MontCo Superintendent Wants Later Start for High School Students

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MontCo Superintendent Wants Later Start for High School Students

High school students in Montgomery County may get to sleep in a little longer if a recommendation by the county's superintendent is approved.

Superintendent Dr. Joshua P. Starr has recommended that the county's high schools start at 8:15 a.m. -- 50 minutes later than its current start time.

The recommendation follows a 10-month study by the 2013 Bell Times Work Group. Teens typically need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep each night. But the group found that thanks to 6 a.m. wake-up times, many students are not getting a sufficient amount sleep. While the effect sleep deprivation has on academic achievement is inconclusive, Starr says the health benefits are clear.

“I am making this recommendation because I believe it is in the best interests of our students. There is extensive research that demonstrates that adolescents are simply not getting enough sleep. This is a public health and safety issue,” Starr said.

Under Starr's recommendation, middle schools would start at 7:45 a.m. -- 10 minutes earlier than their current time while elementary school students would tack an extra 30 minutes to the end of their day leaving at 3:35 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Currently, Montgomery County elementary schools have the second shortest school day in the state.

The Bell Times Work Group will now work to determine what impact an extended school day would have on elementary school students. A series of public meetings, focus groups and surveys will then be held for public input.

"I believe this is an important issue. I know there will be a great deal of public discussion about this recommendation and that it is likely to generate a great deal of passion," Starr said.

The plan has a preliminary cost of $12 million a year. If the new start times are approved, students wouldn't see any changes until the 2015-2016 school year.

Montgomery County is not the only school district thinking about pushing back start times for high school students.

School officials in Fairfax County, Va., hired a team of sleep specialists at the beginning of the school year to help develop a plan to delay the start time for high schools. The school system is looking to move the high school start time to 8 a.m. or later. Nearly all county public schools currently start at 7:20 a.m.

In making their determination, the team will look at crash rates, depression and school performance.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

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Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

The Ravens liked their draft, and so did Las Vegas.

In mid-March prior to the draft, the Ravens had 40-1 odds to win Super Bowl 51, according to Bovada. After their 11-player haul in the draft, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds have improved to 33-1, according to Bovada.

Here are the six teams whose Super Bowl odds improved most dramatically after the draft, according to Bovada:

Browns – 150-1 to 100-1

Redskins – 50-1 to 40-1

Jets – 50-1 to 40-1

Giants - 33-1 to 25-1

Raiders – 33-1 to 25-1

Ravens – 40-1 to 33-1

Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld, the Patriots remained the favorites for Super Bowl 51 (7-1), followed by the Seahawks (8-1), Packers (10-1), Steelers (10-1), and Panthers (11-1).

As for the AFC North, the Ravens still have their work cut out according to Vegas. The Steelers and Bengals (18-1) still have better Super Bowl odds than the Ravens.

So if you believe the Ravens are a better team after the draft, Vegas would agree. However, it remains to be seen if the Ravens will be improved enough to get back into the playoffs.

Nationals make big jump in updated sportsbook World Series odds

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Nationals make big jump in updated sportsbook World Series odds

Bovada has released their updated World Series odds after the first month of the 2016 MLB season and the Nationals are rising the ranks. They are now tied for second in best odds to with the World Series with the New York Mets. The only team ahead of them is the Chicago Cubs, who they face in their next series beginnning Thursday.

Here are teh full updated odds courtesy of Bovada:

                                            Odds on 4/4/16             Current Odds (5/316)               

Chicago Cubs                                       5/1                    5/1                                           

New York Mets                                      12/1                  10/1     

Washington Nationals                            18/1                  10/1

Boston Red Sox                                   14/1                  12/1     

Chicago White Sox                                33/1                  12/1

Toronto Blue Jays                                 10/1                  12/1                                         

Kansas City Royals                               14/1                  14/1     

Los Angeles Dodgers                            12/1                  14/1                                         

San Francisco Giants                            8/1                    14/1                                         

Texas Rangers                                      25/1                  18/1                             

Pittsburgh Pirates                                  20/1                  20/1                             

St. Louis Cardinals                                18/1                  20/1                                         

Detroit Tigers                                        20/1                  22/1                                         

Seattle Mariners                                    40/1                  22/1                                         

Arizona Diamondbacks                          25/1                  28/1                                         

Baltimore Orioles                                   40/1                  28/1     

Cleveland Indians                                  18/1                  33/1

Houston Astros                                     16/1                  33/1     

Los Angeles Angels                              40/1                  33/1

Oakland Athletics                                  66/1                  40/1     

Miami Marlins                                        50/1                  50/1

New York Yankees                                25/1                  50/1                                         

Tampa Bay Rays                                   40/1                  50/1                                         

Colorado Rockies                                 150/1                75/1                                         

Philadelphia Phillies                               150/1                75/1                                         

Minnesota Twins                                    50/1                  125/1                                       

San Diego Padres                                 125/1                150/1                                       

Cincinnati Reds                                     125/1                200/1                                       

Milwaukee Brewers                                125/1                200/1                                       

Atlanta Braves                                       150/1                500/1                                       

Weber preparing to replace Schmidt on Caps' blue-line in Game 4

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Weber preparing to replace Schmidt on Caps' blue-line in Game 4

PITTSBURGH -- Left wing Marcus Johansson is expected to be in the lineup tonight in Game 4 when the Capitals look to even their second-round playoff series against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center.

So is defenseman Mike Weber, who told NHL.com he will be in the lineup tonight against the team he grew up watching. Weber is expected to replace Nate Schmidt, who was a minus-1 in Monday night’s 3-2 loss in Game 3.

While most of his teammates participated in an optional morning skate on Wednesday, Johansson played a spirted game of soccer knockout with teammates T.J. Oshie and defenseman Matt Niskanen.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Johansson will be “available” to play tonight but said reporters would need to wait until warmups to see if Weber, who grew up in nearby Cranberry Township, would be in the lineup. Weber is expected to be paired with Taylor Chorney, while Dmitry Orlov, who was benched in Game 2, is expected to be paired with John Carlson.

“I was born here and raised here, but I want to compete for the Stanley Cup, so any game it’s nice to get in,” Weber told NHL.com. “It’s nice to be able to compete with my teammates here.”

As for Schmidt, who logged 13:31 of ice time in Game 3 and was on the ice for Carl Hagelin’s goal, Trotz said he’d like to see better decision making from the 24-year-old blue liner.

“You have to be acute at this time and I didn’t think we were as good in that,” Treotz said. “We don’t have time to pat the guy on the back. You just move on. …  Nothing’s personal; it just needs to be done and you have to make those tough decisions.”

Trotz said he thought Weber was “real solid defensively” in his only playoff appearance this post-season, a series-clinching 1-0 win over the Flyers in Round 1.

Trotz on Letang: Asked his reaction to the one-game suspension issued to Penguins defenseman Kris Letang for his open-ice hit on Johansson, Trotz replied: “My reaction to the suspension is the league dealt with it and he’s not playing today so we have to take advantage of them missing a real terrific defenseman.”

With Letang out of the lineup it appears defensemen Justin Schultz and Derrick Pouliot will make up the Penguins’ third defense pairing, and Brian Dumoulin will be paired with Trevor Daley on the Pens’ top unit.

“All of us D men have to step up,” said Schultz, who has not played since Game 1 of the first round. “He’s a hard man to replace. I don’t know if you can replace him.”

Dumoulin said all of the Penguins’ blue liners need to be aware of the Capitals’ strong forecheck, especially after seeing the Caps deliver 58 hits in Game 3, nine of them from Alex Ovechkin.

“He’ll definitely take that extra step and try to finish you and we have to be aware of that,” Dumoulin said. “We know he’s going to finish sometimes a little high, too. We’ve got to be prepared and brace ourselves for those hits.”

Fehr out? Penguins forwards Eric Fehr and Bryan Rust did not participate in the Pens’ optional morning skate and both could be out of the lineup tonight, with Oskar Sundqvist and Tom Sestito possible replacements.

Sundqvist, 22, is a 6-foot-3, 209-pound Swede with one career playoff game. Sestito, a hard-hitting, glove-dropping, 6-foot-5, 228-pounder from Rome, N.Y., also has one game of NHL playoff  experience.

In 141 career NHL games Sestito has 41 fights and 451 penalty minutes.

“We’ll have to keep our heads up,” Capitals right wing Andre Burakovsky said.  

Goalie carousel: Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he’ll go with Matt Murray as his starting goaltender for Game 4, even though Marc-Andre Fleury appears to be ready to return from a concussion.

"Matt is obviously playing really good hockey right now and Marc is trying to establish his game and hasn't played in a while,” Sullivan said. “With as well as Matt is playing, common sense would suggest that we should probably stay with him. Having said that, we think we have two really good goalies that we can rely on to help us win." 

[RELATED: Mike Weber 'wanted to be a Penguin,' but now wants to beat them]