|Montgomery County, MD|
In 2015, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to change school start and dismissal times for the 2015-2016 school year:
AACPS contacted Montgomery County with questions about the process of changing start times in their county. Below are the responses from Ms. Denise Bracalilly Stultz, Supervisor for Family and Community Engagement Office, Montgomery County Public Schools, in October 2015.
How was transportation impacted?
Traffic is much heavier for elementary buses and parents. Buses are late due to the increase in traffic.
How many buses were purchased or leased as a result of changing start and dismissal times?
No additional buses were purchased or leased.
What new School Start Time model did you choose?
We chose a shift model. High school and middle school went in 20 minutes later. Elementary school started 10 minutes later but 20 minutes were also added to the end of the day, since they had a very short day.
Which school level (elementary, middle, or high) is going to school first? When is the earliest start time?
High schools start the earliest, at 7:45 AM and end at 2:30 PM. All middle schools start at 8:15 AM and end at 3:00 PM. Elementary schools are either on a 9 - 3:25 schedule or on a 9:25 - 3:50 schedule.
How do elementary, middle, and high school parents each feel about the change?
High school and middle school parents seem generally happy. Elementary school parents are not. There are three reasons why: (1) Traffic is one concern, since the roads are more crowded as the afternoon gets later and some elementary students are not getting home until 5. (2) Because no additional buses were purchased and traffic is heavier, buses to the latter group of elementary schools, which should be at the school by 3:50 PM, often don't arrive until 4:30 PM. (3) Parents complain that they have had to spend more money on child care before school since they need to be at work and need someone to watch their children.
Additionally, while all staff are adjusting to the new start and dismissal times, there are some staff members reporting discontent.
In addition to the conversation with Ms. Bracalilly Stultz, AACPS also received feedback frm the Montgomery County Partent Teacher Association (PTA) about how parents feel about the change:
The PTA felt elementary parents and students were very unhappy about the longer days. They feel elementary students get home way too late. They also said they are hearing from parents that they don’t feel like the benefit to high school students is great enough for the disruption of so many students. Prior to implementation, the PTA did not feel that parents, especially elementary school parents, understood the impact the change would have on their students. Overall, most to all stakeholders agree high schools should start later, but not at the expense of everyone else.