Thursday, January 09, 2014

Seattle School Board Meeting re: Later Start Times for Secondary

I do want to note a couple of items before attending to the subject of the thread.

Director McLaren was not in attendance at last night's meeting. Also, the student speaker, Mallory Richey of Roosevelt, told the Board and Superintendent that they are working more on school pride and have "Rider Pride" cards that they send home with students to their parents, letting the parents know a good thing - either kindness, leadership, etc. - that their student did that contributed to the life of the school.  Great idea.

After attending part of last night's Board meeting, I feel somewhat differently about later start times for secondary students becoming a reality at some point in the near future.  Here's why.

Most of the speakers for public testimony were speaking in support of later start times and boy, did the supporters find some good speakers.

One was Michael Vitiello who is a UW professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  From his UW page:

Dr. Vitiello is an internationally recognized expert in sleep and sleep disorders in aging. Dr. Vitiello serves as chair of the Sleep Disorder's Research Advisory Board (SDRAB) of the NIH's National Center for Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) Established by an act of Congress the SDRAB is chartered to provide advice to the NIH Director, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Director, and the NCSDR Director on matters related to planning execution, conduct, support and evaluation of research in sleep disorders.

Dr. Vitiello is founding Co-Editor and Editor-in-Chief for the Americas of Sleep Medicine Reviews (SMR). SMR articles review the clinical information published in peer-reviewed journals devoted to the many disciplines involved in sleep medicine and provide International coverage of sleep disorders, their etiology, diagnosis, treatment and implications for related conditions at an individual and public health level.
Another was Frederica Merrell, a parent and teacher.   She made the valid point that most parents are working parents who are already up and getting their kids out the door, no matter what time school starts.  She said she stands in the dark at the bus stop - along with other parents with young children, middle schoolers and teens - every day. 

Another was Vishesh Kapur, a parent, a UW Board-certified professor of medicine, who told the Board "the science is clear."  He even brought in Secretary Duncan's own words of support to back up his position.  Apparently Duncan said that education leaders need to run schools not for buses but for children.

Dr. Kapur, UW Professor of Medicine, is the founder of the UW Medicine Sleep Center. He directs the UW Medicine Sleep Laboratory and the UW Sleep Medicine Fellowship. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and has board certifications in sleep medicine and pulmonary medicine.

One parent, David Folweiler, another supporter, said that one of his teen daughters said she was glad she had PE first period "because I don't have to think."

Another parent, Dianne Casper, cited a Brookings Institute study.

Since children’s time of day preference shifts towards eveningness as they get older, their cognitive functioning is likely to be at its peak more towards the afternoon than in the morning. Thus, if important basic classes such as reading and mathematics are taught in the morning, older school children will be learning this critical material at their less-preferred or non optimal time of day, resulting in poorer school performance than might be found were the courses in greater synchrony with circadian arousal rhythms.”

Restricted sleep for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds is more likely to be associated with diminished cognitive outcomes.  

In fact research calculates that:

 “[e]arly school start times reduce performance among disadvantaged students by an amount equivalent to having a highly ineffective teacher.

I spoke on student data privacy which actually was quite the topic early in the meeting when lead SPS counsel, Ron English, talked to the Board about his efforts around the now-defunct agreement between OSPI and the Seattle Times.  (I have some very interesting answers from OSPI about the last agreement and I mean interesting in a troubling way.)  Mr. English had some good and bad to say about the issue.  Clover Codd followed up with what I would term "the ugly" because it was a lot of patting on the head and saying don't worry.  (Sorry, but the district is NOT being transparent or forthcoming about what they are doing, there is NO real and visible data policy.)

This district really has a major disconnect between what they say and what the reality is at headquarters and at the website.  Somehow in their heads many things exist but try to find them in a real-time plane of existence and you won't.  That needs to change.

More - much more - on student data privacy to come.

There was also one very moving testimony from parent Cathy Moore who described, in vivid and frightening detail, what happened to her Garfield freshman son during the day of froshing.  You could see the Directors getting visibly upset.  And she ended saying that someday a child will die from this nonsense and she's right.  But tradition, you know.

The Directors' Comments did touch on the issue of later start times.  Director Carr was the most direct in recognizing that whether or not later start times for secondary schools come to SPS - the work on that discussion MUST start.  No more, "next year."  She, and several other Directors, want to see a timetable for this work.  If Tracy Libros can get this work done, creating a timetable for the work, I think someone else can as well.


Anonymous said...

So until we have money to bus ALL students later to school, have PE, art, band/music, and other non core classes in the early periods and keep math, science, LAs later in AM thru PM?


Anonymous said...

Do you think our District will every fix high school bell times? Melissa's reporting of the discussion seems to make it like some insurmountable task.

Other Districts don't seem to have nearly as much drama and confusion when it comes to clear-sky common-sense. I guess we really are *special* in Seattle.

I thought this was a true priority for President Peaslee. Wasn't it one of her 2 issues that she cared most about when running (math and high school start times?)? She is Board President now. She seems to enjoy a position of strength and support from her colleagues. Can't she make this happen?

Before she her term is up, can't she make this happen? The busing savings never seem to materialize regardless of the strategy, and, the costing analysis never seems to be done, or, be done right, OR, more importantly, include the consequences of student failure as a cost of the early start times. So, if you want high school to be aligned with teen age brains to maximize student learning, especially when it comes to economically disadvantaged children, then, keep on making your priorities known! School is first and foremost for academics, not to warehouse kids, and so arguing that you need them released earlier to babysit other kids is not fair to them or their futures.

This is not about making later high school start times, it is about making good high school start times!

-kids not buses

Anonymous said...

This is encouraging news for those of us who advocate for later start times. Thank you for the update!

What are the next steps as far as the Board is concerned? Is it still of value to write to them? Are there other steps you or anyone else might suggest?

-sps parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, what exactly was your question?

Kids, President Peaslee is very on this one but I'm sure it can feel like a voice in the wind without real backup. That said, I think Peters and Patu really get it. (I think they ALL - staff included - get the science of it but do they think the outcomes worth the effort? No, even though that research is also there.)

SPS Parent, for my part I'd say join the parent group pushing for this, write the Board AND the Superintendent, write letters to the editor at the Times and Crosscut or your neighborhood blog, most of all, get your PTA to organize around it.

That last one takes some courage because you'll get real blowback but if you use the facts in a calm manner, you'll probably win some converts. But PTA is where it will happen.

Anonymous said...

The board and staff are smart to take their time on this. The community is not aligned or even aware of swapping start schedules, as compelling as the case for late starts for high school seems. Seattle process takes time and outreach, neither of which SPS does well in its ready fire aim fashion.

Been There

Anonymous said...

Been There,
Who said anything about 'swapping'? I didn't. Elementary start times and High school start times are independent variables, from my perspective. Engineering appropriate start times for the teen age brain, based on clear and compelling evidence-based science, is what it is: it is about high school student learning, so that kids are prepared for college, careers and life.

Please, let's not get hooked into the classic red herring arguments by dragging in other issues. This is about high school and only high school. Doing what is right by teen age brains so that they are in the best possible situation to learn and thrive, that is what the discussion to focus on. Student learning matters!

-kids not buses

dw said...


I had to read the comment by curious 3-4 times myself (difficult to follow due to wording), but it does make sense if you read it as intended.

The suggestion is to have non-core classes in the early morning, reserving late morning and afternoon for the presumably more cerebral classes.

I'll make an attempt to answer as well:

Unfortunately, scheduling doesn't work that way. Math teachers can't all teach periods 2-6, nor can all PE classes be periods 1 or 2. Even pushing toward that goal would be difficult, if not impossible, given how difficult it is to build master schedules.

Beyond that, it's not that ALL later hours are great for strong brain function, just that the earliest hours are not good. I think many of us can attest to being more sleepy right after lunch, for example.

dw said...

And Melissa, thanks for continuing to follow the student privacy issue, it's extremely troubling in many ways.

I have a (only somewhat tongue-in-cheek) suggestion for the blog definitions on the right side. The definition of FERPA says: "A federal law that protects students' privacy", but I think it should be changed to:

"A federal law that PURPORTS to protect students' privacy"

or perhaps

"A federal law that USED TO protect students' privacy"

Melissa Westbrook said...

DW, FERPA is NOT to protect privacy (as I am learning more and more). It is to protect student educational records and yes, they are two different things.

mirmac1 said...

It is true that after all the keening over out-of-control transportation costs over the years, and after the schedule disruptions and "Blue Ribbon" task forces - the district still does NOT save money. And you can lay bets that the blame will be placed on special education or McKinney-Vento transportation.

It was just last school year that I heard the blame for no Transpo cost savings on "unexpected" SpEd Pre-K costs. I mean who could have reasonably expected to know that SpEd Preschool has different start times than the schools they're located in...!? Of course I am being facetious. If any one should know, it would be SPS Logistics and transportation!

SpEd is an easy scapegoat. I thought when DeBell left the blame game would end.

DianneC said...

On Tuesday at the Transportation meeting, the staff said moving bell times was a huge issue that would require two years of study and a project director costing $200,000. On Wednesday at the Board meeting, the Transportation proposal included changed bell times for 35 schools, including five schools changing 30-35 minutes and another 4 changing 20-25 minutes- all pretty significant changes affecting over 4000 families, plus thousands more with smaller changes, mostly in the wrong direction. Why is it seemingly impossible to change bell times to something rational and student centered, with strong science supporting it, beneficial to academic achievement, teen health and safety, but the staff can propose and potentially realize significant bus-centered bell time changes within two weeks???

I think they will say that it is about cost savings associated with this proposal- over $3 million-but in reading the proposal, I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) the savings will mainly come from the discontinuation of 26 grandfathering clauses, not from the changes in times. I don’t understand why making three clean tiers is so much more efficient that the slightly staggered times we had before- in my mind, it seems less efficient, but I would welcome comments from people who know more about transportation. Bob Westgard has told me repeatedly that shifting school bell times is basically cost neutral, as long as there are still three tiers.

Also, this is not just about high school times, because, as long as we have a three tier bus system, some kids will have to be at school at 8 am. As any parent knows, most young children wake up early and their best learning time is early- recent studies show their academics do not suffer from an early bell time, and it may even improve their learning.

There is also the concern about kids waiting for a bus in the dark. We could minimize that danger by having the schools with the smaller attendance areas (elementaries) and the least number of bus riders have the 8 am starts. Most of those kids would be walking with a parent after sunrise for pretty much all of the school year, or waiting with a parent at a bus stop.

Our middle and high school students currently are traveling in the dark for many months of the year. High schools have the largest attendance areas, so, by definition, high school kids have some of the longest travel times- some are out waiting for buses at 6:15 or 6:30. They are not safe out there- numerous middle and high school kids nationwide are killed or sexually assaulted each year while going to school in the dark.

A rational, student-centered bell system would minimize the kids walking in the dark and maximize their ability to be rested enough to learn. Melissa has some hope that this change can actually happen- I hope so too. Do what you can to mobilize your PTA, write your letters, sign the Seattle Start Schools Later petition- and we could actually make this change happen.

Cindy Jatul said...

Yes, Melissa, as a founding member of Start School Later-Seattle, I agree that in the past 20 months we have made tremendous progress in convincing the board that moving to later start times for secondary students will improve learning, will reduce the achievement/ opportunity gap, and will improve health and safety issues (less car accidents, less high risk behavior, etc.). These benefits are documented in the literature and easily available through national SSL.

We have been stymied in our progress by the recent stance by Charles Wright and Banda to NOT do any work on this issue unless the board "prioritizes" later starts for secondary students. We could get this vote if we continue to advocate for this prioritization.

In terms of the impact on elementary students, the two issues are connected. Education is not fully funded by the state, the district is facing an 18.8 million gap and transportation is inefficient. They can't add more busses so that all schools could start later. One solution is to have elementary go earlier and secondary later. We conducted a survey of 700 elementary families in 4/12 and the majority we supportive of this, as long as elementary starts no earlier than 8:00. Many elementary parents find the current late starts for elementary detrimental, as it means needed to pay for before school care.

You can support our advocacy for later starts for secondary students by signing our petition and urging board members to make this a priority!

Anonymous said...

Just curious - my kids aren't in high school yet, but isn't it the case the the substantial majority of high school students either walk or take metro, rather than riding school busses? In which case, why is changing the start times such a huge issue? It would seem to be fairly independant of other school start times if most kids aren't being bussed. Am I missing something?

Mom of 4

zella917 said...

Middle schools start just as early as high schools, and I believe they are included in this proposal. They still require bus transportation, though less than elementary students.

Anonymous said...

The middle schoolers in my neighborhood who were outside the 2 mile walk zone got metro cards, not yellow buses.

-hs parent

Lynn said...

hs parent - that's strange. This year's transportation standards say:

Middle School students who live within the boundaries of the Seattle Public School District and who live more than 2.0 miles from their assigned school are eligible for transportation. District arranged transportation is provided for those students attending a middle school in their service area or linked service area. ORCA cards may be provided for students attending a school outside of their service area or linked service area.

Were these students who lived in another attendance area?

Anonymous said...

There are still special ed kids who get bus service. Nathan Hale has quite a few special ed kids but I am not sure how many arrive on buses. I am sure some are able to take metro but others require yellow buses.


Lynn said...

Here's a link to the Spring 2013 Transportation Quarterly Report. More information on busing than you will ever need - but it does give a good overview of how many buses go to each school.

dw said...

Great link Lynn.

Total Bus Routes Summary:
Basic(A): 370
SpEd: 340
Bilingual: 10
Gifted: 35
Homeless: 2
Early Ed: 11

I had no clue that SpEd has almost as many bus routes as all of general ed around the entire city. That's eye-opening, for me. Did everyone else know this?

At the risk of offending mirmac, and I don't like to do this because I admire much of what you do and stand for, Special Education is indeed expensive. We can badmouth DeBell day after day (and I've done my share, believe me), but I think it's an undeniable fact that it's expensive to serve special-needs kids. I am making no judgements about what's right and wrong, nor how we should prioritize, just acknowledging the monetary costs. I certainly don't have any magic fix-all ideas, though I wish I did.

After reading the above, I'm trying to wrap my head around why there are so many SpEd bus routes necessary. Are they mostly for kids with physical disabilities that need extra care getting in and out of the buses? Are they mostly smaller buses serving a small number of kids? Can't many, or at least some SpEd kids ride regular school buses if they attend schools in their own area? Maybe it's obvious, but what am I missing?

Melissa Westbrook said...

DW, the link is between a couple of things you already thought of.

One is that the district has promised to keep kids close to home and that means making Special Ed (except for extremely fragile, etc) available everywhere.

Two, there probably are issues around having Special Ed kids on regular buses. I don't know for sure but I suspect it's personnel and protection of those kids from other kids.


mirmac1 said...

I don't disagree dw. It IS expensive. I just found the misleading excuse given for last year's overrun to be specious.

Actually, if more SpEd students WERE served closer to home than transpo costs would drop, of course. SpEd students receive door-to-door service so the bus routes are more circuitous and take longer. More buses and routes are needed. Rides often take 50 mins or more.

The reason my child gets transportation is because the middle school in our service area does not have appropriate services.

I wish more of our students could ride with GenEd students and be unmolested. If rules of civility and behavior were enforced, if there was culture of acceptance and respect, this could happen.

Wouldn't a bus monitor be cheaper than buying more buses/routes?

I saw a GenEd bus today with a wheelchair lift. Right on! I doubt it's ever used though.

And don't worry. I'm more often the offender, than the offended.

dw said...

I don't disagree dw. It IS expensive. I just found the misleading excuse given for last year's overrun to be specious.

Got it. I've seen so many replies about his comment, but I never heard or read it in its original context.

Wouldn't a bus monitor be cheaper than buying more buses/routes?


One of the concerns I had immediately after posting was safety amongst other students. This is a concern for all kids, frankly, (some more than others, ahem APP), but SpEd most of all. With some of the crazy-crowded buses I too have wondered why there couldn't be some bus monitors.

Surely some small handful of these 340 SpEd buses could be reduced if parents felt comfortable that their kids would be safe from abuse, either verbal or worse. A single route-reduction ought to be able to pay for several (parent?) paid monitors. As it is now, the bus drivers have to watch the road and manage unruly kids at the same time, and at times I'm sure it's not safe.

Do ALL SpEd kids get door-to-door bus service? One problem I see in our district is that many people, not just parents, but sometimes staff as well, tend do lump all SpEd kids in one bucket, but there are many different categories of SpEd. Some need special services like door-to-door bus, but not all. I hope what they're doing makes sense, because 50 minutes is a long time for any kid to be on a bus, and for some SpEd kids that's probably pushing intolerable.

The reason my child gets transportation is because the middle school in our service area does not have appropriate services.

This is unfortunate, but I doubt it's reasonably possible to offer all the different types of SpEd services at each and every middle school, right?

Hasn't this particular aspect improved somewhat over the past couple years with the new emphasis on local services? I know it's not perfect by any means (or maybe not even "good" yet), but I'm curious if the trajectory from your vantage is headed in the right direction. Offering more services in a wider array of locations is desirable in some ways, but has its downsides as well, which is simply that you're likely to not receive the same quality of care due to fragmentation of teachers and care givers with the specific necessary education and experience. I suspect that particular aspect would be similar to the problem APP is having now, getting split and sprinkled all over town. Instead of making sure there are qualified, experienced teachers (few exist), the principals just assign some random GenEd teacher and hope things work out. Too often they don't.

mirmac1 said...

I think some students who could do well (with a helpful and supportive monitor) are those with autism spectrum disorders, including my child. As it stands, she has struggled to protect and/or witness others be cruel to her friends on the after-school activity bus.

All secondary schools should offer all services (except DHH and MF). This is not a reasonable expectation for all primaries. Hopefully the new service delivery model will get rolled out properly and more students can at least stay in their MS service area.

Cindy Jatul said...

Middle schools and high schools are serviced by buses and therefore it isn't possible to de-link secondary start times from transportation. We considered it at Roosevelt, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't feasible. We couldn't have bused students arriving significantly earlier than all the other students.

Fortunately, transportation says that flipping transportation schedules so that elementary would go early and secondary the later tiers is possible. They will set arrival times according to board direction.

When my kids were in elementary their late start times were problematic, necessitating paying for before school care.

Several board members are concerned about a backlash from elementary parents if schedules are flipped. SSL did a survey last April which showed support, as long as elementary didn't start earlier than 8:00.

What do people think about flipping elementary and secondary schedules?

Lynn said...

I like it. What times are you thinking?

DianneC said...

Thanks for your question- specifics are critical. When people hear 'flipping', they have a wide variety of times in mind.

The times Seattle Start Schools Later are supporting are:

High Schools- 8:40 (tier 2)

Middle Schools- 9:15 (tier 3)

Elementary- Tiers 1, 2 and 3,
(with schools having mostly walkers and shorter/fewer bus routes on Tier 1, and progressing up from there.)

This is a rational plan based on maximizing student learning, safety and health.

High school should be in Tier 2, since they generally have the longest travel times, and need more sleep. This 40 minute difference is enough to significantly help them, yet still not severely impact after school activities.

Middle schools should be Tier 3, since they also need more sleep, but they don't generally have the after school pressures as the high schoolers do. They also would be generally traveling to school alone, and this schedule keeps them in daylight.

Elementary- Younger children wake up early and as long as we have a 3 tier system, should be the ones to go to school early. They also have generally the shortest travel times, since their attendance areas are the smallest. We can minimize walking or waiting in darkness by strategically setting the schools with the most bus riders later than the one with the least riders. If needed we can work on accommodations for special cases.

My current hope is for the Board to set this as a priority for staff work at their March 8th retreat, with a deadline of implementation by Fall 2015. Peaslee is a strong supporter and I hope she will be a leader in this effort.

Anonymous said...

A lot of special ed ignorance out here. Let's talk about those.

It seems a forgone conclusion that "special ed IS expensive".

Really? Special ed students are ALL funded at twice the rate of other students, no matter how insignificant their disability. Yet, we have no idea how expensive any sped student really is. If we don't know how expensive they are, we can't really say "special ed IS expensive." We can all assume that special ed is expensive. But, we should also acknowledge that the district is richly compensated for serving them.

Far fewer than half the special ed students receive "door-to-door" transportation. The overwhelming majority use the same transportation as others. Some students receive "door-to-door" bus service all the way through high school.

And finally: no, all schools don't have all services for special education students - at any grade band level. Some people think that all middle schools could provide all special education services (or most except for the true speciality programs). So far, this is pipe dream and students continue to be served at far flung sites - requiring transportation from every city region, to every other city region. When a program in region A is "full", students are then shipped to another location B , requiring a bus route. Read $8,000. That route must exist for however many years a student is enrolled. Notably, there are often reverse bus routes for students living in region B going to school A because the B program was full the year before.

Could some of these routes be streamlined? Absolutely. Ballard HS has 2 door-to-door routes servicing Magnolia, each with 4 or 5 students. Seems like a waste to me.

-sped parent

mirmac1 said...

Sped parent. Sped transportation is expensive. I'm well aware, as you know, of the financial shell game SPS plays - particularly with those students with Specific Learning Disabilities that are served (adequately or not) via resource room. Their double funding goes towards those with higher needs or, sometimes, towards a principal's particular whim (like at Ballard).

Once SPS quits making excuses perhaps we can locate services reasonably closer to home....

Anonymous said...

The issue really isn't "closer to home" for special ed transportation. It's predictable. Once a kid is on a bus, the difference in any given route (long or short) is negligible. The problem is too many routes - because students are shipped off to everywhere from everywhere else. Or busses nearly empty. Those are the real cost drivers. The district should look to reduce routes.

-sped parent

Anonymous said...

Can I point out that school starting at 8am may work for ** some** elementary students (Mine sleep from 8:30 pm until 8 am - you know, little peeps need 11 hours of sleep too, and they sure as heck don't go to bed at 6 pm) ... but WHAT THE HECK time are they out of school then? Two pm? Where does a 6 or 7 year old whose parents work go for the next 4 hours until someone is home? Or the hour and a half before the middle school sibling is available?

Frankly, I find the whole start elem school earlier/high school later discussion completely IGNORES the end times. Like the Really Big Problem with the flipped end times will just go away if we don't talk about it.

There are massive safety issues about letting little kids out that early, when older siblings or neighbors are not available for a longer period of time.

And saying the district surveyed people and they want later start times is so bogus. We know how well done other district surveys are. Why are we cherry-picking and assuming this survey was conducted more accurately than any of the boundary ones? Because it says what some people want it to? Who were those people? Were they the working parents of young elem. kids without the income for more or longer afterschool care? More hours of care = more money, period. It's not a wash b/c lots of people make different types of before and after school arrangements ... lots of jobs have a little flexibility about morning start, but who the heck is off work at 2 pm?

I know friends who leave their tier 3 elem. kids home for about an hour by themselves, but two and a half hours or more is VASTLY different.

Signed: Safety >Sleep

Anonymous said...

Sleep is related to safety in many ways. Car accident rates decline when secondary school start times are moved earlier. Sports injuries also decline. Rates of depression & anxiety for teens decline.

I don't know what elementary school schedule can possibly cover parents' working hours. Some jobs require you to be in early for the opening of the NYSE, some require you to work late to meet with evening customers, some require 10-12 hour days, some people work weekends.

Moving elementary start times earlier will help families who need to be at work at 8:00. It won't help those who need to be at work at 5:00. It may be harder on families who can get off work at 3:30 but not earlier. There should be public afterschool programs available to families who can't afford childcare, or maybe they should be paid wages that cover childcare. Balancing our community's disinterest in childcare on the backs of all our teens (who are also children) seems unfair.

-Need Sleep

Anonymous said...


accidents numbers decline when secondary school start times are moved later.

-need sleep

Anonymous said...

Safety >Sleep. Kids go to after school clubs for those few hours (on site, Girls and Boys Club etc.) We pay for morning and after school care as we both work, and school starts at 8.40 for our 4th Grader.

North End Parent.

Anonymous said...

I'm not clear on the issue for elementary kids getting out earlier. My sense is that an earlier start time for elementary kids would reduce the amount of before school care. And a later start time for middle and high schoolers would really help those of us who are struggling with a teen biorhythms.

Also, there is all of this debate on Special Ed buses--what?? Are you kidding me? Special Ed kids already at a great disadvantage--why make things harder?

APP kids on the other hand--why do they get special bussing? I don't understand why this group gets so much special treatment for choosing to be in a special program. I think they should abide by the regular bussing rules. It's ridiculous to have APP students get bused to school while gen ed students in the same neighborhood have to walk or take the city bus to the same school.

HIMS parent

David said...

Safety > Sleep -

Do people you know really leave their young elementary child home alone? Really? They walk or take the bus home and have house keys and take care of themselves until parents get home? No kid under 10 should be doing this. That is nuts. Every school I know has after school care, or van service to nearby after school care. Yes you have to pay for it but who really thinks that jobs dovetail with elementary schedules. That is part of the cost of being a parent, honestly. The really late starts for elementary only started a few years ago. People have had to deal with after school care for a long long time.

Lynn said...

HIMS parent,

I see that students who live in the McClure, Whitman and Eckstein attendance areas and attend HIMS for continuing language immersion services are losing their transportation to HIMS next year. I believe the district's theory is that language immersion is an optional program for these students and they have access to a basic education at their attendance area school.

This isn't a good idea - unless the district wants to limit access to immersion programs to students in Hamilton's attendance area.

The situation for APP students is different. APP provides them with access to the basic education that's not available to them at their attendance area school.

Space available transportation on APP buses should still be an option from the McClure and Whitman attendance areas.

SchrefflerFamily said...

I used to live in Seattle and moved to Texas 5 years ago. Just for the way it works in another district -- the elementary schools here start at 7:40am. The buses go around, pick up all the elementary school students, drop them off. Then they go around and pick up middle school students. Middle school starts at 8:05am. Then they go around and pick up high school students. High School starts 9 AM.

At the end of the day, they do the same thing again. Pick up Elementary School Students, drop off at home. Pick up Middle School Students, drop off at home. Pick up High School students.

AS a parent, I really appreciate this. The elementary schools (which are through 5th grade) open at 7am. My 1st grade kid is picked up (as one of the first on his route) at 6:55am. I believe they get to the school ~7:20a. No before care is needed and there is after care available (for a cost) at the school so no transportation worries either.

I know some parents moan and groan about having to get up "That early" but I guess we've been lucky. Our kids have always been early birds, up between 5:30 and 6am no matter what we do. And most 8-5 jobs require you to be up at that time anyway, getting ready.

Plus I really like that it lets teenagers get to school later. AS has been stated here, there is convincing evidence that teens are the ones that need to sleep in. And it is at the high school level that the grades really become "REAL" -- so it doubly important they are able to do their best work and be well rested.