State schools Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery recently shared her thoughts with The Gazette on several issues relevant to Montgomery County Public Schools, including possible bell times changes, state funds for school construction and school safety.
Lowery said she thinks those discussing Montgomery County’s possible change to school bell times should consider how they might affect students’ ability to participate in extracurricular activities. She said she has also heard concerns raised about the extra time that might be added to the elementary school day.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr proposed in October, among other changes, that high schools start 50 minutes later in the morning to help students get more sleep.
A change at the high-school level would affect the system overall, Lowery said, given “the reality of transportation” in the county that uses the same buses at different times to get students of all levels to class and back home.
Lowery said she thinks that students who put a lot of time into their academics and other work will continue to do so regardless of a later start time.
“Students who are high-performing students are going to be high-performing students,” she said.
On the topic of state resources, Lowery said Montgomery isn’t the only county that needs more aid to address growing enrollment.
Other counties with smaller resource banks are “impacted just as much” by the growth they face, though it might not match Montgomery’s in terms of numbers, she said.
Lowery said it is important for the state not to fund some districts to the detriment of others.
“Again, it gets to a level playing field and everything is perspective,” she said.
Speaking on the issues of school shootings and safety, Lowery said she thinks schools should work with sister agencies and develop training sessions for students, teachers and others to build awareness and incorporate “early alerts.”
She said she’s not sure that schools are educating students about “the reality of their decisions.”
“It’s about real people, real lives,” she said.
To read more on Lowery’s thoughts on the Common Core State Standards and the new state assessment, check out my story that appeared in our Friday paper.