FCCPS proposes new bell schedule

Students from MEHMS walk off their morning buses into school. Typically the middle and high school have started later, but with many moving parts interacting with both schools it will be easier for both schools to be on the same bell schedule. (Photo courtesy of Falls Church City Public Schools).

Students from MEHMS walk off their morning buses into school. Typically the middle and high school have started later, but with many moving parts interacting with both schools it will be easier for both schools to be on the same bell schedule. (Photo courtesy of Falls Church City Public Schools).

A new proposal by the FCCPS system is suggesting a common bell schedule for Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School (MEHMS) and George Mason High School, which for Mason students means school would start 10 minutes later next year. A common schedule would mean both schools have an 8:10 a.m. start and a 3:00 p.m. end.

MEH’s proposed bell schedule would be altered, cutting off twenty minutes in the school day, while George Mason’s bell schedule would start ten minutes later (8:10) and cut off five minutes of time in the school day.

“The idea of the time change is that George Mason and Mary Ellen Henderson are on the same time schedule,” said Dean of Students Erik Healey. “The reason that came to us is that we have [middle school] students taking high school classes and we also have teachers teaching at both schools so we want to align our schedules.”

The proposal was introduced this past year by the MEH Principal Mr. Ty Harris and meetings have occurred between GM and MEH administrators throughout the process. The proposal will need to be approved by the school board before it is initiated.

With the current proposal, the middle and high schoolers would not share the same buses, rather pick up and drop off times for buses would be altered to accommodate the common schedule for both schools.

Personally, I don’t know why GM and MEH can’t ride together, but some parents have concerns,” Principal Harris said.

The class times at GM would remain the same, however the four lunches that GM currently has would be changed to three lunches and the seven minute transition time between classes would be changed to five minutes.

The schedule change will begin in the 2016-2017 school year if finalized and approved by all parties involved.

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