Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Open Thread

Any burning issues?

I just heard yesterday that the district has told schools they need to schedule another tour after Mid-Winter break (either the last week of Feb or the first week of March). Check with any schools that you are considering but haven't made it to yet.

56 comments:

Sahila said...

AS#1 has tours scheduled every Thursday morning right up until the end of March (26th), and an Experiential Learning Fair Open House on March 11th at 6.00pm...

It's a whole school event and our classrooms will be open, you can talk with parents, teachers and staff and you can even make like a mountain goat on our climbing wall in the gym.... we think the queue for a turn will be long!

We'll be serving food and drinks, which we do at most of our meetings and community events...

www.as1web/com

chichlet said...

I am as frustrated as I can possibly be about the way the district has handled opening the new K-8 at Addams this fall. Open enroll beginning in two weeks, and we have very little information about this school.

As of now the only thing we know for sure is who the principal's will be. And we know that it will offer some type of advanced learning (Spectrum or ALO or ?), some type of foreign language (??), and art (??).

We know nothing else.

We don't know how large the school will be. We don't know if it will be a mushroom or a chimney k-8. We don't know if it will start out as a k-2 or k-5 and grow, or if it will start out as a k-8. We don't know what, if any, electives it will offer. What sports it will offer. What type of Advanced learning or languages it will offer. We don't know if it will offer 3 years of science like Eckstein or 2 like Salmon Bay. We don't know if it will offer advanced math up to int III like Eckstein or advanced math up to INT I like Salmon Bay. We don't know if it will have a strong band program. We don't know if it will offer drama. We don't know what type of art focus it will have.

We know nothing about this school, and yet open enrollment beings in two weeks. Is the district really expecting families to choose this school blindly? Do they think families will leave Bryant and Wedgewood and View Ridge and Laurelhurst and Eckstein for an unknown question mark of a school? Does the district even care? Maybe they don't. Maybe they are just planning for the k-8 to be the over flow school...a dumping ground or sorts?

I am thoroughly dissapointed in how this has all been handled. I was excited, and would have definately considered giving this new school a try (we live two blocks away), but I can't. How could I? How could I choose a school that I know nothing about? How could I send my child to a school I can't tour? A school whose principal I haven't met? A school whose teachers have not even been hired yet? Whose programs and offerings have not been set?

The sad part about all of this is the District had an opportunity to add a fantastic school to the north end. One that would be highly sought after and popular. One that would relieve some of the over crowding. I fear that this will not happen now. Of course, I hope I am wrong.............

adhoc said...

Above post by Adhoc, not chiclet. My son and his girlfriend were using the computer last night and she signed into her blogger acct and forgot to sign out. Sorry for the confusion
Adhoc

seattle citizen said...

no worries, chiclet!

h2o girl said...

AdHoc (Chichlet, hee hee) I totally agree with you. How can families sign up for the new K-8 with no information about it? It makes no sense. And will some kids get mandatory assignments there, or do you have to choose it like all the other K-8s? If it's opt-in only, will it be an enormous almost empty building next year? How would that help the overcrowding in the NE? Crikey. It seems like perhaps the district should have stuck with the original plan to move TC there. I know they didn't want to expand, but maybe they could've expanded slowly, with just K-6 next year, adding on for the next two years like Broadview did. It seems like since they are so popular they could've filled the building eventually, and the Decatur elementary would've been a mandatory assignment school, so they would've had enough kids to fill that bldg as well.

Keepin'On said...

My burning issue is what is happening with the assignment plan? They are supposed to be working on it now - in order to have changes complete and in place by June, I believe.

Especially at the high school level, this proposed change to neighborhood schools is going to impact A LOT of people, yet I have not heard anything concrete. Anyone have information on that?

TechyMom said...

Not all K-8 schools are opt in. Many people get mandatory assignments to Madrona.

adhoc said...

I thought that traditional K-8's like Madrona, Blaine and Broadview were neighborhood reference schools, and alt k-8's like TOPS, ORCA, Salmon Bay, AS1 and Pathfinder were opt in.

I assumed since Jane Addams k-8 is not an alternative school it would be a neighborhood reference school thus allowing mandatory assignment, but I have heard Harium say it will be an all cluster draw with all cluster tranportation, so I am not sure, and am a bit confused?

Megan Mc said...

"And will some kids get mandatory assignments there, or do you have to choose it like all the other K-8s?"

Broadview Thompson has a reference area (for the elementary at least) and kids can be assigned there.

My understanding from the board resolution is that the new K-8 will be a reference area school for the entire NE clusters. Anyone can be assigned there and they have already said that it will be the default assignment for Summit kids in those clusters. That was one of their arguments for making it a traditional school since you cannot give students mandatory assignment to an alternative school.

Basically they are saying we can and will send you there whether you like or not.

TwinMom2003 said...

I thought I heard Tracy Libros, when questioned by the board, say Jane Addams would not have mandatory assignments this year. But also that it could change with the rollout of the assignment plan in 2010-2011. I am not completely positive though.

I think the mandatory assignment that might catch people by surprise in the NE is Olympic Hills.

Megan Mc said...

From the report:
A small number of k-5 and 6-8 grade students will be assigned to the Jane Addams building initially. In addition, students with autism currently attending Summit at the Jane Addams building will remain in the building and become and become part of the new Jane Addams school. This provides a future opportunity for creating a continuum of services for students with autism in this part of the district.

Additional students will be assigned to Jane Addams through the normal student assignment process, which will begin on March 2, 2009. The program will be a K-8 cluster draw.

Charlie Mas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

I understand and appreciate adhoc's frustration. Let me see if I can help.

Yes, Open Enrollment begins in two weeks, but it doesn't close until six weeks from now. So there is really five or six weeks to get those questions answered.

As to the decisions, I guess the options were

A) take time for the representative Design Team and the community to discuss and consider the choices and make them in mid-March

or

B) have these decisions dictated this week from some nameless, faceless, unaccountable person or persons within the District bureaucracy without the benefit of discussion by the Design Team and the community.

All things considered, I'll take A.

nch said...

What about middle school students in the "north" cluster that are currently assigned to Whitman? We can't get into Eckstein because of the overcrowding, we live near AS #1, and my son was assigned as far west as you can go! We are hoping to have a shot at the new K-8 (if it's worthy) as it would be MUCH closer and so much easier for our whole family to plug in.

AutismMom said...

And let's not forget about special education students who have been given 0 information about the "integrated services". That too, will be at Jane Addams. So, how many staff will be there doing integrated services? What will they be doing? It's looking more and more like the district simply doesn't want to fund any more programs... and just wants to force people into schools with NO support. Also, funny thing about "integrated services". If there are REALLY integrated services, then there should be NO AUTISM self-contained program per-se at Jane Addams. The 2 are completely contradictory. The review said "Go to integrated services. Forget about specialty program, especially the programs based on diagnostic criteria. That practice is illegal." It sounds like they're just trying to save money, they don't want to put in any special education programs, or any services... and want everyone to go to autism self-contained programs (which have been promised.)

"Autism Continuum" is directly in opposition to "Integrated Service Delivery". So, which is it?

Megan Mc said...

nch - I would recommend calling the enrollment center and asking them about applying for the new K-8. My guess is that they would be happy to have you since they will have trouble filling the building in the early years.

north seattle mom said...

I don't think TC not wanting to expand had anything to do with them not moving. I think the only reason they didn't move TC is because of their alt status. Staff had mentioned flexibility of assignment during the board meeting when they changed the recommendation and so it seems like the only reason TC did not move was so that they could do mandatory assignments at multiple grades in the new program.

dan dempsey said...

About the Board meeting on Feb 11, 2009. Another lame unfinished agenda ....

At 3:30 PM on Wed 2-11-2009
I find on the SPS website for agenda.....

Chief Academic Officer's Update
math Update - presentation
bilingual update - presentation

Except when I click on the links for presentation I get:
NO presentation - Thank You placeholder ...

C.O.O update has actual presentations available.
Thanks D. Kennedy

As for the C.A.O. again a big No Thanks for No Presentation.

If one planned to give a thoughtful response to the presentation, it is pretty difficult when the presentation is not there.

Is this a website problem or a C.A.O. problem?

I mean NO math that is hardly unusual but this time it is NO bilingual either.

Moose said...

This doesn't exactly qualify as a burning topic but I thought I would get the word out to the blogosphere... heard on a high school tour today was the news that all SPS schools will have later standard start times (purportedly saving $ on transportation).
Elementary: 9:30 AM start
Middle and High School: 8:15 AM start.

timeslid said...

Taking advantage of the open thread I would like to ask why there is no APP representative on the Washington Middle School design team that currently has a student in APP? It would appear that this is counter to the promise made by the district that all communities in affected schools would have representation. Hamilton has an APP parent on its design team. Something I am missing perhaps? Or is this another case of saying one thing at an awkward time to appease an injured party only to renege later.

Keepin'On said...

9:30 elementary school start times?

That had better be a mistake.

What time is the release then - 3:40?

h2o girl said...

Thanks much to everyone who mentioned that several K-8s do have mandatory assignments. I love this blog.

TwinMom2003 said...

I checked with a member of the design team and Jane Addams will have mandatory assignments (if needed.)

adhoc said...

Charlie, you're right given option A or B, I would take A too. But what about an option C?

Option C - Open the new K-8 in the fall of 2010/11.

This would give Summit time to move out.

It would allow the design team to carefully plan the school instead of rushing through it hastily.

It would allow time for community input.

It would allow families to tour the school before they had to sign up. They could get all of their questions answered (electives, sports, advanced math, etc)

It would give families an opportunity to meet the teachers and the principal.

It woluld allow the district ample time to market the new school, have a booth in the SPS school fair, get the info in the enrollment guide, and garner some buy in.

I know their is a capacity crisis, and I don't know if plan C is actually feasable. But plan A and B both stink, although Charlie is right, A stinks a bit less.

adhoc said...

Charlie, you're right given option A or B, I would take A too. But what about an option C?

Option C - Open the new K-8 in the fall of 2010/11.

This would give Summit time to move out.

It would allow the design team to carefully plan the school instead of rushing through it hastily.

It would allow time for community input.

It would allow families to tour the school before they had to sign up. They could get all of their questions answered (electives, sports, advanced math, etc)

It would give families an opportunity to meet the teachers and the principal.

It woluld allow the district ample time to market the new school, have a booth in the SPS school fair, get the info in the enrollment guide, and garner some buy in.

I know their is a capacity crisis, and I don't know if plan C is actually feasable. But plan A and B both stink, although Charlie is right, plan A stinks a bit less.

And, there might even be an option D!

Option D - The new school could open this fall as a K/1 since this is where the major capacity crunch is in the NE. K/1 grades do not require as much planning (no electives, or language, or sports, or advanced math, to work out) Then, the school could grow to a k/8 the following year after the design teams had adequate time to do proper planning, community engagement, get teachers hired, etc.

Just a few thoughts. I hate to complain without offering what I think would be a better solution. So there's my 2 cents.

north seattle mom said...

Adhoc, I think you posted that your kids go to Bryant. Did you get the handouts last Sept when they first started talking about capacity issues in the NE that went to all the NE elementary schools? In those handouts, they talked about converting libraries to classroom space and adding over a dozen portables (if they could actually buy them) at the NE elementary schools so that they could make room for next year's K classrooms. They had all of those meetings because the district had already converted all of the easy spaces with this year's K classrooms.

The Summit conversion for the 09/10 school year was so that the district didn't need to spend the millions of dollars on extra portables. So that is why this can't wait a year. If they wait a year, they have to buy the portables.

Now, the real question is that since they knew all of this back in Sept and then they voted on repurposing Jane Addams in October, why did they wait until Feb to make a design team.

Also, none of this excuses Summit's eviction. Moving them to save the cost of the portables, I can understand. Closing them when there is so much excess capacity all over the district was just inexcusable.

adhoc said...

Sorry to repeat, I'm having technical problems tonight....

There might even be an option D!

Option D - The new school could open this fall as a K/1 or K/2since this is where the major capacity crunch is in the NE. K/1/2 grades do not require as much planning (no electives, or language, or sports, or advanced math, to work out) Then, the school could grow to a k/8 the following year after the design teams had adequate time to do proper planning, community engagement, get teachers hired, etc.

Just a few thoughts. I hate to complain without offering what I think would be a better solution. So there's my 2 cents.

Josh Hayes said...

I have a lot of sympathy with Chi -- ah, I mean, adhoc -- on this matter. I believe the district is acting in good faith here, that they really do believe they can construct a viable K-8 school ex nihilo, but I fear that reality will crush those beliefs.

Charlie points out that the Design Team will have some sort of plan in place before the close of open enrollment, but there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, and one would have to have a ludicrously optimistic view of human nature to expect the "design" to match up with the "school" which emerges in September.

I agree with adhoc: this is an important process. Rushing to put something, anything, in place, is foolish, because it nearly guarantees failure, or at least, half-assedness. I find the idea of starting up with K-1 classrooms only (and the existing resident autism classrooms) an intelligent idea.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Since this is an open thread, it might be a good time to think about what's happening in the State Legislature right now.

The Basic Education Funding Task Force completed its work in December and two bills based on the work -- 1410 in the House and 5444 in the Senate were introduced.

The bills are great. If they get out of committee and pass both houses, it will mean a complete re-definition of "basic" education. The state will finally have to live up to it's obligation to fund REAL basic education. The bills include six periods for high school, preschool for low income kids, improved teacher compensation and a re-vamped, simplified school finance model. Needless to say -- this is BIG.

But the teacher's union (WEA) has come out against the bills since they include performance and skill-based teacher pay. The WEA wouldn't say this though -- instead they're comparing the bills to NCLB, complaining that the bills will turn public education into "charter schools", etc.

Compare what's said about the bills on the WEA to the League of Education Voters website. Then you'll know you should write your Legislator and tell him/her to support 1410/5444 (quick! If the bills don't get out of committee by Feb 25 they'll die this year).

The Legislators are scared witless about opposing the WEA, so we need LOTS of parents showing support for the bills.

adhoc said...

North Seattle mom, would the addition of Olympic Hills to the NE cluster, along with Jane Addams opening as a K or K/1 next year be enough capacity to accomodate all of the incoming 2009/10 K students?

I forgot about Olympic Hills, and don't have the numbers, but that would be another source of some capacity.

adhoc said...

This is a crosspost from Harium's blog

I am wondering if the plan for the new K-8 is to create a new alt school or for it to become Summit re-invented?

Debbie Nelson, though not officially an alt school principal is a very progressive minded principal and would be a great match as an elementary principal in an alt school. Hmmmm.

Chris Carter is leaving his post at an alt school (AAA) to become the MS principal at Addams.

The only two parent advisors on the design team are parents from two alt schools (TC and Summit)

The school will have an art focus, just like Summit did.

I don't necessarily have a problem with an alt school housed at Addams (other than the fact that Summit couldn't fill their building) but I think the district should be candid about their plans. If the plan is to re-invent Summit or house a new type of alt school then they should communicate that clearly to the community. So far all of the signs point in an alt direction.

Roy Smith said...

Olympic Hills is not a popular choice in the North cluster, and the selection of schools in the North cluster is not nearly as attractive as in the NE cluster. I would not be surprised if there are some extremely disgruntled NE cluster families when they discover they have received a mandatory assignment to Olympic Hills.

Roy Smith said...

If adhoc is on to something (and I think he might be), we may end up with a school that is not that attractive to the alternative school community (between not being that alternative and the insult and injury to the community from closing Summit) and is not at all popular with those looking for a traditional, academically rigorous environment (because it is too "alt", like Nathan Hale).

I'm not at all sure that any problems are being solved here.

The only real advantage to SPS seems to be that students can now receive a mandatory assignment to Jane Addams. That might be convenient for SPS, but wielding that authority any more than is absolutely necessary is a recipe for continued disaster.

Meg said...

So I know that much of this thread right now is on the K-8. However, the blended kindergarten program at McGilvra is being discontinued.

This seems like small potatoes. In some ways, it is. The program serves around a dozen kids each year, and in a district of over 40,000 kids, that's not a lot. As small as it is, though (and as rough as it can be for general ed parents and some of the general ed kids), it's impossible not to be amazed by the progress the kids make, whether or not they're ready for general ed at the end of the year.

I am concerned about 2 things. 1) the disbanding of what appears to be a very successful program, despite the fact it does not serve very many kids and 2) that there may be many other special education program changes being quietly made.

adhoc said...

I just spoke with a member of the Jane Adamms design team and have some new information. She tels me that there will be parent representatives from Sacajewea, John Rogers, Summit and TC on the design team.

The TC rep that I spoke with is also a member of the NE Coalition. The NE Coalition was a group that formed to represent all NE cluster schools, including Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Bryant and Wedgewood. They voted unanimously to have her represent them on the Jane Adamms design team.

I know her personally and know that she has a broad perspective, and will be an excellent community representative for all schools.

The design team has their first meeting tonight.

Central Mom said...

Meg,
My impression is that despite the blended K program being discontinued, the idea behind it...making room for both special needs and general ed students in the same classroom (vs. separating out special ed kids for most of the day) is what the district is trying to achieve...and not just in K anymore, but all grades.

I don't know about McGilvra, but in many schools, after an initial blended K class, special needs kids were reassigned to other schools for the next grades. Now (theoretically, because I'll believe it when I see it in practice) those same special needs kids can continue to rise up at the same school where they start. That's an improvement for the special needs population.

I'm sure some blog reader with a special needs child can add more details or corrections to my understanding.

Danny K said...

There's going to be a 100-day sprint to make all those school changes that have been ordered.

I wonder what people's experiences have been with the process so far? At Washington Middle School, they've announced that the principal won't change and they've anounced the design team members, but that's about it. The cloud of fear, uncertainty and doubt lingers.

hschinske said...

Not sure where this should go (if already posted, sorry for duplication):

"Message from the School District:
The high school math adoption is nearing a conclusion. The Math Adoption Team is encouraging parent/child review of the proposed textbooks for high school that will be adopted for next year. The books are very different and will have a big impact on students' education as they reach high school.

The proposed new text books are available for viewing from 8:00AM to 7:00PM Monday through Friday at the second floor library of the Stanford Center until the 27th
of this month. Please stop by and have a look. Your input will be read and is an important part of the process."

anonymous said...

Here is some information on upcoming meetings: Special Education Small Group Parent Meetings with Carla Santorno, Chief Academic Officer
and Fred Row, Interim Special Education Director/Consultant


Seattle Public Schools invites parents of children receiving special education services to attend a continuation of small group gatherings with Carla Santorno, Chief Academic Officer, and Fred Row, Interim Special Education Director/Consultant. The topic of the meetings will center around special education services for the 2009-2010 school year.


The meetings will be held at the John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Avenue South on the following dates and times:


February 24th 7:00 – 8:30 pm room 2010
February 25th 7:00 – 8:30 pm room 2750
March 10th 7:00 – 8:30 pm room 2010
March 11th 10:00 – 11:30 am room 2700


The meetings will be limited to 15 participants. Please RSVP to Pam Klopfer at 252-0054 or paklopfer@seattleschools.org.

anonymous said...

Meg,


Just some clarifications about Special Ed, the district has actually been very straightforward about disbanding the blended k programs.

Although the long term goal is to have integrated services for all grades and all schools, for the upcoming year they are focusing on risers (kindergarteners, current blended k children rising to 1st grade, as well as kids rising to middle and high school). They will be focusing on several schools in each cluster for this new integrated model.

Self contained "programs" are not going to change for those kids that truly need this model. The district is allowing blended k kids at McGilvra and Bryant to stay at their schools if they choose and transportation is provided by the parent if its out of cluster for the family. The kids at the Experimental Education Unit, which is another blended k in the district, will be transferring into their home cluster schools (since there is not a 1st grade offered at the EEU). I sure hope there is space at the "over capacity" schools for these kids that have been historically forced to go far and wide (often out of cluster) to be in an appropriate program.

Hopefully this clarifies some of the "program changes" being made in Special Ed. Also, there are some written communication pieces coming out to parents, principals, teachers, etc. There was a pretty comprehensive information sheet handed out this past Friday. More to come...

jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jason said...

The APP Advisory Committee sent the below out today. The district is not done messing with APP. An 8am start time!!!! This would put many children on the bus starting at 7am. This is crazy. Yet another announcement right before a break. Thanks Seattle Public Schools!!! This WILL push people out to the district.

Transportation overview presented to School Board, February 11, 2009.
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/021109agenda/transportationpresentation.pdf

From page 8: Assumptions:
• All programs with middle school or older students will be considered as first tier programs when feasible.
• Due to school closures, some elementary programs such as APP may be moved to first tier bell time for maximum efficiency.
• Programs that draw from a large geographical area will have cluster-stop routing resulting in shorter ride times and fewer buses needed.
• Bell time differential is currently proposed at one hour-fifteen minutes with additional work needed to verify if a one hour or shorter
differential could be attained after cluster-stops and paired school splitting is accomplished.
• Proposed bell times are 8:00 and 9:15
• Bell time differential shorter than one hour-fifteen minutes will be considered for school year 2010-2011 after consensus has been gained that a shorter time is deemed appropriate.


From page 9: Schools to change to a proposed 8:00 bell time:
Aki Kurose, AS#1, Ballard, Broadview-Thomson, Cleveland, Denny, Eckstein, Franklin,
Garfield , Hamilton, Ingraham, Jane Addams K-8, Lowell, Madison, Madrona,
McClure, Mercer, Nathan Hale, Pathfinder, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, Salmon Bay, Sealth @ Boren , Secondary BOC,
Thurgood Marshall, Washington, West Seattle HS, Whitman

Sahila said...

There's no way I am sending my 5-6 year old to be at school (AS#1) by 8am...

It'll be late slips everyday... and all the letters the district wants to write me...

Ridiculous...

Josh Hayes said...

So, let me get this straight, the district wants more K-8 schools, but it wants the kindergarteners standing out in the rain waiting for the bus by 7 AM?

Are they completely mad? What an absurd idea.

Dorothy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy said...

Quite a bombshell. Although it would make more sense, educationally and developmentally, to have all elementary schools start at 8 and high schools at 9. But here the goal is to put some elementaries with the largest draws (therefore the longest commute) to an earlier time. Really what they should do is put schools with the smallest commute bubble -- maybe Bryant and the like where lots of kids walk with their parents-- earlier.

Dorothy said...

Now that I have thought about the start times for a bit, I think that maybe there might be some merit to the plan. Certainly some drawbacks for some, but possibly benefits for others.

Kindergarten kids at bus stops in the dark: How many little kids are left at bus stops without adult supervision? I don't think very many, but I could be wrong. Would Josh or Sahila leave their kindergartner at a bus stop alone at 8 AM?

Elementary school kids are supposed to get stops that do not require crossing an arterial, which leads to some serpentine routing. When my son was at Lowell, we could wave at the other group of kids 600 yards away, across the arterial waiting for the same bus. So walking to the bus in the dark - with an adult - should not be any more dangerous or onerous than it is now at 8AM.

Efficiency in traffic. My son got picked up at about 8:15AM and the bus was almost never late for school. However, I often volunteered at school starting at 9AM. If I left my house just ten minutes after the bus left, I invariably got caught in the Montlake Cut mess and was late. So given a choice of starting Lowell (where many kids would be crossing the cut on either I5 or Montlake) at 8AM or 9:15, it might make a lot more sense to start at 8AM.

The disappointment here is for the K8s, because many people tell me that a big advantage for them of the K8 is it avoids the middle schooler having to start school at 7:45AM. As noted in other threads, adolescents almost always have a biological clock that works against this. For some people I have talked to, this is one of their biggest reasons to choose a K8.

jason said...

This 8am start time would be a MAJOR problem for our family - I am currently thinking this is a non-starter for our family. I don't know how most elementary kids are, but my kids do not naturally wake up at 6:45 and neither do their parents. We currently wake them at 7:45 with effort. This start time would mean a 7:30pm or so bedtime for many kids. This really cuts into the time working parents could spend with their children.

The kids would be waiting for their bus in the dark part of the year. It seems extremely dangerous to me.

Sahila said...

I wont wake my son for school or anything other than an emergency (or perhaps a plane flight or a surgery schedule!)...

He goes to bed at a reasonable hour for his age but has had sleep apnoeia for most of his 5.5 years and doesnt wake until around 8am, sometimes later... he sleeps late because he needs it, not because he's lazy or we cant get it together...

Nevertheless, all things being equal, I wouldn't stand in the dark with him at 7am on a winter's morning, waiting for the bus... I wouldn't do that on a summer morning either... and I wouldnt ask any child short of their teenage years to do this... and I have already written on several occasions about the biological fact that teenagers' brains dont really begin to function coherently/intellectually until around 11am, so its a waste of time and money to expect them to be at school and to learn anything effectively before that time...

This all is just for the convenience of the system and is a hangover from the agrarian-to-industrial society transformation, which surely is no longer relevant - we aren't out in the fields any longer, sowing, tending and reaping from dawn till dusk; we arent working in the cities and having to go home in summer to help with the harvest...

Such unenlightened thinking, making kids carry the burden of cost cutting measures... but what else is new?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wrote to the Board when I heard 8 am start time for high school/middle school and asked if ANYTHING other than money is ever going to be considered when making decisions in this district?

If you are looking at academic outcomes for older students, 15 extra minutes isn't going to help (I didn't even hear about this K-8 eight am start - good luck with that.) I wrote to the Board about it and heard from Peter Maier about the Transportation department's presentation, can't go later, blah, blah.

So they aren't looking for the academic/safety outcomes from a later start for older students, it's just a money saver for 15 minutes for those students.

mom of 3 said...

Will the high schools that use Metro be forced to the earlier start time? We've appreciated Hale's 8:30 start.

And our kids are currently on a 7:45 bus for Salmon Bay - I can't see my aspie ready for the bus by 7:00, I just can't!

adhoc said...

Our kids were always voluntarily up bright and early during elementary school. They went to be early (8-9P) so were generally up by 7 or so on their own......even on weekends. It wasn't until puberty and the teen years that they really needed or wanted to sleep in.

Personally it would make more sense to me to have nieghborhood reference elementary schools start earlier, at say 8A. These kids generally walk to school or have a short bus ride, and wouldn't have to get up that early to make it to school by 8A.

The multi cluster and all city draw schools (elementary and k-8's) should start 9 or 915, as those students have longer bus rides and longer commutes. When my son went to Salmon Bay the start time was 915 but the bus picked him up at 815, so if the start time becomes 8A as the district is proposing the bus would pick up at 7A, and that is unreasonable.

For middle school and high school I would like to see a start time of 9 or 915A. This is when kids stay up later, and need a bit more sleep in the morning.

I wonder if Nathan Hale will be allowed to continue on the 830A late start time? I think HS's should be able to set their own start times as they mainly use Metro, so transportation costs really aren't a big factor.

Megan Mc said...

My kids already have to get up at 6:30 because I start work at 8am. The new start time would actually save our family money because I could drop them off at school directly instead of paying for before-school care.

I totally understand the sleep issue though - I've always wished I had a schedule that allowed me to let my kids sleep in until 8am. Kindergarten was brutal because they didn't have naps anymore to offset the early wake-up. I wonder if the new start times will bring back nap time for the little ones.

It will probably mean more kids needing school breakfast in the morning and a shift in lunch time to accommodate the earlier hours.

After-school care costs would also go up if kids are done at 2pm instead of 3pm. And many after-school programs rely on high school students.

I sure hope the district is taking all of this into account.

Sahila said...

I understand that earlier school start times would make life easier for families where the adults have to be at work at 8am... however, as Megan pointed out, earlier finish times would raise after school care costs and add to the dilemma for those who cant access those resources..

And, if it isnt already plain to people who have read any of my previous comments, my perspective comes from a space where people (children in this instance) come first and the system is designed to accommodate each individual's needs - physical, intellectual, social, cultural, spiritual, sexual etc...

I view the current model of 'civilisation' (including the education system) as being highly dysfunctional and toxic, where all living things are no more than units of economic production in service to a monolithic, power and profit-driven structure which is controlled by (comparatively) few individuals/groups...

The pyramid power and economic structure that operates virtually across the globe is inherently exploitative and ultimately unsustainable...

Those at the top (capstone) rely on, control and benefit from the efforts at the middle and the bottom... fear and insecurity force the middle to be forever striving towards reaching the top (which the top wont allow to happen) and the base has no hope of achieving any aspirations not directly related to survival...

And this structure is unstable because it relies on exploiting limited resources - one needs to co-erce, co-opt or convince/manipulate to ensure participation, which resources eventually run out or rebel.

The image/mataphor of the Egyptian pyramids and the pharaohs and the slaves who built those edifices is just as applicable and real today in the 21st Century as it was three thousand + years ago... which leads directly to the frightening realisation that we havent progressed/evolved very far as a species...

And I want more for my children than this sick model of life...and as our children begin to be socialised into that model in the school system, then logically change needs to happen in education...

JTW said...

New enrollment guides for 2009-2010 School year are now available for download from the districts website, www.seattleschools.org

katherine said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sarah

http://www.lyricsdigs.com