First Day of School for APS Students

by ARLnow.com September 6, 2011 at 9:36 am 2,521 18 Comments

Arlington public school students headed back to the classrooms today.

From the scheduled 7:50 a.m. start at middle schools to the 9:24 a.m. start at the H-B Woodlawn secondary program, from kindergarten to 12th grade, students made their way to school this morning on foot, on the bus and via car.

No significant problems with the back-to-school effort were reported, at least not from a public safety perspective.

As the school year starts, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy released a ‘welcome back’ video for students and parents. Also, Murphy announced that Deirdra McLaughlin has been appointed Assistant Superintendent for Finance, replacing the retiring Mary Beth Chambers.

  • JimPB

    ArlPSs have NOT implemented well the moving back in the start time for high school that research on the sleep of adolescents shows is needed. This robust research shows that the average adolescent needs more sleep and gets sleepy later. So, the start of high school should be moved back to accommodate this biological feature. When this is done, attentiveness increases, especially in the first period class, and grades and educational achievement test scores improve.

    When should high school start be so the sleep needs of adolescents are adequately provided for?

    Gets sleepy around 11 pm.
    Needs about 9 hrs sleep, which means awakening around 8
    Breakfast, grooming, getting to school: start high school a bit after 9, at the earliest.

    Yorktown High School’s current start date: 8:19.
    School day currently ends a few minutes after 3.

    Yes, moving back the end of the school day to a few minutes after 4 would squeeze current after-school activities.

    What comes first — learning or activities?

    A resolution: two schedules, one with the current start and end of day for those who put activities first; the other with the later start and closing times for those who put learning first.
    The school schedules would be the same for both groups from the 9+ start time to the 3+ end of day time.

    • parent


      Schools should adapt to the kids, not the other way around.

    • KalashniKEV

      “This robust research… the start of high school should be moved back to accommodate this biological feature.”

      Here’s some real robust research- the day begins when the sun comes up. When the day begins, so does your day’s work. That mean’s quarter to 6 in the summer and 7:30AM in the winter.

      If you really wanted to increase alertness, attentiveness, and achievement the day should begin with some “robust” physical activity and a light, healthy snack.

      • KalashniKEV


      • KalashniKEV

        I have no idea why my last comment didn’t post, but I hope you don’t currently have children!

        Babies are a whole different thing, but yes, that is how you condition small children to adopt normal sleeping patterns- by getting them up and going when it’s time to start the day and running down their energy before it’s time for bed. A nap or two in the middle is OK, but not for too long.

        I’ll bet you were one of those kids who downed a liter of Cola at 9:30PM and then ran around the house screaming and torturing your parents though, right? 🙂

        • drax

          Right. So people start out as babies with different sleep cycles, and gradually get to adult sleep cycles, with transitions in between.

          Those transitions includes something called “adolescense.” And like with babies, people in adolescence have non-adult sleep patterns that cannot simply be completely ignored.


      • AllenB

        I hate when I find myself agreeing with Kev, but he’s right. Not everything in life is geared to someone’s exact sleep cycle. Get over it.

        Do you want colleges to ban 8am classes as well?

        • drax

          How about we make you show up to work at 4 am, and when you complain, we tell you go get over it?

          • AllenB

            We’re not talking a difference of four hours (4am to 8am); we’re talking about a difference of one hour according to the original comment (819am to “a bit after 9).

            But nice red herring attempt.

        • Tabby

          Banning is a bit strong, and college students have more flexibility in their schedules (and often live close enough to nap between classes–I know I did).

    • Lou

      My high school schedule was a little different from those suggestions.

      More like watch Letterman, fall asleep around 2:00 with MTV on.
      Get up at 4:30 to do my Washington Post route.
      Crawl back in bed and sleep from 6:00 to 6:45.
      In class at 7:30.


      • Tabby

        Pretty close here.

        Usually watched Letterman but, more often than not, had so much homework I was doing that until 1 am.

        Woke up around 7, could see breath because Dad would keep the thermostat as low as possible. Sprinted to shower, ran back freezing and jumped into bed (electric blanket still on, cats everywhere). Fall asleep again. Wake up to brother yelling “you’re making me late to school!”

    • Arlington teacher

      Our schools DO start late. I used to teach at a school that started at 7:05.
      Problem with even later times is that kids can’t compete in sports.

  • Richard Cranium

    Those Who Value Education vs Those Who Value Activities?

    Haven’t you left out “Those Who Value Trying To Figure Out How to Get High in the Bathrooms Without Getting Caught”?

  • R.Griffon

    ARLnow: Calendar link is 404.

    • So nice of APS to take that down without warning. We’ll remove the link.

  • annoyed parent

    and APS’s much-touted new system to fill out all those annoying first-day forms is now crashing all over the place. we all want to use the system, but it sounds like someone didn’t scale it properly, making the servers rather unhappy. and as someone who has filled the form out twice and has lost all the data twice, i am not a happy camper. neither are other parents, who are reporting the same thing.

    WTG, APS

    • Another Annoyed Parent

      Hey, Arl Now: Annoyed parent is right. Nice story idea. How did APS manage to so poorly implement something it should have done right a decade ago?


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