Should We Implement a New Bell Schedule?

Priscilla Bermudez, Copy Editor

Miami-Dade County is currently exploring new bell times for their public schools. These new start times would be implemented starting in the 2020-2021 school year. They believe that later start times would improve teen’s health and performance, and have proposed two bell schedules as of now. However the proposed schedules do not fit high schoolers’ time schedules due to the amount of extracurriculars high schoolers participate in and the amount of homework they receive.   

The current bell schedule consists of high schools starting at 7:20 a.m. and ending at 2:20 p.m. Elementary schools defined as  Pre-K to first grade start at 8:20 a.m. and end at 1:50 p.m. Schools from second to fifth grade start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m., with early releases at 1:50 p.m. on Wednesdays. Middle schools start at 9:10 a.m. and end at 3:50 p.m. 

Both proposed new high school start times would not be convenient for high schoolers. In Proposed Model 1, high schools would start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. In Proposed Model 2, high schools would start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. 

Though later start times are believed to have many benefits, such as more sleep and decreased stress for students, there are many cons that must be considered. 

Some negatives include students maintaining bad sleep schedules, causing transportation issues and less of a chance to participate in extracurriculars, among other problems, according to the personal finance blog, Vittana

Later start times lead to later release times. These later release times cut into the time students have to do homework and participate in sports and extracurriculars. One proposed solution to this issue is holding extracurriculars before school. If this ends up happening, it would negate the purpose of implementing a new schedule. 

High schoolers have a tendency to procrastinate, so pushing back release times would cause them to start their work later, causing them to go to bed at a later time. Transportation issues would arise when older siblings could not pick up younger siblings due to conflicting times or if they could not care for younger siblings after school. Additionally, the amount of workload highschoolers receive might discourage them to participate in extracurriculars because of their lack of time to do work. 

The effects of these new start times on students needs more careful consideration by the district before they are implemented. To voice your opinion on the subject, take MDCPS’s  bell schedule survey here: https://surveygoldcloud.com/s/F84D432A19574AAD/44.htm

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