Monday, January 06, 2014

A Start of a New Day for SPS?

I doubt it.

I'm reading the presentation for tomorrow's Work Session on Transportation and School Start Times.  

Staff is explaining why they could not implement any change to high school start times in 2014-2015.  There are valid reasons, of course, but then there are several references to "all stakeholders who will be affected need to be consulted and kept informed."  

You read that and think, "Is the district finally getting the message on that kind of transparency and consultation?" 

I would not hold my breath.  I think it's just a fairly convenient reason to NOT make the effort this year.  (And by effort, I don't mean change the start times for 2014-2015 - I mean actually start the process that they say is needed.)

I think the Next Steps/Questions is something of a throwdown to the Board but frankly, one the Board should consider.   Did they really get the right information to decide on district priorities?  It's unclear to me.

And I have to laugh at the nerve, yes nerve, of anyone to say that the "Equitable Access Framework" is a priority. 

The Board has asked for that framework for years.  In fact, it was a running joke for Kay Smith-Blum to regularly, each and every year (and several times a year) ask where this was.  And now, it's a "priority?"

Well, thank goodness for institutional memory or somehow these presentation slides might come across as reasonable and practical.  

22 comments:

Still reeling said...

The 3rd bullet point on the first page is comical when thinking of the 7 hour Board meeting in November that had the last minute amendments with no consultation of the affected communities.

Anonymous said...

When they say "limit transportation to neighborhood attendance area schools," do you know if this includes continued transportation for APP program students?

-curious

Eric B said...

Did anyone else notice that the proposed standards have middle and high schools starting at 7:35? So not only are they not doing a later start time, they're shifting to an earlier one. I'm so glad we had so much community engagement on that one!

Jamie said...

Eric I think (hope) that 7:35 is the arrival time for starting at 7:50.

Lynn said...

Eric,

That's the bus arrival time. There is typically a 25 minute difference between arrival time and start of school. (For breakfast service?) That gives high schools a 6 1/2 hour day - from 8 to 2:30.

Charlie Mas said...

Funny how they insist on going slow and doing a lot of "community engagement" and planning and such when the idea comes from outside the staff, but are very quick to move forward without any community engagement or planning when the idea comes from inside.

Charlie Mas said...

What exactly is the status of the Equitable Access Framework anyway?

What is the program placement process?

For something that has been a Board priority for three years shouldn't it be done by now? Do we even know what it will look like when it is done? Michael Tolley says that it won't be a single document but a suite of documents. When asked what is included in that set he names a bunch of documents that we already have. Does that mean that it's done?

Anonymous said...

Is this not the Equitable Access Framework, presented last Spring (2013)

Equitable Access Framework

Ann D

Anonymous said...

Does that mean Hale would lose its 8:30 start time? I am not cool with that.


HP

Eric B said...

Thanks for the corrections. I shouldn't have been allowed near a keyboard yesterday.

Mary Griffin said...

Speaking of Nathan Hale, my understanding is that there aren't going to be any more late starts or half days or early dismissals next year to accomodate part of McCleary. The legislature has ruled that for grades 6-12, there will be 1080 hours of school, and for grades 1-6, there will be 1000 hours of school. These changes apply to every school. For more on this, see these letter from the State Board of Education: http://1.usa.gov/1cyjEZM, and FAQ from the State Board of Education here:http://1.usa.gov/1koiHde.

I have heard from several people that this is going to cause a lot of problems in providing professional development.

Anonymous said...

The Transportation Recommendations -

Standardize to 3 [bus] arrival times: 1) 7:35am, 2) 8:25am, 3) 9:15am

Impacts -

21 elementary schools
1 middle school
4 high schools
10 K-8 schools (up to 30 minutes)


That makes it sound as though Hale may lose its late start.

-parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ann, that DOES look like an Equitable Access Framework (it's a good lining up of the issues) but staff is just laying it out. There is no direction to what is being done now, what they want from the Board and any kind of timeline.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, according to the list at the Ops meeting, Hale would indeed be one of the four. But looking at the chart, I think it would only push the arrival time earlier by 10 minutes but not the start time (if I were reading the chart correctly).

It would help if this were published somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would publish a bit more useful info. It say 10 K-8 schools are affected - as far as I can see, there are 12 K-8 schools total in the district. 7 currently start about 9:00 or a bit after; the other 5 start around 8:20. So, which ones are they proposing to change? If they just wanted them all on the same schedule, it wouldn't affect 10 of the 12 - they must be planning to flip-flop the currently early onesd to later & vice versa, unless perhaps they are planning to put them to the earliest tier, which would certainly make a lot of parents sit up & holler (both because of getting the kids there so early, and the need for after-school care for little ones finishing school at 2 PM).

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Never mind, I think I figured out what they mean with the K-8s. An 8:25 drop-off means classes starting at 8:50 - so the earlier schools would start 30 minutes later, while the later schools would start 10-20 minutes earlier. That would account for why it affects almost all of them, but it isn't too drastic a change for any.

Mom of 4

Charlie Mas said...

The presentation on the Equitable Access Framework from the Spring of 2013 was supposed to be the start of the conversation about that. Of course there has been no conversation about it since.

This presentation was to inform the Board of the extent of the problem, not to propose a solution, let alone announce that it has been solved.

It also presented a complete redefinition of what the Board wanted. The Board originally wanted a document that clearly described the program placement procedure. They never got one. They still don't have one.

biliruben said...

I am very much hoping that SPS is not really thinking of adding the addition of an insult of taking away busing from JA K-8, to the injury of throwing us out of the building we can currently walk to.

I can't figure out the notes, so I assume they haven't made that decision yet?

Charlie Mas said...

Transportation is provided while schools are at interim sites. JA K-8 is considered to be at an interim location until it occupies the newly renovated Pinehurst site.

Kindermom said...

That's the bus arrival time. There is typically a 25 minute difference between arrival time and start of school. (For breakfast service?) That gives high schools a 6 1/2 hour day - from 8 to 2:30.
Wow, that must not be true at the elementary school level. Several of the buses drop off at 9:20 or later...while the first bell is ringing. My anxious child hates being on the bus because she misses lining up with her class, greeting the teacher, and getting to her locker in a timely manner. I don't blame her, and it frustrates me that the school district doesn't see the message they send by not having the kids at school *before* the first or even the tardy bells.

Lynn said...

Kindermom,

You're right - for elementary schools it looks like the buses are scheduled to arrive 15 minutes before school starts. Here's the schedule for the current year.

Kindermom said...

Lynn,
That 15 minutes is a joke at our school. The kids aren't getting off the bus before the first bell rings. Technically, most of the buses may actually be *at* the school 10-15 minutes before the first bell, but those kids are waiting and UNLOADING as that 9:20 bell is ringing.

When my daughter rides the bus, she is technically tardy every time (not administratively, of course). On days she's off the bus and in the building before the 9:25 tardy bell, she definitely doesn't have time to put her stuff in her locker and be in the classroom on time.

And being a Tier 3 school means that the school day ends at 3:35, and one or two of the buses don't even arrive until 3:50 or 3:55. The poor faculty members are still getting kids on buses 25-30 minutes after dismissal, and the kids are surely not home until 4:30/almost 5pm.

(An aside: I do enjoy the late mornings we receive as a tier 3 scheduled school, and the later time lets my family and others figure out ways to get to school that aren't driving or busing. I also know it doesn't work for a lot of parents.)