The Fairfax County School Board will consider several proposals for changes in the bell schedules on April 23. The Children’s National Medical Center is recommending four different options to achieve the goal of later high school start times. Currently high schools start at 7:20; elementary schools start between 8:00-9:20, and middle schools start between 7:40-8:05.
Under the first option, which would cost $12.4 million, high schools would start at 8:10, middle schools at 8:50, and elementary schools between 7:35-9:40. For a lower cost ($7.6 million), high schools would start at 8:30, middle schools at 9:30, and elementary schools between 7:50 and 9:15.
There are two options which would start middle schools at 7:20. One option would cost $5.6 million, with high schools starting at 8:00 or 8:10, secondary schools at 7:50 or 8:20, and elementary schools starting between 8:00-9:20. The other option, costing $4.7 million, would start high schools at 8:10-8:20 and elementary schools between 7:45-9:10.
If we are going to all this trouble to avoid having high school students start school at 7:20, it doesn’t make much sense to say that the middle school students should start school at 7:20. Either 7:20 is too early for adolescents, and we should be willing to spend money to change it, or it is really OK to have such early start times and there is no need to spend money providing later times for just some of the students.
The Blueprint for Change also provides three other options ranging from no cost (modified high school/middle school flip), to $0.3 million (some elementary schools start at 10:00 and end at 4:40) to $2.8 Million (high schools start at 9:15 and end at 4:05).
CNMC recommends that eight community meetings be held in May and June. They also recommend that a revised proposal be presented as new business to the school board in September with a vote in October. Full implementation would be in September 2015.
Here is the text of the presentation that is on the agenda for April 23: [Read more...]