By Garrett Athey
The Howard County Public School System has recently become interested in changing the school start times for the 2017-2018 school year. The topic has developed into more of a pressing idea lately since other counties in Maryland, such as Montgomery and Anne Arundel, have changed their school start times to later in the morning.
Parents were given an opportunity to express their opinions on what time school should start next year for each level at the Board of Education meeting. The county has proposed that all middle and high schools will start no earlier 8:15 AM and elementary schools will start anywhere between 7:30 and 8:15 AM. They have also requested that the school day be six hours and forty-five minutes which increases the elementary school day by fifteen minutes. Model One has high school starting at 8:30 AM and ending at 3:15 PM, and Model Two has school starting at 9:15 AM and having the day end at 4:00 PM. Meetings are currently being conducted for parents and community members to meet with the board of education to further develop their ideas and possible schedules.
The proposed schedules bring both positives and negatives to students’ lives and there have been mixed feelings to the proposition by Glenelg students. The positives of school starting later are students have more time in the morning freed up or have the opportunity to get more sleep. Junior Anushka Desai feels, “The time change would be great, students get more sleep which will help them in school.” Having more sleep gives students more energy so that they can participate in class and be physically ready to learn. Katie Landry, Junior, agrees that the time change would be beneficial because, “it would allow students to sleep in and be more productive in class because they would have more energy.” However, the time changes does not only benefit students, as there are some negatives that come about from school starting later.
The downside to the time change is significant because school will end later in day, causing students and teachers to get home later and extracurriculars like sports to begin late in the afternoon. This poses possible complications for teachers as many of them have families that they need to take care of and will not see them until later into the day. Freshman Zack Devlin, feels that the proposed time change is, “Terrible because we will get home later in the day and will have less time for sports.” Having less time for sports is a big worry for students as they already get home in the evening after practice. Junior Austin Steckler feels the same way about the change in start times saying, “It’s pointless, we will have less time in the afternoons for homework and extracurriculars.” Homework is another big concern for students because teachers already assign a lot of homework and the new time change means less time to do the assignments.
Only time will tell how serious Howard County is about changing the start times since the concept is so new and sudden. There is positives and negatives to both sides, but the change, if passed, will surely affect the lives of students in all levels of education in the county.