School Start &

Dismissal Times

Phase I--Task Force: February 2014-December 2014
Phase II--New Work: January 2015-December 2015
Phase III--Community Involvement: January 2016-February 2016
Phase IV--Board Requested Options: March 2016-Present

Home Start & Dismissal Time Resources Task Force Members Start & Dismissal Community Surveys

Superintendent's Proposed Models for 2017 Start Times
Model Proposed in April 2016 (Following New BOE Request)
Model Proposed in December 2015
Task Force Conclusions
School Start & Dismissal Times Task Force Study: Execuitve Summary
Task Force Start Time Options with Cost Estimates

After-School Activities & Sports
Before & After-School Care
Definition of Terms

Frequently Asked Questions

Upcoming Events


Changing School Start Times

The AACPS Task Force believes that adolescent students need at least 8 ½ hours of sleep each night to function at their peak. This is substantiated in the research literature on adolescent health. Specifically, when developing each  adolescent students   with the opportunity to sleep longer each night.

The Impact of Sleep on Adolescent Health

In 2014-2015, Anne Arundel County Public Schools will serve over 79,000 students, including  over 49,000 adolescents in grades 7-12. As a school system, Anne Arundel County is responsible for creating a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. Increasingly, research indicates that an essential component of ensuring student health is providing opportunities for students to receive adequate sleep. Studies show:

  • The average adolescent needs 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night but only gets about 7 hours.
  • When children undergo puberty, changes in their circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) make it difficult for adolescents to fall asleep before 11 PM ( , 2014).
  • Over time, this continued lack of sleep becomes chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep impacts every aspect of a child’s mental and physical health. Research suggests that inadequate sleep can lead to shortened attention spans, obesity, increased illness and sports injuries (University of Minnesota, 2014) . In 2014, Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, the Director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota, conducted a three-year study across three states to examine the impact of later high school start times on health and academic performance. The findings from this report show the dramatic impact that sleep can have on students' mental and physical health. Specifically, the study found that adolescent students getting less than eight hours of sleep reported:

  • Higher symptoms of depression;
  • Increased use of caffeine;
  • Increased instances of drowsy driving; and
  • Increased risk-taking behavior, including substance abuse.

This study also found that starting high school later positively correlated with increased performances on tests, increased attendance rates, decreased tardiness, and a decrease in the number of car crashes for teen drivers (Wahlstrom, 2014).  Although correlation does not indicate cause, a number of communities and school districts around the nation are considering later school start times, especially for middle and high school students.

In August 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a  statement  recommending delaying middle and high school start times to allow students to get more sleep. This statement coincides with AAP's " School Start Times for Adolescents " research report published in the September 2014   issue of Pediatrics. This report examines sleep in children and adolescents across the nation, stating “chronic sleep loss…is one of the most common—and easily fixable—public health issues in the U.S. today.”

For more information about the impact of sleep on adolescent health, please review this Task Force’s Resources on why students need more sleep ( click here ).

School Start Times Task Force   |   Anne Arundel County Public Schools   |   410-222-5000