference in the length of the
school day for elementary (6 hours 15 minutes) versus middle and high schools (6 hours 45 minutes). Under the existing bell
schedules, schools end roughly 30 minutes apart. But because the length of school day is not uniform, start times are not all
30 minutes apart. While there is a 30-minute gap between middle and high school start times, there is a 55-minute gap between
the middle school start time and the first elementary start time. Equalizing the length of the school day for all levels makes
changing the order less problematic from a transportation scheduling perspective.

25

Discussion of Option 3: Starting elementary schools before middle and high schools is consistent with
elementary students' sleep patterns and their tendencies to be alert and active in the early part of the
day. An earlier start time for elementary schools appears to be a favorable option for many elementary
school parents, teachers, and principals. Further, Option 3, as presented, proposes adding 30 minutes to
the elementary school day and extending needed instructional time to assist elementary students in
developing foundational skills. This brings the length of the MCPS elementary school day more in line
with other Maryland school districts. 53 Option 3, as presented, starts high schools on the second tier
and middle schools on the third tier to minimize the impact to after school activities. An undesirable
feature of this arrangement is that the second elementary start time is on the fourth tier, and two
elementary start times one and a half hours apart may make it more difficult to coordinate planning,
training, and meeting times for staff members at elementary schools on different schedules. However,
if high schools or middle schools move to the third or fourth tiers, the school day would end at
3:35 p.m. or 4:05 p.m., cutting into coveted after-school hours and leaving some families with the
challenge of supervising elementary students after their school day ends, and several months of the
year some elementary students may return home after sunset.
Estimated Costs: TBD (more detail needed to compute transportation costs) + $775,000 (utilities)
OPTION

4

OPTION DESCRIPTION
Maintain current bell schedules, but consider existing practices
and additional strategies to address concerns about first period
classes, and also to support for students who need a later start
time on an individual basis.

SCHEDULE
No Change

Discussion of Option 4: Leaving the schedule the same and depending on existing within-day flexible
scheduling practices and other instructional strategies to minimize students falling asleep in first period
classes causes minimal disruption to existing patterns and, in some cases, permits some high school
students to arrive after the first period. However, without providing transportation for second period,
schedules that allow high school students to arrive after first period assumes that students will provide
their own transportation to school for second period, making it difficult for students without
transportation of their own or access to public transportation. Further, taking full advantage of this
option requires that students and their parents possess a degree of scheduling savvy to pursue and attain
a non-traditional schedule.
Estimated Costs: $0 (no transportation impact/no utilities impact)

53

Data from the Maryland State Department of Education (Appendix I) showed that MCPS had the shortest elementary school
day of all Maryland counties. Sixteen of 24 Maryland counties had elementary school days of six hours and thirty minutes or
longer.

26

Explanation of Option 4 existing within-day scheduling practices that may address concerns
about first period classes:
Abbreviated student schedules: Existing practices allow for students to construct an optional
abbreviated schedule with their principal's approval. However, these practices may not be widely
known or understood. These strategies typically assume the student is providing his/her own
transportation.
o

Students may ask, on an individual basis, to have an abbreviated schedule so they may arrive after
first period (or leave before the last period), or they may arrive for first period but spend that time
getting ready for the day by using the school media center or other appropriate space. Students also
may request to take an online class occasionally, and taking such a course also enables them to
arrive late.

o

Many students have sufficient credits to take an abbreviated schedule at some point in their high
school careers. With a seven-period day, most students earn 28 credits over four years, but only
need 22 credits to graduate.

Optional abbreviated schedules have been used for the following purposes:
o
o
o

Allow students to leave school early to participate in internships or college courses
Accommodate students with special health needs
Transport students to a class offered at only one MCPS school (e.g., students from Seneca Valley
High School, Quince Orchard High School, and Northwest High School attending a "singleton"
class--a class not taught at all schools)

For abbreviated schedules to be a viable option for addressing sleep deprivation, the process for
obtaining an abbreviated schedule would need to be better known and accessible to all students, not
just those requiring documented accommodations.
Rotating class periods: "Rotating class periods" is defined, for purposes of this discussion, as classes
that meet during different class periods, depending on the day of the week. It was suggested that a firstperiod class, for example, might meet in a later class period during some days of the week. This option
was offered as a possible way to address students who may not do well in their first-period classes
because they are sleepy but may be more awake during a later period of the day.

27

Explanation of Option 4 instructional practices that may address concerns about first period
classes:
Flipped instruction: "Flipped classroom" is defined, for the purposes of this discussion, as a teaching
technique whereby students first study a topic outside of class, possibly with a teacher-created
videotape. Classroom time then is used for application of the content through a variety of practices that
might include problem-solving, project-based learning, or other applied learning. This option was
offered as a possible way to make first-period classes more active for the potentially sleepy student or
to offer the student who has mastered the content outside of class the opportunity to sleep late.
Tele-learning or online learning: Students utilizing remote learning options may create more flexible
school day schedules.

28

Community Assessment Strategy
Next Steps for Community Dialogue
While the work group surveyed high school students and their parents to gain preliminary data
regarding interest in adjusting school start times, any further efforts to change the bell time
schedule require a comprehensive approach to determine the community's needs, interests, and
impact. The community assessment strategy should present information about the relationship
between sleep and learning and seek feedback from students, parents, and staff members at all
school levels and youth-serving organizations, day-care providers, businesses, and other
communities of interest. The lesson learned from the research and from the experience of a
neighboring school district was that successful implementation of change depends on community
engagement.
Particular effort should be made to elicit Particular effort should be made to
feedback from minority, low-income, and
other groups that do not broadly elicit feedback from minority, lowparticipate in discussions of this kind and income, and other groups that do not
who, as research in other districts showed,
tended to be disproportionately affected broadly participate in discussions of
by efforts to change school start times. this kind, who, as research in other
Information should be gathered by a
showed, tended to be
variety of means, including surveys, focus districts
groups, discussion forums, and social disproportionately affected by efforts
media. The intent of community meetings
and focus groups should be as follows: 1) to change school start times.
provide background information and an overview of the assessment process; 2) garner
information regarding impact to stakeholders; 3) present proposed solutions/scenarios; and 4)
offer a time for community comment on the proposals.
Experience from past MCPS efforts, Rather than conducting community
historical data, and preliminary discussions
outreach on the general idea of a
with parent groups showed that support for
or resistance to later high school bell times later high school bell times, the work
fluctuates when stakeholders consider
effects of later start times and later end group considered it vital that future
times on schools at other levels, after- community conversations focus on a
school jobs and activities, and supervision
of younger students. Rather than set of specific proposed schedules,
conducting community outreach on the thereby making the benefits and
general idea of a later high school bell
times, the work group considered it vital trade-offs more concrete and the
that future community conversations focus feedback more meaningful.
on a set of specific proposed schedules, thereby making the benefits and trade-offs more concrete
and the feedback more meaningful.

29

The timeline of the work group required the 2013 Bell Times Work Group to define and consider
options at the same time as surveys to high school students and their parents were developed and
administered. The group felt it was important to delay meeting with additional stakeholders until
a limited and specific set of options could be put forward.
Therefore, an outreach plan, such as the one described above, should be implemented to continue
the discussion toward exploring acceptable solutions for all stakeholder groups.

30

Conclusion
The student who sleeps in class misses an opportunity to learn. The student who drives while
sleepy is a danger to him- or herself and others. The evolving science of sleep shows ever more
clearly why adolescent students do not sleep as much as they should and what necessary and
important things do not happen when they are sleep deprived.
The reevaluation of the sleep research and the school start time research by the 2013 High
School Bell Times Work Group shows very clearly that since 1998, when similar analyses were
last conducted, scientists have demonstrated that sleep is even more important than previously
thought. It also shows that students, their parents, and MCPS staff members need to take sleep,
for students--as well as for themselves--more seriously. A volume of articles in the popular
press, not just the academic press, shows that this is starting to happen.
While sleep science tells us the "whys" and "what happens" of sleep and sleep deprivation, the
answer to the question of "how to make it better" is much like putting a puzzle together.
Students and parents of students can learn more about sleep hygiene and take proactive steps to
get students more sleep. However, in a community that places a high value on well-rounded,
busy students and with students who place a high value on near-constant communication, those
particular pieces of the puzzle are not easy to put in place, as any parent of a teenager will readily
testify. But they are important parts of the puzzle.
Equally important are the pieces of the puzzle that school districts can initiate. Even though the
science of school start time research does not demonstrate conclusively that shifting high school
start times later produces academic gains, the options offered above demonstrate a variety of
ways school start times can be reconfigured and within-day schedules can be adjusted to allow
the possibility for high school students to get more sleep. Each has its basis in research or public
opinion, and each has benefits and drawbacks.
The next question is not necessarily "how to get students more sleep"--it is already abundantly
clear that busy students' demanding schedules need to be reassessed and electronic screens need
to be turned off earlier. Several options for later high school start times are possible, but each has
a cost--either a financial cost, an opportunity cost, or an impact on one's own life or another's.
However, the questions need to be asked, "how much are we, collectively, willing to change"
and "what are we, collectively, willing to give up?"

31

Appendices

Appendix A: Charge Statement to the Bell Times Work Group
Charge Statement: The work group will review current research and previous
reports and conduct an analysis of the impact of school start times on high school
students in order to develop options for high school bell times. Work will include
analysis of past efforts, analysis of similar efforts in other jurisdictions, input from
stakeholders, and scientific data from sleep experts/studies. The work group will
report on findings and options.
Deliverables: (SMART Goals--Specific, Measurable, Agreed to, Realistic, and Time specific)
o By January 15, 2013, the project manager, with input from the chief
operating officer, will identify and contact the members of the work group.
o By February 1, 2013, the work group will meet and review the charge
statement; the project manager will present a comprehensive set of
materials to group members to familiarize members on all aspects of this
topic which will include community interests, historical background,
contemporary sleep studies, and other related materials to begin
discussions; and define the schedule for work.
o By March 1, 2013, the work group will be well versed on the subject
matter and will structure questions and begin seeking stakeholder input.
o By April 2013, the group will have identified other school districts where
changes have been implemented and begin gathering critical data and
information regarding costs, challenges, and outcomes.
o By April 2013, the work group will have a full understanding of the issues
and begin in-depth examination of information gathered and begin to
define options.
o By April 2013, the work group will have received all input from
stakeholders; analyzed all available scientific data, performance
outcomes, social outcomes, cost factors, and related potential outcomes
of bell time changes implemented elsewhere; and begin final examination
and consideration of workable options.
o By May 2013, the work group will summarize options and present their
findings to the chief operating officer.
Project Scope:
o In scope: Consider all available data on teenage sleep needs, available
experiential data, cost data, and comparable school system efforts.
o Out-of-scope: Limiters such as funding, contract changes, or other tasks
needed to implement options.

33

Initiative Manager: Mr. Larry Bowers, chief operating
officer
Steering Committee: Association Leaders/Deputies/Chief
Operating Officer (ADC)
Project Manager: Mr. John Matthews, retired director,
Department of Transportation
Team Members:
Dr. Kecia Addison-Scott, supervisor, Office of Shared Accountability
Ms. Traci Anderson, assistant to the chief engagement and
partnership officer, Office of the Chief Engagement and
Partnership Officer
Dr. William Beattie, director, Systemwide Athletics
Ms. Susan Burkinshaw, treasurer and co-chair of Health and Safety
Committee, MCCPTA
Mr. Matthew Devan, principal, Viers Mill Elementary School
Ms. Carol L. Goddard, principal, Gaithersburg Middle School
Dr. Alan S. Goodwin, principal, Walt Whitman High School
Mrs. Ruth Green, director, High School Instruction and
Achievement, Office of School Support and Improvement
Miss Dahlia Huh, student, Clarksburg High School
Miss Omisa Jinsi, student, Herbert Hoover Middle School
Mr. Thomas Klausing, director, Department of Management, Budget,
and Planning
Ms. Mandi Mader, chair, Montgomery Chapter, Start School Later
Ms. Charlene Parilla, supervisor, Department of Special Education
Services, Office of Special Education and Student Services
Ms. Sheri Phillips, special education teacher, Winston Churchill High
School
Mr. Steve Schwartz, SEIU Local 500 representative
Mrs. Caroline Snelson, teacher, Bells Mill Elementary School
Mr. Todd Watkins, director, Department of Transportation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Staff Support:
Ms. Robin Confino, executive director, Office of the Chief Operating
Officer
Ms. Sally Davis, policy specialist, Office of Shared Accountability

Critical to Quality:
o Access to relevant experiential data supporting critical analysis
o Balanced inclusion of all stakeholder input
o Understanding the impact on groups of stakeholders and
community groups

Appendix B: History of Activities on Changing Bell Times
March 31, 1998
April 20, 1998

October 26, 1998

November 10, 1998

February 9, 1999

March 9, 1999

March 29, 1999

October 2012

Public hearing and comment on Changing Bell Times: Report of the Bell
Times Work Group
Board of Education (Board) commissions a Citizens Task Force, including
representatives of the health care, commerce, traffic, public transportation,
recreation, juvenile justice, student, parent, teacher, principal, and staff
communities to study all of the multifaceted aspects of changes to bell times.
The Citizens Task Force presents its report to the superintendent. Three
scenarios are presented: Delay high school starting times by 50 minutes, split
high school schedule and offer two starting times, and reverse starting times
of middle and high schools and start all schools 15 minutes later. They
recommend the second (split starting times) scenario.
The Board passes a resolution to pilot test Split Starting Times and requests
the superintendent to establish a Bell Times Work Group to seek volunteer
schools and to provide guidance in implementing a split starting time
schedule
The Board requests the superintendent and staff to investigate the feasibility
of using private bus contractor(s) to provide high school bus service so high
schools can start later.
Staff reports to the Board that no vendors expressed an interest in providing
contractual service for high school transportation; that such a contract (if
awarded) would add significant costs to the MCPS budget; and that the
logistics required, should a contractor come forward, would preclude
implementation for September 1999.
The Board requests the staff to reexamine the options for a later bell time for
high schools and specifically to add options that eliminate school bus
transportation for high school students and/or rely on public transit as an
alternative to school buses for high schools.
The Bell Times Implementation Work Group, soliciting volunteer schools
and developing guidelines for implementing Split Starting Times, reports to
the superintendent and the Board that no high school has volunteered and
that the estimated cost per high school to implement the Split Start Times
scenario could be as much as $802,000.
Montgomery County citizens develop an online petition to express support
for a later high school start time.

December 2012

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr directs staff to convene a work group to
develop options to address students' needs for more sleep and in particular to
consider adjustments to school start times

January-July, 2013

The 2013 Bell Times Work Group meets.

May-June, 2013

The MCPS Office of Shared Accountability surveys high school students and
parents of high school students regarding school start times.

34

Appendix C: Presentations by Local Experts
The work group heard presentations by the following local experts in the fields of sleep research
and school start time research and representatives from local school districts with later high
school start times:
o
o
o
o
o

Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Children's
National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Dr. Peter Hinrichs, associate professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown
University, Washington, DC
Dr. Susan G. Robinson, former assistant superintendent, Information Services, Arlington
Public Schools, Arlington, VA
Mr. Fred Evans, former MCPS high school principal and former director of secondary
education, Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun, VA
Dr. Kecia Addison-Scott, supervisor of applied research, Office of Shared
Accountability, MCPS

Dr. Owens' presentation addressed a variety of topics related to adolescent development, sleep
deprivation research on children and adolescents, and trends in high school bell times. She
presented her own research, as well as summarizing key topics and findings from available sleep
research, which included the following:
o
o
o

o
o

Changes in circadian rhythms associated with puberty make it more difficult for
adolescents to fall asleep and to wake up.
The average high school student needs 9-9.25 hours of sleep per night but gets, on
average, 7.25 hours of sleep per night. By Grade 12, the average sleep on school nights
is 6.9 hours.
Research on brain cognition shows that sleep is needed to facilitate memory retention,
organize thoughts, predict outcomes and avoid consequences, be goal-directed
("executive functions"), work accurately and efficiently, think abstractly, be creative, and
gain insight.
Sleep deprivation increases the stress response and stress hormones and results in greater
sensation-seeking and risk-taking, increased body weight, depression, and suicidal
ideation.
Studies of schools that delayed start times showed that students went to bed at the same
time or earlier, contrary to expectations that students would just stay up later.

Dr. Hinrichs' presentation summarized key topics and findings from available school start time
research, focusing in particular on studies where effects of school start times on particular
outcomes were demonstrated through comparisons of matched school districts. He presented his
own research on school start times and student achievement, which included the following:
o
o

Dr. Hinrichs acknowledged the laboratory sleep research on adolescent sleep patterns but
questioned the effects of changing school bell times on student achievement.
Comparing two school districts matched on regional and demographic factors
(Minneapolis and St. Paul), Dr. Hinrichs estimated the effects of school start times on
attendance and the achievement of college-bound students (ACT scores). He found that
changing school start times did not improve attendance or achievement consistently.
35

o

Using state assessment data from Kansas and Virginia that was not limited to collegebound students, Dr. Hinrichs similarly found no effect of changing school start times on
school-level state assessment data.

Dr. Robinson's presentation summarized Arlington Public Schools' (APS) experience of
implementing a change to later high school start times in the 2001-2002 school year.
Dr. Robinson also summarized findings from the evaluation APS conducted to assess the
implementation of the schedule change.
o
o

o

o

The Arlington County Board of Education voted unanimously in December 1999 to
change start times, giving instructions that no school was to start earlier than 7:50 a.m.,
and the change was to be implemented for the 2001-2002 school year.
In the fall of 2001, high school start times shifted 45 minutes later from 7:34 a.m. to
8:19 a.m (with the exception of a magnet secondary school whose start time remained
unchanged at 9:24 a.m.); middle school start times shifted 20 minutes earlier from
8:10 a.m. to 7:50 a.m.; and elementary schools started at 8:00 a.m., 8:25 a.m., and
9:00 a.m., with various shifts in time to accommodate transportation needs under the
adjusted plan for middle and high schools.
A 2005 evaluation of the schedule change showed the following: high school teachers
and students reported more engagement and participation in first period classes, but there
were no significant changes in course grades; high school attendance in first period
classes improved, but there was a light increase in tardiness for middle school students;
while high school staff members concerned about difficult commutes were offered
options of shifting to middle school for the earlier commute, no staff transfers were
requested.
The community was favorable to the process of community engagement used to
implement the change, and the APS Board of Education was pleased that the change was
well received in the community.

Mr. Evans summarized issues relevant to Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) where the
district schools open in the following order: two groups of elementary schools start first (at
varying start times), followed by middle schools, then high schools. The schedule has been in
place for more than 20 years. Mr. Evans offered the following observations:
o
o
o
o
o

Elementary schools start at 7:50 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 8:35 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
Middle schools start at 8:35 a.m.
High schools start at 8:54 a.m.
The schedule is accepted by the community and not the topic of debate. The more
pressing concern currently in Loudoun County is rapid population growth that results in
opening more schools and changing attendance boundaries.
Most athletic teams compete in intra-county competition, so the schedule does not
present problems for start times of competitions.

Dr. Kecia Addison-Scott and Mr. Thomas C. (Chris) West of the MCPS Office of Shared
Accountability presented a review of available research on sleep needs of students and also on
school districts that have shifted start times. Their findings were summarized earlier in this
report.
36

Appendix D: OSA 2013 HS Start Times Survey Findings
2013 Parent Survey Findings
A sample of 4,335 parents of high school students in Grades 9-11 were randomly selected to
respond to the survey. An online survey was developed and parents selected to participate were
sent a survey mailer that included a password to access the online survey. If the home language
of the family was not English, then a paper copy of the survey was mailed to the home in the
language indicated on record with MCPS. Paper copies in English also were available for those
respondents who requested it.
A response rate of 23 percent was obtained from the parent survey. Based on feedback from
parents who responded to the survey, 69 percent preferred school start later, either 30 minutes or
one hour. Similarly, approximately 70 percent of parents reported that school started "too early"
for high school students, with the remaining reporting "at the right time" (30 percent) and "too
late" (0.5 percent). Sixty-six percent of parents responded that it was important that school starts
later for their high school child.
Table 1: Number and Percent for School Start Time Preference

Start 30 minutes later and end 30
minutes later
Start one hour later and end one hour
later
Remain the same (start at 7:25 a.m.
and end at 2:10 p.m.)
No preference

Number
294

Percent
27

455

42

312

28

34

3

Parents were asked to indicate how specific aspects of their life would be impacted by moving
school start times later. The response categories include positive, negative, and no impact.
Overall, nearly 50 percent or more of respondents indicated a later high school start time would
have "no impact" on their family (See Table 2). Additionally, parents were asked to identify the
perceived impact a later high school start time would lead to based on eight categories (see
Table 3).

37

Table 2: Percent Reporting Impact of Moving Start Time

Transportation to school
Transportation from school
Afterschool activities/clubs
Athletic practices/events
Employment schedule for
parent/guardians
Safety for my child
Employment schedule for my child
Child care before school
Child care after school

No
Positive Negative Impact
36
15
49
30
9
61
26
22
52
24
23
53
31
15
54
44
15
10
12

7
11
4
4

48
74
86
84

Table 3: Number and Percent of Parents Reporting Perceived Impact of a Later High
School Start Time
Number
Attendance
Improved attendance
More absenteeism
No opinion
Tardiness
Lower tardy rates
Increased tardy rates
No opinion
Grades
Lower grades
Better grades
No opinion
Student mood
Happier students
Moodier students
No opinion
Teacher Satisfaction
Decreased teacher satisfaction
Increased teacher satisfaction
No opinion
Athletic Participation
Less participation in athletics
Increased participation in athletics
No opinion
Parental Involvement
Reduced parental involvement
Increased parental involvement
No opinion

Percent

648
68
354

61
6
32

748
72
249

70
7
23

52
683
327

5
64
31

806
58
202

76
5
19

88
511
457

8
48
43

200
316
548

19
30
51

155
325
576

15
31
54

38

Number

Percent

Health
Improved health
713
67
No impact
199
19
No opinion
147
14
Note: Not all parents responded to each statement.
Numbers and percentages reported are for those who
responded.
Results also were examined based on time preference. For the 27 percent of parents who
preferred high school start and end 30 minutes later, 50 percent or more reported "no impact" of
a later start time on their family. Additionally, most of these same respondents reported positive
benefits of adjusting high school to a later time. Almost all of the parents (96 percent) who
indicated a time preference of 30 minutes later reported school starts "too early," and 92 percent
of these respondents reported it is important high school starts later.
For the 42 percent of parents who preferred high school start and end one hour later, most
reported "positive" or "no impact" of a later start time on their family. Nearly all of the parents
(99 percent) who indicated a time preference of one hour later reported school starts "too early,"
and 98 percent of these respondents reported it is important that high school starts later.
Of the 27 percent of parents who preferred the high school start remain the same, over 60 percent
reported a negative impact on two areas: after-school activities/clubs and athletic
practices/events. Additionally, most of these same respondents reported "no opinion" to the eight
categories mentioned previously as it related to adjusting high school to a later time. Ninety-four
percent reported school starts "at the right time," and 89 percent of these respondents reported it
is important that the high school start time remain the same.
2013 Student Survey Findings
A sample of 150 high school classes across 25 MCPS high schools were selected to obtain
feedback from students in Grades 9-11 on starting school later. English classes were selected
and regular and non-regular (honors/AP/IB) classes were included. Only classes with more than
15 students total enrolled were considered for inclusion. A response rate of 91 percent was
obtained based on the number of classes sampled. The percentage of respondents for each grade
was 33 percent for Grades 9 and 11 and 34 percent for Grade 10.
Feedback from students revealed that slightly more than half want school to start later--either
30 minutes or one hour (See Table 1). Although only about half of students indicated they
wanted school to begin later, 63 percent of student respondents reported "too early" when asked
whether the school day starts "too early," "at the right time," or "too late." Additionally,
regardless of the preference for starting school later, 85 percent of respondents indicated they
would get more sleep if school started later (See Table 2). Slightly more than one third of
respondents reported it will harder for them to get a job if school start times were changed to a
later time (Table 3). Other areas students perceived as challenges to moving school start times
were participating in afterschool activities/clubs (30 percent) and participating in afterschool
practices/events (31 percent) (Table 3).
39

Table 1: Number and Percent of Students Reporting School Start Time Preference
Number
Start 30 minutes later and end 30
705
minutes later
Start 1 hour later and end 1 hour
917
later
Remain the same
1153
No preference
235

Percent
23
31
38
8

Table 2: Number and Percent of Student Responses to Statements
If school starts later than it does now, tell us why it will be better
for you
Number
It will be easier for me to get transportation to school.
516
It will be easier for me to have transportation home from
328
school.
It will be easier for me to participate in afterschool
287
activities/clubs.
I will be easier for me to participate in athletic practices/ events.
294
It will be easier for me to get a job after school.
182
It will be easier for my parents/guardians to attend my after294
school activities.
I will be more safe going to school (e.g., darkness).
563
I will be more safe going home after school (e.g., darkness).
116
I will get more sleep.
2381

Percent
19
12
10
11
7
11
20
4
85

Note: Respondents could select more than one statement, thus percentages will sum to more than
100 percent.
Table 3: Number and Percent of Student Responses to Statements
If school starts later than it does now, tell us why it will be a
problem for you
Number
It will be harder for me to get transportation to school.
443
It will be harder for me to get transportation home from school.
200
It will be harder for me to participate in afterschool
732
activities/clubs.
It will be harder for me to participate in athletic
710
practices/events.
It will be harder for me to get a job after school.
830
It will be harder for my parents/guardians to attend my after151
school activities.
I will be less safe going to school (e.g., darkness).
121
I will be less safe going home from school (e.g., darkness).
292
40

Percent
19
9
31
30
36
7
5
13

If school starts later than it does now, tell us why it will be a
problem for you
Number
It will be harder for me to get transportation to school.
443
It will be harder for me to get employment after school.
652

Percent
19
28

Note: Respondents could select more than one statement, thus percentages will sum to more than
100 percent.
When asked to identify benefits of starting school later, the most frequently reported benefit was
getting more sleep (79 percent). Students also were asked to identify problems that might arise if
schools started later. The following responses were the most frequently selected: a) harder to get
a job after school (28 percent); b) harder to participate in after school (24 percent); and c) harder
to participate in after-school practices/events (24 percent).
Students were asked to indicate the average number of hours of sleep they get a night. Based on
responses, students sleep about 7 hours or less each night (See Table 4). In addition, students
were asked to identify how frequently they fell asleep or lost focus in their first or second period
class in the past month. About one third of respondents reported "2-4 days per week" and
30 percent reported "Every day" (see Table 5).
Table 4: Number and Percent of Students Reporting Average Hours of Sleep
Number
5 hours or
685
less
6 hours
948
7 hours
825
8 hours
406
9 hours
89
10 or more
31
hours

Percent
23
32
28
14
3
1

Table 5: Number and Percent of Students Indicating Frequency of Dozing Off or Losing
Focus in Class Periods 1 or 2 Within Past Month

Every day
2-4 days of the week
1 day a week
Never

Number
910
1,003
567
513

Percent
30
34
19
17

Similar to the analysis for parents, student results also were examined based on time preference.
For the 23 percent of students who preferred high school start and end 30 minutes later,
92 percent reported a benefit would be the ability to get more sleep. Perceived problems reported
by these students included: harder to participate in afterschool activities/clubs; harder to
participate in athletic practices; and harder to get a job. On average, these students reported
getting 7 hours of sleep or less.
41

For the 30 percent of high school respondents who preferred high school start and end one hour
later, 9 percent reported getting more sleep as a benefit of adjusting the start time. Additionally,
some students reported a benefit to their transportation to school (28 percent) and from school
(21 percent). These students reported getting 7 hours of sleep or less on average.
Of the 38 percent of high school respondents who preferred the high school start remain the
same, slightly more than 60 percent reported getting more sleep as a benefit of starting school
later. Some perceived problems reported by these students included: harder to participate in
after-school activities/clubs; harder to participate in athletic practices; harder to get a job; and
harder to get to school. On average, these students reported getting 8 hours of sleep or less.

42

APPEIJDDE

Paren_t
Eieliecl Start TI mm
cnunr_.r Fuhllc senunia

TELL HIGHS ABDUT CHANGING THE HIGH EGHDCIL ETAFIT

Puhlic Echcnals is interested in gathering '_I.rcn1rr dpinicnns ahcut changing the high start time. FL
was created in January 2013 to insresligate research can the tcpic and ccnduct an analysis cf the impact cf a later high
schuanl start time. family' was randc-ml:-' selected tn input can this tcpic. cempleling this survey, '_I.reu will help te
supply-' that will assist the dimer with its ruearch ahc-ut changing the high start time. Yeur answers will n-at he
reperted with }'cI.rr name er the name c-t" }'c-ur child. Y-aur resp-anses are cc-nfidential and will he summarized tcgether with the
fiiam other parents. 3-'-au eemplete this s1n'sre}', please keep in mind that ifhigh start and end timu change, it will
impact the start and end times and middle sch-aril levels.

Please ahcut child whe attends high schc-cl when answering this If have mc-re than -El-l2l.E child in a Mentgemerp
puhlie schc-cl, please answer fer the child sirhc-se name is printed can the carbide address label -afthe

received.

1. Hear many children dc ycu have in Mciitgemeijr Ccuntjr Puhlic Schcels?

2. 'What are the schc-ril levels children'? (Marti HI snip.)
Start Schcel 0 Middle Scheel C1 High Seheel

3. Public Schecls cu-nsiders changing the sche-ril start time fer high scheels, dd
prefer pcur child's tc . . {Milt ~:lIEflIanrEI'

El Start minutes later later

El Eemainthesame {start atT":25

Ne preference

4. Indicate the impact cf a later high srlieel start time an jreur family- Fer each item, please select pcsititre,
negative, car no impact.

Pesitisre 1'-Tegatiue 1'-Tc Impact
a- tr: srlieel
h- ficm sehnul
c- aclitritiesfeluhs
d- Allslelic practicesfeiienls ID
e- Emplrijrment schedule for parent-"guardians
Safety fer child
g. fur my child
h- Child care hefnre
i. Child care after

j. Please share ether impacts it may have en yeur

lz. Please share ether negative impacts it may have en yeur fauiiljg.

5. In jgeur epinien weuld a later high scheel start time lead te_ . . . arlt ene answer ehelee fer each

eptlen.)

a. attendance Cl I'-dere ahsenteeisni CI He epinien
h. Lewer tardjr rates Increased tardjr rates Ne epinien
c. Lewer grades Cl Better grades Cl He epinien
d. Happier students Meedier students Ne epinien
e. Decreased teacher satisfactien Cl Increased teacher satisfactien CI Ne epinien
f. CI Less participatien in athletics Increased participatien in athletics Ne epinien
g. Reduced parental Increased parental Cl Ne epinien
h- IuIpre'r.red healfln Ne impact I"-le epinien

5. The scheel day' fer my high scheel child starts at}: me ansI.rI.rEI'

CI Tee earl};

At the right time

CI Tee late

It is ianpertant that scheel fer inf,' high scheel child . ark el1elee.j
CI Starts later
CI Rernains the same
He epinien

E. In thinking aheut yeur resp-ense te itein hew de yen feel aheut jgeur respense'?

ene site.-trer ehelee.j

CI Very streng

CI Seniewhat stteng

CI Net at all streng

He epinien

9. On average, new rnanj; heurs ef sleep dees yeur high scheel child get en scheel nights'?
ENE me answer chutes.)

5 heurs er less

:5 heurs

7" hours

3 heurs

9 heurs

ll} heurs er

]I1en"t lcneu:

10. Please previde an}; ether ceninients jgeu starting the high scheel later.

Tharl-: 1.reufer 44

Co-urn

Public

High School Student Survey

School Start Times

Montgomery County Public Schools
Roclwille, Maryland



TELL US OPINIONS ABDUT CHANGING THE HIGH START TIME

Montgomery County Public Schools is interested in gathering your opinions about
changing the high school start time. A was created in January 2013 to inyestigate
research on the topic and conduct an analysis of the impact of a later high school start time. Ely
completing this you will help to supply information that will assist MGPS with its research
about changing the high school start time. Your indiyidual answers will not be given to your
school or your teachers. Your answers are confidential and will be summarized together with
the answers from other high school students. As you complete this sunrey, please lreep in mind
that if high school start and end times change, it will lil-rely impact the start and end times of
elementary and middle school levels.

Please use a pencil to answer the questions on this Please answer the i11 te1'r11s of
as a high school str1de:r:rt.

IEIE

1] This year I am in? {Mark one answer.]
Grade Ell
Grade 1D

Grade 1 1

2] If Montgomery County Public Schools considers changing the school start tim e, wh at time would you like
your school to start and end? I Marl-r one answer r:hoice.]
Start 3i] minutes later and end 3t] minutes later
Start 1 hour later and end 1 hour later
Remain the same [start at T25 a.m- and end at 2:1
No preference

3] If school startsfithan it does now, tell us why it will be better for you? lFrI'larlr all that apply.)

It will be easier for me to get transportation to school.

It will be easier for me to haye tran sportali on home from school.

It will be easier for me to participate in after-school actiyities, clubs.

lwill be easier for me to participate in athletic practicesteyents-

It will be easier for me to get a job after school-

It will be easier for my parentsiguardians to attend my after-school actiyities-
I will be more safe going to school darlrnessjr.

I will be more safe going home after school darkness]-

I will get more sleep.

Grther, pleam list

PLEASE D-D IN THIS AREA

I I I 05500

Ur

Turn Dyer

as-Piflpoc
4] If school staruithan "rt does now, tell us why it will he a problem for you? [Mark all that appty.|:

It will be harder for me to get transportation to school-

It will be harder for me to get transportation home from school-

It will be harder for me to participate in after-school acliyitiee, clubs-

It will be harder for me to participate in athletic practicesfeyents-

It will be harder for me to get a job after school-

It will be harder for my parentotguardians to attend my after-school actiytties-

I will be less cafe going to school da

I will be cafe going home from school da

It will be harder for me to get employment after school-

Other, please list

5] Dn ayerag e, how many hours of sleep do you get on school nights? Matlt one answer choice.|u

5 hours or less

6 hours

hours

El. hours

9 houre

or more hours

The school day starts Marlt one answer choice.|:
Too early
At the right time
Too late

Will you get more sleep if high school started and ended later?
"Hes
Ho

3] Would you be interested in arriying at school later and taking one or two of your classes online if
transportation to school was not proyitled?
'fee
hlo

9] If high school start and end times were to change, would this negatively impact your after-school jolcu?
"Hes
Ho

1 do not have an after-scltool job

In the past month, in your 1st or End period classes, how often do you dose off or lose focus due to
sleepiness?
Every day
2-1 days of the weal-:
1 day a week

Than}: you for completing this

PLEASE D-CI HUT WHITE IH THI-5 AREA

I I I 05500

415

Appendix G: Start Times in 25 Largest School Districts (October 30, 1997)
School District

Student
Students Start/End Start/End Start/End
Enrollment Transported
ES
HS
JR/MS

Tiers
Used

# Bus/
Routes

Walk
Distance
ES

Walk
Distance
JR/MS

Walk
Distance HS

Baltimore
County, MD

105,000

88,000

8:40-3:10 8:15-2:45 7:45-2:15
9:00-3:30
9:15-3:45
9:20-3:50

1 to 5

564 Public
123 Contract

1 mile

1 mile MS
1.5 mile JR

1.5 mile

Broward
County, FL

224,000

66,000

8:00-2:00 9:00-4:00 7:40-2:40

3

1,122

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

Charlotte
Mecklenburg
District, NC

98,000

57,000

8:25-3:30 8:25-3:30 7:10-2:20
8:30-3:30 8:30-3:30 7:20-2:30

3+

Chicago City, IL

420,000

50,100

8:00-1:30 8:00-1:30 8:00-1:30
9:00-2:30 9:00-2:30 9:00-2:30
9:00-3:15 9:00-3:15 9:00-3:15

2

2,500

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

Clark County,
NV

192, 344

81,801

9:00-3:11 8:00-2:11 7:00-1:21

3

888 Buses
824 Routes

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

Cobb County,
GA

89,000

62,500

8:00-2:30 9:00-4:00 8:15-3:15

3 to 4

1,968

.5 miles

1 mile

1 mile

Dade County,
FL

340,904

68,000

8:30-3:00 9:00-3:40 7:30-2:30
8:30-2:00
(K-1)

3

1,385

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

47

926 Buses 1.2+ miles 1.4+ miles

1.5+ miles

Students Start/End Start/End Start/End
Student
School District
ES
HS
JR/MS
Enrollment Transported

Tiers
Used

# Bus/
Routes

Walk
Distance
ES

Walk
Distance
JR/MS

Walk
Distance HS

Dallas County,
TX

150,000

57,000

8:00-3:00 8:45-3:45 8:30-3:30

3

1,270

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

Detroit City, MI

180,000

28,000

8:00-2:45 8:45-3:15 8:00-3:50
8:45-3:15 9:30-4:00 (varies on #
9:30-4:00
of classes)

3

775

1.3 miles

1.8 miles

Public
Transp.
Unless SPED

Duval County,
FL

126,000

57,000

8:27-3:04 9:12-4:04 7:17-2:24

18
Adjusted
w/in
Window

928

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

Fairfax County,
VA

143,278

102,810

8:30-3:05 7:25-2:20 7:20-2:05
9:00-3:30

3

1,084
Buses5,167
Routes

1 mile

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

Gwinnett
County, GA

93,325

68,000

8:00-2:30 9:10-3:40 7:20-2:00 3/4 in 2 772 Buses
0 miles
9:15-3:45
Clusters 3,560 Routes

0 miles

1.5 miles w/
limited
service

Hillsborough
County, FL

165,368

79,000

8:00-2:15 8:45-3:30 7:30-2:50

3

2 miles

2 miles

Houston
District, TX

212,000

79,000

7:45-2:45 8:35-3:35 8:05-3:05

2

0-.5 miles

0-.5 miles

Jefferson
County, KY

95,391

74,000

9:05-3:35 7:40-2:20 7:40-2:20

3

783 Buses 1 mile/less 1 mile/less

1 mile/less

48

1,040

2 miles

1,350 Buses 0-.3 miles
1,250 Routes

Students Start/End Start/End Start/End
Student
School District
ES
HS
JR/MS
Enrollment Transported

Tiers
Used

# Bus/
Routes

Walk
Distance
ES

Walk
Distance
JR/MS

Walk
Distance HS

Los Angeles
County, CA

670,000

65,000

8:00-2:30 8:00-3:00 8:00-3:00
(approx.) (approx.) (approx.)

2 AM/
2 PM

1,400 Buses SPED
(District
Magnet/
owned)
2 miles
2,200 Routes

SPED
Magnet/
2 miles

SPED
Magnet/
2 miles

Milwaukee
District, WI

104,697

71,320

7:55-2:40 7:35-2:30 7:30-2:40
8:55-3:40 8:40-3:40

2

1,450 Buses .25 miles
2,330 Routes

.50 miles

.50 miles

Montgomery
County, MD

125,713

90,900

8:50-3:05 7:55-2:40 7:25-2:10
9:15-3:30

4

1,016 Buses
943 Routes

1 mile

1.5 miles

2 miles

New York City,
NY

1,450,000

760,000

7:15-2:00 7:15-2:00 7:15-2:00
10:00-3:30 10:00-3:30 10:00-3:30

3 or 4

4,300

.5 mile
(K-2)
1 mile (3-
6)

1.5 miles

1.5 miles

Orange County,
FL

134,333

61,000

7:45-2:00
9:00-
7:10-2:10
8:00-2:15 3:209:15- 7:15-1:40
8:15-2:30
3:35
7:30-1:55
8:30-2:45

3

1,100
Buses899
Routes

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

Palm Beach
District, FL

140,000

60,000

8:00-2:07 9:00-3:37 7:30-2:52
(90%)
9:15-3:52

3

580 Buses
most 3 trips

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

Philadelphia
District, PA

215,000

17,980 public 8:45-3:00 8:30-2:45 8:00-2:00
11,850 (non)
Use public Use public
23,600 public
transp.
transp.
6,350 (non)

1

550 District 1.5 miles
460 Contract
80 Cabs incl.

Public
Transport.

Public
Transport.

49

Students Start/End Start/End Start/End
Student
School District
ES
HS
JR/MS
Enrollment Transported

Tiers
Used

# Bus/
Routes

Walk
Distance
ES

Walk
Distance
JR/MS

Walk
Distance HS

569

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

2 miles

.5 miles

.5 miles

Pinellas County, 107,253/K-
FL
12
1,500 PK

44,275

7:50-1:50 9:30-3:50 7:30-2:00
8:45-2:45
9:30-3:30

3

Prince George's
County, MD

125,888

90,567

8:00-2:10 8:00-2:10 8:00-2:10
9:30-4:10 9:30-4:10 9:30-4:10
(varies)
(varies)
(varies)

4

Wake County,
NC

89,441

51,032

8:00-2:15 7:30-2:15 7:30-2:15
9:15-3:00 8:15-3:00 8:00-2:40
(varies)
(varies)
(varies)

3

50

1,042 Routed 1.5 miles

694

.3 miles

Appendix H: Cost Implications
The following information represents preliminary estimates of the transportation, utility, and
school-based staff costs for each of the four options presented in this report. Additional detailed
analysis is required before any option should be considered for adoption.
The work group made a decision to focus attention on options with little or justifiable
costs. Options with exceptionally high costs were eliminated from consideration.
I.

Transportation Cost Implications

Option 1
o
o
o

o

Option 1 reduces the overall daily operating window for transportation by 10 minutes per
day. The resulting savings in bus operator and attendant salaries is $1,214,723.
Computer models estimate that 94 additional regular education and 32 additional special
education routes would need to be added to accommodate the altered bell schedule. The
annual cost of these additional routes is estimated to be $10,269,218.
Prior to conducting the computer models, it was predicted that this option would be
relatively inexpensive for transportation. Moving the high schools--which have the
largest attendance areas and corresponding longest bus routes--to the middle of the start
times window appears to be the factor that led to so many additional routes being
required. It is possible that small changes of five or ten minutes in the start and end times
of the four tiers would dramatically reduce the number of additional routes required.
Additional research would be needed to determine the effects of each potential change.
Net annual transportation cost for this option: $9,054,495

Option 1A
o
o
o

o

Option 1A reduces the overall daily operating window for transportation by 20 minutes
per day. The resulting savings in bus operator and attendant salaries is $2,429,447.
Computer models estimate that 100 additional regular education and 64 additional special
education routes would need to be added to accommodate the altered bell schedule. The
annual cost of these additional routes is estimated to be $13,929,848.
Prior to conducting the computer models, it was predicted that this option would be
relatively inexpensive for transportation. Moving the high schools--which have the
largest attendance areas and corresponding longest bus routes--to the middle of the start
times window appears to be the factor that led to so many additional routes being
required. It is possible that small changes of five or ten minutes in the start and end times
of the four tiers would dramatically reduce the number of additional routes
required. More study would be needed to determine the effects of each potential change.
Net annual transportation cost for this option: $11,500,401

Option 2, 2A, and 4
o No transportation impact

51

Option 3
o

II.

More study would be required to determine transportation costs for this option once the
preferred order of the tiers is determined.
Utility Cost Implications

o

o

III.

Increasing the length of the elementary school day by 10, 20, or 30 minutes had the
following annual estimated impact on utilities:
10 minutes
$260,000
20 minutes
$515,000
30 minutes
$775,000
While the extension of the school day at the elementary schools has some utility cost
implications as noted above, the change of the school day from earlier or later was
believed to have little or no significant impact on utility costs.
School-based Staff Cost Implications

o
o
o

It is estimated that hourly school-based employees who work directly with students and
who do not already have a seven- or eight-hour daily assignment may be impacted by a
change.
Eight-hour, school-based staff may see an adjustment to their shift assignments, earlier or
later, but no impact on total daily hours is foreseen. However, further discussion with the
employee organizations will be needed.
Additional detailed analysis is required for any option considered for adoption.

52

Appendix I: MSDE Total School Days Hours
S1*h1111lY5a1' 2011-2012

TOTAL 5 OF OATS LENGTH OF SCHOOL DAT TOTAL 5 OT TOTAL 5 OF TLARLT REMARKS (E11-IERGENCY
SCHOOL OATS EMERGENCY (HOURS) OATS (5) SCHOOL HOURS MAKE UP HATS)
SYSTEM (1) (2) (3) (5)
(1) (1) 131111 11115511 111111 51111 11115511 1111111 51111 11115511 111111

55111 511111-1 1511 4 4 4 5.11 5.51 5.51 11 11 11 1115.11 1211121 1251.21
Montgomeqr 134 4 4 4 6.25 6.75 6.75 5 5 3 1137.50 1229.50 1234.50 5 11511-11511
Garrett 130 5 5 5 6.40 6.33 6.33 9 9 9 1125.00 1202.40 1202.40 5 Will dfihflifflfiiusfid
1111111111111 1511 5 5 9 5.41 5.91 5.55 5 5 5 1115.511 1225.511 1215.511 I4da1sadded1oendofca1 114111154
11111115 Anmdel 131 4 4 4 6.42 6.66 6.30 15 15 15 1132.02 1175.46 1200.30
5111111111 152 5.511 5.511 5.511 1 5 4 1114.111: 1114.115 1111111 1111.11 1111111

13111111 1511 4 4 4 5.511 5.511 5.15 5 5 5 1145.25 1151.511 1155.511
01111111 1511 4 4 4 5.511 5.511 5.15 15 15 15 1145.111: 1145.115 11551111 441154454 atmdofcaluadar
111111111111 1511 5 5 5 5.511 5.511 5.15 11 11 11 1115.111: 1115.115 1215.111 5
Frederick 130 5 5 5 6.50 7.00 6.33 12 11 1137.00 1231.00 1200.40 5
Harford 130 6 6 6 6.50 6.50 6.75 11 1 5 1143.00 1163.00 1200.00 544153149114
Howard 130 4 6.50 6.75 6.75 9 9 10 1143.00 1130.00 1135.00
1:111 1511 1) (1 5 5.511 5.511 1.1111 1 1 1 1151.111: 1155.115 1251.111 5 11111 111 11111 1111115111111 1111111111111
11115551515166 130 3 3 3 6.50 6.75 6.75 6 6 6 1155.00 1200.00 1200.00
151111115 1511 5 5 5 5.511 1.1111 1.1111 1 5 3 1155.111: 1245.115 1245 .1111 5 511111111111 1111 111111111
C1115-1 1511 11 11 11 5.54 5.11 5.92 1 1 1 1155.211 1151.411 1251.511 5 511111111 11111111111111111111
Cecil 1511 11 5 4 5.55 5.55 5.55 19 5 3 1114.111: 1154.111 1154.111 5 c1a15a1m5.o115s11en1514
Caroline 130 0 0 4 6.75 6.75 6.33 6 6 6 1193.50 1193.50 1212.00
130 0 0 5 6.75 6.75 6.75 10 10 10 1195.00 1195.00 1195.00 5 d3I~*5iflEUR31- W111 dE41"31iffl01U5EUR4
Talbot 130 0 0 0 6.75 6.90 7.00 5 5 5 1192.50 1217.50 1234.60 W31'5iflf?11- W11<<'144fi5fl0edfi4-
5111111111 1111 1511 11 11 5 5.53 5.51 5.51 2 2 5 1222.511 1222.511 121131111 5 511111111. 11111111111111111111
Queen Anne's 130 5 6.33 6.92 6.76 5 5 7 1216.30 1232.90 1200.21 5 11555111151. 1.11111
5111111111 1511 1 1.1111 5.15 1.1111 5 2 2 1242.111: 1215.55 1252 .1111 34:55 5111. 5111 1-5144 114111541
551111111 1511 11 11 1 1.1111 1.15 5.52 1 5 4 1245.511 1215.55 1214 145155111.

53

Appendix J: Bibliography
Al-Disi, D., Al-Daghri, N., Khanam, L., Al-Othman, A., Al-Saif, M., Sabico, S., & Chrousos, G.
(2010). Subjective sleep duration and quality influence diet composition and circulating
adipocytokines and ghrelin levels in teen-age girls. Endocrine Journal, 57 (10), 915-923.
Arlington Public Schools (2005). Impact of 2001 Adjustments to High School and Middle
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