Most county high schools open late for HSAs

May 21, 2002, midnight | By Rachel Fus | 18 years, 8 months ago

Unlike many high schools across Montgomery County, Blair classes will start at the normal time of 7:25 a.m. during the week of May 20 through May 24 while the High School Assessments (HSAs) are administered.

The majority of Montgomery County high schools are opening their doors at times varying from 10:30 to 11:50 a.m.

Blair joins only Einstein, Kennedy, Springbrook, and Walt Whitman High Schools in beginning classes on time. The rest of the 22 high schools in Montgomery County delayed their openings for students not taking the HSAs.

According to Brian Porter, the Director of the Department of Communications for Montgomery County Public Schools, the decision to begin classes on time was left up to the principal and administrators of each school.

Richard Wilson, the testing coordinator for Blair, cites academic concerns as the reason for Blair's regular opening. "There was near consensus that we didn't want to lose the 3 hours everyday you would lose by administering the test," Wilson said.

Blair's start time was decided at a meeting between the Administrative team, Instructional Council, and the Faculty Advisory Committee.

Wilson said that at a recent principals' meeting many schools justified late openings due to scheduling difficulties. Caitlin Kressy-Smith, a student aid in Richard Montgomery's main office, said that administrators informed students that the delay was because "it was too difficult to have tests taken and teachers in different places."

Dr. Gregory Pleasant, the assistant principal at Damascus High School, explained that Damascus opened late due to overcrowding. "We wanted to avoid large group testing and make the test environment more conducive for the kids," he said.

Blair's decision to begin the school day at the usual time has been met with mixed reactions among the student body. "It would be better if we got off because it disrupts the class when there are so many people missing that the teacher has to change the [lesson] plan," said junior Anthony Labrosse-Ellis.

However, sophomore Anna Benfield sees the faculty's side. "I would love the sleep, but it doesn't make sense to get out of class for tests that we're not taking," she said.

Additional reporting by Lindsay Hocker

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Rachel Fus. Rachel Fus, a junior in the Communications Arts Program, is looking forward to her second year as a photographer on Silver Chips staff. As a cheerleader for the Montgomery Blair varsity squad she gladly accepts the contortionistic challenge of taking pictures while throwing people in … More »

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