Poll: Is Proposed FCPS Bell Schedule Right One?

by Karen Goff September 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments

FCPS Superintendent Karen GarzaAfter months of community meetings and a half-dozen school board work sessions, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza is finally ready to formally recommend a new bell schedule for the system. Garza will present the changes to the school board on Thursday, and the board will vote on it in October.

The new schedule, aimed at letting teenagers get more sleep, will have high schools starting between 8 and 8:10 a.m. (formerly 7:20 a.m.) and middle schools starting at 7:30 a.m. (formerly 8 a.m.). The changes would go into effect in 2015-16.

The majority of elementary schools will start about the same time as they do this year.

The Fairfax County School Board adopted a resolution in April 2012 to seek solutions to establish high school start times at 8 a.m. or later. It later hired experts from Children’s National Medical Center to develop a proposal and options towards that goal.

The experts said teens are chronically lacking in sleep and changing the start times would help their academic performance as well as physical and mental health.

However, the proposed bell schedule has one group of teens — the youngest ones, in middle school — actually starting school a half hour earlier, though Garza has said her goal is to work towards eventually moving middle school bells to after 8 a.m.

What do you think of the bell schedule?

Photo: FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza/File photo

  • MP

    Elementary should start first. This group of kids generally goes to bed much earlier, and is actually awake that early. Parents either stay at home or utilize daycare, so the impact to families would be minimal considering the majority. Middle school and high school should start later since they end up having similar schedules. Most importantly, middle schoolers do not need the most amount of unsupervised time after school since most are getting their firsts real taste of freedom, and are more likely to make questionable decisions than high schoolers.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    As for the traffic – it occurred to me yesterday that one big problem with switching some but not all of the times would be the AM drive to high school: if they’re not careful, high-schoolers will be driving directly past kids walking to ES and/or MS. Parents taking their kids to high school or kids driving themselves will get stuck in ES and MS bus and dropoff traffic, especially if they have to drive directly past an ES or MS to get to their high school. This all means more driving risks for the HS kids and parents who are driving AND more of a risk to the ES and MS pedestrians.


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