Keep MMS Start Time
Dear Dr. Lane, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Siddiqi, Mr. Erbach, and other respected CCPS School Board officials:
Though we support the change in school times to reflect current scientific and medical findings about the health of our adolescents and appreciate the steps you are taking to protect high school students, we earnestly request that the School Board reconsider its proposal to open Manchester Middle School one hour earlier than its current start time of 8:25.
Manchester Middle School houses a center-based gifted (CBG) program of approximately 360 students. We are very concerned that greater consideration was not given to the specific needs of this particular CBG program, to the school that houses it, or to the schools that will be forced to accept students who no longer wish to attend Manchester due to the significantly earlier start time.
Tomahawk Creek Middle School, alone, has been saved from an earlier start time. When parents of our highest-achieving students are asked to choose between the best academic program for their child and their child's health, MANY parents will choose 90 extra minutes of sleep per day for those CBG students and send them to the school that is a quick bus ride away.
How will Tomahawk be affected by a sudden influx of exceptionally able students? Students in the school-based gifted program who have worked hard to earn high grades and awards will find themselves competing with students who can sweep assignments, tests, and awards with ease and who require a significantly greater challenge in the classroom. We doubt that Tomahawk's parents are excited about more crowding and less attention for their children in the school-based gifted classes.
How will Manchester Middle be affected by a drop in the number of students who bring the highest test scores and a great deal of PTA involvement? Manchester Middle benefits from its relationship with the CBG program just as the CBG students benefit from a specialized curriculum and a diverse school population.
We request that Manchester Middle School start at 8:30 instead of 7:30 to keep our preteen and teenage children enrolled in the CBG, to EVERYONE'S benefit. A great many students who come from the Clover Hill and Midlothian Districts will find it unappealing to make the longer and earlier commute to Manchester Middle School instead of a later and closer one to Tomahawk Creek Middle. This would result in unappealing changes at both schools.
Thank you for taking our urgent request into full consideration. The undersigned and many other parents and students appreciate your understanding in this matter.