Whether it’s by the calendar or the clock, Jennifer Moss wants to see a time change when it comes to Williamson County Schools.
As a candidate for the Williamson County Board of Education’s District 3 seat in the Aug. 6 county election, and a challenger to incumbent Eliot Mitchell, Moss would like for WCS to adopt the year-round school system.
And though she recognizes the logistical challenge of changing school start times, she said she’s also pushing for a switch in which older students would start later and younger ones would go to school earlier.
“I think year-round school is better for our kids,” said Moss, who has lived in Williamson County with her husband, Wayne, and three children since January 2017. “Children don’t have as much time off in the summer, so they would retain more information.
“The teachers don't have to spend weeks at the beginning of every year re-teaching,” she added. “The children get the same amount of time off each year. As a school board member, I'll fight for year-round school.”
Regarding start times, Moss joins a chorus of parents, educators and health professionals who insist teenagers naturally sleep later than younger students and can be more productive if allowed to coincide with their body clock.
“The current start time doesn’t work with the kids’ natural cycles,” Moss, mother of two middle school students and one in high school, said. “Younger kids get up earlier in the day. Teenagers don’t start functioning until almost 9, and it doesn’t matter what time they go to bed. That isn’t relevant. Teenagers are not set up to start early in the morning.”
Moss concedes the current schedule is more accommodating for after-school activities, and that changing a schedule could be in conflict if surrounding districts remain the same. Still, she insisted, a change would ultimately be ideal.
“It would be nice if elementary started first,” Moss said. “Elementary kids don’t go to school until 8:15 or 8:30. The high schoolers have to be on a bus at 6:30 or 7 in the morning. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
This is Moss’ first foray into politics, a fact she believes gives her something of an advantage.
“I’m a mom, not a politician,” she said. “I think it’s an advantage that my kids are in school right now and I have a parent’s perspective. Mr. Mitchell’s kids are grown and [out of school]. I think a parent’s perspective is different.
“I have three children who attend school here and I hear about the good and the bad. I would like to see decisions made that are more geared towards the children and teachers than the administrators.”
Though Moss hasn’t taught in a typical school environment, she said she does have education background in her job as a medical coding auditor and educator.
“I teach physicians and non-physician practitioners how to improve their documentation and coding so they bill insurance correctly,” she said. “I teach in person and online.
“People have asked me, ‘What are your qualifications?’ Since there aren’t any standards, all I can say is that I’m passionate about education. The only equalizer of socio-economical division is education.”
The Williamson Home Page is profiling the five candidates running for Districts 3 and 5 seats on the Williamson County Board of Education. Up next is District 5 candidate Jen Aprea.