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School Start and Dismissal Times Committee

Update: On December 19, 2017, The Howard County Board of Education voted to retain the existing model for school start and dismissal times. Learn more →

Photo of school buses

The Howard County Public School System Superintendent charged staff to convene an exploratory work group. The charge directed staff to examine background research on high school start times with specific attention to student engagement, student achievement, and student well-being.

Learn more about the proposed models→

Watch our HCPSS Insight panel answer questions submitted by parents and the community→

The Five Phases

The group, chartered in September 2013, reviewed sleep studies/research, high school start times throughout Maryland jurisdictions, and additional information relevant to how shifting high school start times might impact other programs at all levels.

The committee’s work evolved to include five phases.

Phase I
Review existing research and conduct an exploratory study of shifts to school start and dismissal times and potential impacts.

Future direction: The committee will implement Phase III of the charter which includes the development of implementation models for elementary, middle, and high schools. Staff will develop costs associated with each model. The Board of Education will review the proposed models before they are presented to community forums. Information gathered through the community forums will be used to recommend action to the Board of Education.

Phase II
Establish a charter committee and seek stakeholder feedback.

Future direction: The Board of Education will review the proposed models and select the models that are to be reviewed at the community forums. Information gathered through Phases I-III and the community forums will be used to shape the future direction of school start times

Phase III
Develop scalable implementation models, prepare a detailed impact analysis for each model, and report to the Board of Education and HCPSS community on Phase III.

The School Start and Dismissal Time Committee will examine revised models and conduct impact analyses for each additional model. Once the results of the revised models have been examined and cost determined, an updated report will be prepared for the Board of Education.

Phase IV
Solicit additional stakeholder feedback through community forums. Report findings from community forums to the Board of Education for Board action.

Phase V
Develop a detailed implementation plan should the Board of Education approve a change in start and dismissal times.

Any potential adjustments to school start and dismissal times will impact a multitude of stakeholders including, but not limited to students, parents, daycare providers, bus drivers, school-based staff, community members, coaches.

Such an important decision requires a thorough process that provides multiple opportunities for stakeholders to carefully consider the realities associated with potential options and provide meaningful input that will ultimately be in the best interest of students.