The Fairfax County School Board approved a measure to investigate moving school starting times from 7:20 to 8:00 a.m., a motion that has resurfaced since it was intiatlly voted down by the board in 2009.
Although no plan currently exists to change start times, there is an intent “for the School Board to study how later start times could be achieved,” school board chair Jane Strauss said.
The revival of this issue can be partially attributed to the Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal.
Founded by Fairfax County mothers Phyllis Payne and Sandy Evans in 2004, the goal of the proposal is to establish later starting times in order to preserve student health and encourage academic performance.
Their efforts have been impeded by concerns over costs, bus scheduling and interference with students’ after-school activities.
However, SLEEP maintains that change can be achieved and implemented successfully based on examples set by neighboring school districts.
“Arlington, Loudoun, Falls Church and Alexandria have all found a way to provide start times after 8:00 a.m. while maintaining competitive and vibrant extra-curricular activities,” Payne said at a Jan. 30 School Board budget hearing.
In 2009, School Board members rejected a SLEEP-sponsored time change plan.
Strauss attributed that past failure to the inability to find “a way to make a change that was acceptable enough to parents, students and staff,” she said via email.
FCPS Superintendent Jack Dale will present more information on the high school start times topic at a June 11 work session.