Four community meetings set on Montgomery proposal to change high school hours

Four community meetings have been set to collect public comment on a proposal released earlier this month to change bell times in Montgomery County schools.

The proposal, offered by Superintendent Joshua P. Starr, would allow high school students to sleep later in the morning by delaying the start of first-period classes to 8:15 a.m. Classes now begin at 7:25 a.m.

Schedule changes contained in the plan would affect students in all grades: Middle schoolers would start at 7:45 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than now, and elementary school students would see dismissal times shift 30 minutes later every afternoon.

The first of the four community meetings is scheduled for Oct. 28 at Paint Branch High School, 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville.

Another meeting will follow Dec. 16, at Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Drive in Rockville.

After winter break, a third meeting is set for Jan. 6 at Seneca Valley High School, 19401 Crystal Rock Drive in Germantown.

A final meeting is scheduled for Feb. 10 at Montgomery Blair High School, 51 University Blvd., East, in Silver Spring.

School officials say the meetings will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m, with free child care available for children ages 4 and older. Interpretation services will be provided, they said.

Montgomery officials will also conduct focus groups and surveys on the issue, which was explored by a work group that Starr created in December. The work group issued a report that was released as Starr offered his proposal.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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