Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Seattle Schools with Possible Bell Time Changes for 2014-2015

 Update: this is a draft of Arrival/Departure times which, if those change, the bell times would change.  I am seeking clarification from staff but it would be mighty helpful if things were clear from the start.

End of update.

Readers had been asking about possible changes to bell times previously discussed by Transportation.  I could not find a link at the SPS website so I scanned it in.  I had to handwrite in "old" and "new" (for start times) as it had not been noted that way on the original.

As previously mentioned, most of these are 5-10 minutes with a few, like Laurelhurst being about 20 minutes. 

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

What if a school isn't listed (e.g. Lafayette)?

Also, what about middle schools? I don't see them listed.

Thanks! -sps parent

Anonymous said...

Are you sure these times are accurate? Denny's current start time is 7:40 not 7:25.

Anonymous said...

So Hale's bell time is listed as 8:15 currently and will go to 8:25? What is the difference between bell time and start time?

HP

Anonymous said...

These must be bus arrival times, not bell times. The current time listed for Adams is the current bus arrival time, not the start time.

EC

Anonymous said...

Way to throw all the option schools under the bus, SPS. It's well known that some staff can't stand K8s because they don't fit the widget mold of having every school operate in the same box as every other. Now they've found one more way to get in a dig.

Look at the new schedule. All the K8s get the worst schedules. Now the kids have the choice of a way early arrival or a way late arrival. One more strike against alternative ed. Yes, parents have noticed the subterfuge.

Angry K8er

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand why these bell time changes are allowed to be made without "studies" and "community engagement", but adjusting start times for middle and high school students requires extensive consideration and has been repeatedly back-burnered by the district staff.

I'm not necessarily objecting to the new start times conveyed here, but I don't understand the double-standard. If the idea originates from SPS staff, it's fine, but if an idea is based on science and extensive studies throughout the country, AND could be of enormous benefit to students and the district, it's a non-starter??? So annoying.

-parent of 3 sleep-deprived teens

Anonymous said...

As long as we're already making a bunch of start time changes, could we PLEASE move forward on the delayed middle and high school start times in the context of this effort?

The district is already going to anger a bunch of people with the changes they've announced(as per the comments on this thread and others), so we might as well add in the additional changes to middle and high school start times (that are actually based on science and studies) so that we don't have to change the times AGAIN in an upcoming year, unless of course the district never plans to delay start times for middle and high school students...Given all the delays on this thus far, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Let's get this all done at one time!

-Seattle mom

Anonymous said...

I find it sad and downright inexcusable that the community has to find out proposed next year bus/bell times (with open enrollment just weeks away) from notes scanned in by a blog writer(thanks Melissa!)...and even then coming AFTER an open-to-the-community workshop.

The lack of notification or ability for parents to digest and comment on what are significant changes for some schools, notably K8s, is extremely poor form.

There is zero excuse for it from the transportation and communications department. There was a huge outcry over last-minute belltime changes a couple years ago. Staff KNOWS this is important to parents.

Again, very very very poor.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Also, in regards to high school start time changes, the workshop went just as I supposed. No way for 2014-15, staff doesn't think they can do it for 2015-16. The way Staff works and Staff/Board interact are annoyingly predictable.

The board can reasonably force staff to take action by directing it to be ready for 2016-17. That is more than enough time, even with scarce resources.

Create a taskforce. Assign a project manager and areas of concern: principals and teachers, labor contracts, transportation, city, Metro, athletics, teen employment, best national practices, communications, etc. Report back every 8 weeks.

Done.

EdVoter

Maje said...

I'd love to hear the logic behind these switches. I'll just stay optimistic about that one.

Though I do wonder about the changes for Pinehurst@Lincoln and JA@John Marshall. Both of those programs are moving 3-4 miles away from their current site and they're also having their start/arrival times moved up by 30 minutes. The moves will be challenging enough for the families and asking the families to get there 30 minutes earlier seems a bit odd.

Lori said...

Maje, it looks to me like Pinehurst is getting a later start time, with bus arrival time moved from 855AM to 915AM.

The bigger concern to me is that they aren't staggering the times for APP and Pinehurst at Lincoln. I believe that was the only request the building staff made - that any program co-located in the south wing at least have a different start time to ease the burden on traffic, limited cafeteria space, and the outdoor space/play areas.

I was just at Lincoln at lunchtime yesterday. There are tables in the hallways that serve as a cafeteria extension. How they will add 150 more kids to that situation next year, I don't know.

Pinehurst families should swing by sometime, at morning dropoff or end of day and again at lunch, to see the current logistics in action. Staggering start times makes a lot of sense to me. This plan doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Thanks SPS, you are making our decision to bail on public school easier every day.

CM

Lori said...

Melissa, there are some discrepancies between your photo and the link that reader Lynn found and posted on the other Transpo thread. Which one do we think is correct?

Lynn's link has Pinehurst's proposed time staggered from APP@Lincoln, which would be a better option. I don't want to raise alarms like I did in my post just above if it's not correct.

Argh!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the thing. I will check in with Transportation.

But when THEY don't post information in a clear-to-read, easy-to-find fashion, that's THEIR problem. This was on the back of the BAR handout yesterday (and had been given out at Ops previously).

I love how upset some get when I criticize staff for not doing things when the most basic thing - announcing changes to bell and/or start times - can't be made clear by the DISTRICT.

I will try to get an answer today but don't hold your breath.

Lori said...

I wasn't criticizing you, Melissa. Not sure if your frustration is directed at me or someone higher in the thread. My "argh" was for the district, not for you!

Melissa Westbrook said...

The scan cut off Draft - Arrival/Start times - at the top but I swear I heard Bob W. say yesterday bell times.

Again, I will seek clarification.

Anonymous said...

Melissa's scan shows the usual incompetency of SPS transportation. It has both Pinehurst and Pinehurst@Lincoln. Different start times.

And note how transportation is sticking it to K8s with no notification of moving school start times more than 30 minuets earlier and making little kids stand in the dark as early as 6:35 for a 7:35 school arrival time.

Do those school parents know about this stupidity? $100 says they have no idea.

Bigger picture: Where is the explanation of how these changes save money? Actual dollar amounts per route? Where is the risk assessment sign off of having elementary kids standing on rainy foggy corners at 6:30 a.m.? Where is the straight-faced excuse....staff didn't even try to come up with one!!!!!!...for socking it to JAK8, Pathfinder, TOPS, Salmon Bay?

Wow. A new low for SPS transportation. And did the board push back on the lack of detail? Apparently not.

HUGE HUGE FAIL.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

The BAR report says this will all save (including reduction of grandfathering, etc.) about $3.4M. Now how much of this is canceled out by boundary changes is not clear.

Anonymous said...

Just read Melissa's post above. She had to get bell time and arrival details from ***************a scan off the back of a Board Action Report?***********************************

That is how this info is getting to @ 50,000 students?

Did SPS learn after the front page Seattle Times story on bell times the last time around? NO. Did SPS learn after the hundreds of letters to board members last time around? NO.

The board should have refused to deal with such scant information, but apparently it didn't. Shame on it. SPS staff should be hiding its face. This information was either not ready to go, so there should not have been a meeting, or it was ready to go, but was communicated in such an abbreviated, convoluted and hidden fashion that someone on staff needs to be tossed out for letting it out of central office.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.

INCOMPETENCY.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

District Watcher, it hasn't been voted on by the Board yet so maybe they feel like they can wait.

Unfortunately, that would be AFTER parents could weigh in. That would be without any community engagement that apparently, they hold near and dear.

But as Banda said, these are less than 30 minute changes so really, it's no big deal when parents are notified.

Eric B said...

Problem is, as soon as we start talking about high school or middle school changes, 30 minutes is about 6" this side of the end of the world. Can't be done without deep and extended study.

The same double standard is applied to elementary kids starting at 8:00. OK by the district when staff proposes it for K-8s, totally unacceptable when considered for K-5s. Maybe K-8 students are just that awesome.


Anonymous said...

Now that SPS has punted JAK8 into Marshall by Green Lake it is proposing to run the bus routes in the far NE of Seattle early enough to dump the kids at the building at 7:35? Could SPS be less supportive of our kids?

Staff wanted to abandon Pinehurst. While it didn't get its way it still neglects it as shown by 2 contradictory drop off times on Melissa's document.

Staff claims that this is only a 30 minute difference for some schools. "Only". I bet not one of the wizards making this proposal has an actual affected kid in the system. This is major.

Nor is the 30 minute claim true. I know from carpools that TOPS starts at 8:40. Even with a lag time from bus to belltime, that is at least one school being told to start more than a half hour earlier than present. I bet the same is true for Pathfinder, Salmon Bay et al.

I don't trust the transportation department nor the administrators overseeing them to make thorough decisions let alone decisions that are in the best interests of kids.

DistrictWatcher is right that the board should be ashamed of the lack of thought in this proposal. Eric B. is right that it is nonsensical that a 30 minute swing time for high schools is too complex for the district to ponder yet it thinks it can exact the same change on thousands of k8 kids and not blink.

Unhappy New Year to you SPS. You are a piece of work.

K8 Peeved

Anonymous said...

Broadview-Thomson K-8 is well over 60% FRL. With the bus arrival time changing from 9:05 to 9:15, those kids who depend on us for meals will have five mins. tops to get off the bus, get through the breakfast line, eat, and get to class. In actual fact, those kids will face the choice between arriving late to class or arriving hungry to class. Either way, learning suffers.

I also wonder if any of these schools will be without the necessary before school care to accommodate the changes they face. When our son was in Sandpoint 3 years ago, there was nothing for him, and his school started at 9:20. I had to be at work at 8:00. I won't even go into the craziness that created in our lives.

oy vey

alex hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SusanH said...

These are definitely bus drop-off times, not bell times. There have always been three tiers of start times, in order to use the fewest number of busses possible. Looks like the district is simply trying to standardize the three tiers (making ALL Tier 3 schools be 9:15 am arrival, etc.). I would assume that there would be the appropriate amount of time between bus drop off and the start of school for breakfast, etc.

They are splitting the K8s in half, making half of them Tier 1 and half of them Tier 3.

I guess I don't understand all the anger here. I don't think the district is specifically trying to insult the K8s, or punish any one group or the other.

I still firmly feel that elementary schools should have the earlier start times, by switching with the secondary schools. Those little kids tend to be up earlier anyway. But as it's clear that that battle is not going to be won (or even really considered), I don't see what's wrong with trying to standardize times.

I guess the net net is that everyone wants Tier 2. But since that apparently can't happen, there will have to be some kids starting earlier and some later, right?

Anonymous said...

If you go back to the rather sparse presentation document that went with this session, you'll see that Transportation staff was told to come up with $5 million in savings options by the Board.

I doubt there are any easy ways left to do that. Not saying this is the right set of proposals but they are kind of in a "damned if do/damned in don't" situation.

Parents rightfully want adequate/equitable transportation, the district is trying to make up budget shortfalls (document Melissa provided says a $18.8 Million gap).

Tell the Board this particular scenario isn't the answer. But blame the "right" people - the budget buck stops with Mr. Banda and the Board -not staff trying to do what they've been asked to do, however poorly.

bbb

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal: all Tier 3 elementary schools would start at 9:30am and end at 3:40pm!!
Every time they change the bus arrival times it's "only" for 5-15 mins and big money saving promises are made. If we continue with this trajectory, our elementary kids will start classes at noon (ok, I'm being sarcastic).

-Sarkastic

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=270642

Blah, blah, blah

-Sarkastic

Hannah said...

*Are* there currently three tiers? My memory is hazy, but I thought that the three-tier proposal was shot down last year after a similar uproar, and the present situation is two not-quite-standardized tiers.

Why do option parents get particular upset? One reason is is that option schools are the ones asked to make the biggest changes to start time, particular those school that already start early. Yet option schools draw children from the widest geographic regions, and therefore already have the longest bus rides and earliest pick-up times.

Example: some of my daughter's kindergarten classmates get picked up at ~ 7:20 AM. Moving the bus-arrival time half an hour earlier, as proposed, would mean a pick-up time of 6:50AM.

Yes, they have the option of going to closer-to-home-schools, but they are able to make a 7:20 pick up time work. They may not be able to swing a 6:50AM time. And proposing without warning it after kids have already started at a school seems underhanded.



Anonymous said...

Has anyone called the Times? It took front page embarrassment of SPS staff for their pisspoor communication 2 years ago to stop the train wreck.

Maybe this isn't a trainwreck for your kid. It is for every option elementary kid that's supposed to be standing on a dark streetcorner or walking at 6:45 a.m. (NO CROSSING GUARDS)

Also, who from transportation presented last night? Or was the Asst. Super and Super covering midlevel staff's derrieres?

Salmon Bay

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oy Vey, Ms. McEvoy said that they aim for a 15 minute period between drop-off and bell time to allow for students who do eat breakfast at school to be able to eat.

Anonymous said...

I see people noting bus pick-up times for specific stops. Could someone please (re)post the link to those details? Thanks!

-sps parent

Anonymous said...

Wow...it is confusing. The Board Introduction item says "draft," and the arrival/departure times from the Board Agenda don't match the handout. It makes it hard to provide public comment.

Thanks for posting the additional info, Melissa.

Wouldn't it make sense for Pinehurst and APP@Lincoln to share buses, hence have the same start time, in order to save on transportation costs?

For all the griping about earlier times, we still find it better than the third tier start. The bus was invariably late picking up, and our child would get home anywhere from 4:30 to 5pm. At least with an earlier start, your child has a chance of getting home when there is still enough daylight to go outside and play.

-another parent

Anonymous said...

So that means our school will start at 9:30 next year, now it starts at 9:20. It is getting later and later...
At least the middle school students will benefit from the additional sleep (albeit not much more...)

oy vey

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Reposted for 'anonymous' by Savvy Voter because I agree:

Anonymous said...
It makes no sense to me. Our K-8 and a few others will start 1/2 hour earlier our already very early start time. The other K-8s are on a different schedule. Only half of the high schools get a later start time. How does this create better start times for teenagers?

***********
Additionally I (Savvy Voter) do not understand why some K8s are way early and some K8s are way late. Why treat some elementary school and middle school students one way, and the rest the polar opposite? Not only does this not make sense in terms of brain development (because surely both way early and way late cannot be Best Practice) but it also does not make sense with real life logistics----

Half the K8 kids as well as the very late starting elementary kids are going to be missing the opportunities for after school enrichment because they will get home too late.

The other half of the K8 kids will be sitting around as early as 2 p.m. in the afternoon? For working parents that's probably 3 hours of childcare expenses every day to deal with the little children and 3 hours of unattended time for parents who financially end up leaving adolescents at home.

The save a buck attitude from the district is hurting not helping students and families shoved to either end of the school arrival/departure schedule with this three-tier transportation "brainstorm". Yes I use brainstorm with irony.

Savvy Voter


Anonymous said...

@ oy vey "So that means our school will start at 9:30 next year, now it starts at 9:20. It is getting later and later..."

What about working families? What are working families supposed to do - find jobs that don't start until 9.30am? I would guess that the people coming up with this scenario do not know the realities of the regular 9-5 that many of us, like it or not, are tied to. And probably mostly women are going to be taking the hit on this.

Upshot is that the late start arrangements are grossly unrealistic for working families (who aren't around to advocate) and especially punitive to those who have fixed wages and to women.

Opinionated reader

biliruben said...

Doing the math, my 6 yo sleeps 11 and a half hours a night. 7:30 to 7. Right in the guidelines for his age. We live in the far NE and go to JA k-8.

In order for him to eat and get ready for school, we need minimum 45 minutes.

That means a completely realistic 6:45 pick-up, a 6 am get up, and a 6:30 bed time. About 15 minutes before my wife gets home from work.

She will never see her son.

Anonymous said...

The new Jane Addams Middle School must have a bell time in sync with Hale: they need it to be able to leverage the courses next door, as they need to tap into math and foreign languages! Please see the "JAMSplans" blog for details. Having the same start time will create fantastic student learning opportunities, especially for the kids who are advanced musicians who are being pulled out of Hamilton and Eckstein because thet may be able to work with Hale. Nothing is at all definite, but having synchronous bell times is key to even having the possibility. And, I repeat, this costs nothing!

This is a golden opportunity for the student learning experience, and, it won't cost a thing. Please, District and school Board, just get this right. It is crucial that JAMS, being calved out of Eckstein, gets a great start, the kids of the north Northeast at least deserve that much. A bell time really isn't all that much to ask for, when you consider the potential for greatness as a result.

As for Pinehurst K8, unfortunately, a same bell time with Lincoln won't work. Already, there are too many busses arriving at one time, and, that school, along with k5 enrollment in the north is growing, so it can't handle more. There are projected to be 675 Lincoln students next year, that together with 150 Pinehurst students, will not be workable for a single bell. (how they are all going to each lunch is a mystery, the lunch room can only hold 200). The District made sure 2 years ago when McDonald was co-located to have different bell times to SAVE on transportation dollars, so the same bell time won't work.

Pinehurst could go to the Marshall building, that at least has a playground and is closer ( Lincoln is 5 miles away and you have to get through Greenlake and Wallingford traffic from the north, a Marshall location would save them time because it's 3 miles away, but more importantly, would spare them the hassle that is 45th). I'd just like to see the kids from Pinehurst not getting thrown under (or in this case, onto) the bus.

The problem with a three-tier system is that everyone wants the 'best' tier; not too earlier, not too late. The problem is that 2/3rds of schools are going to be getting less-than-optimal start time, and that includes k8s as well. Transportation does have to be efficient to save money, because realistically SSD must minimize bussing costs because there is an $18M operating budget hole.

Blue bus

biliruben said...

Let's see how much money they save after some multimillion dollar lawsuits, after some kids standing in puddles on streets without sidewalks get run over in the pre-dawn commute. And then see student performance plummet, because families are having to make choices between sleep and paychecks.

penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Lynn said...

Blue Bus,

Academic issues should be the priority when these decisions are made - but the board asked transportation to cut up to five million dollars from their budget. Changing JAMS to an 8:25 arrival would mean that each bus coming to JAMS could only cover one route a day - which is more expensive than the two or three the district is planning.

Anonymous said...

The other problem with the three tier system is that one late bus in tier one cascades into a late tier two bus and then an even later tier three bus. Haven't we already done this once? Has the district forgotten about tier three kids that were 30 minutes or more late for school? Or an hour or more late getting home? More savings on the backs of kids. If these arrival times stand, my rising 4th grader will be standing on a corner, with no sidewalk at 6:35am. But then we chose an option school for him, so I guess in the districts view we are getting what we deserve.

-slp

Anonymous said...

How much did we save with the change from choice assignment plan to NSAP? I never saw an analysis of that.

-wondering

biliruben said...

We definitely need a headline and pic in SeaTimes:

"5-year old Stands in Rain, in Puddle in the Street at 6:30 am waiting for a bus... to save 4 and a half cents."

biliruben said...

There are nearly 300 employees of SPS making more than 100K a year. None of which likely see the inside of a classroom. lose 50 of them and problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Where is the SPS risk assessment of putting elementary-school-age students out at bus stops in the dark or having them walk to school in the dark the majority of the school year.

Deadly --- I use this word on purpose --- serious. Where is the official internal risk assessment? Parents want to see it.

Or could it be that gee since SPS is only talking about a couple hundred K8 elementary kids that it hasn't bothered to do a risk assessment?

'Legal mind'

Anonymous said...

From Melissa's notes on the Transportation Workshop:

Bob Westgaard of Transportation said that the three tier plan would probably not see costs change but that a two-tier plan would.

NO cost savings. Increased safety concerns. WHY are we forcing a 7:35 bus arrival time as well as increased student safety risk on a handful of K8s?

K8 Peeved

biliruben said...

A couple hundred?

JA-K8 has about 50% bussed kids. If this is generalizable to other K-8s, we are talking about thousands of kids.

Lynn said...

The presentation from the October 9th work session showed that moving to three tiers with 70 minute pm intervals would save $1.6 to $2.1 million in the first year. That would reduce the state transportation funds for the next year by $300K to $2.1M though for an ongoing effect of -$900K to +$1.8M.

Doesn't sound like they know what affect this will have.

apparent said...

Thanks for your digging and later update Melissa.

Just to emphasize here that the handwritten times on the posted chart are definitely yellow bus *school arrival* times, not school bell times. At our school (APP@Lincoln) and a couple of other elementary schools I know, school begins 15 minutes after the expected bus dropoff time. So based on the handwritten chart which shows for us a later time of 9.15 instead of 9.10, this suggests the new school bell time would change to 9.30 instead of the present bell time of 9.25 a.m.

But a couple of readers above say this might not always hold true if there is further move to standardize all elementary start times across the district.

Anonymous said...

This is the district's statement from front page of website as of today 1/9/2014

http://seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=307503&sessionid=d7d6d5a42a5e2efa75a95245f214fc4b

bbb

Maje said...

To clarify an earlier point I made...
I thought it was strange that they bumped the start times for both JAK-8@Marshall and Pinehurst@Lincoln up by 30 minutes because both of those schools are being moved several miles away from their current sites, not because they're option schools.
JA@M ~ 3.5miles
P@L ~ 5 miles
I would assume that the school is somewhat in the center of the enrolled student population for the school (though I don't have the maps). Moving those schools increases the commute time for those families and requires an earlier start to their day. Moving up the start time on top of that means that some families will have an even earlier start to their days by an hour (or more).

We're in one of the schools and, while I'm not crazy about a 7:50 start, we could manage it. However, the new location adds about 20 minutes to our commute if we drive, even longer on the bus.

Anonymous said...

Yes, being moved to an interim site does mean a longer commute, regardless of whether the school housed is option, attendance, k8, k5, middle or high (because obviously the community is being sent elsewhere while a building is readied).

But think about Meany; that community is proposed to be housed at a building 9 miles away, through some heavy traffic. And, they won't have a choice, because they are attendance-assigned. In contrast, these two schools have a shorter trek, and because they are options, families could choose to enroll in their neighbourhood schools, and skip the 2 years on the bus. Just saying, it is good to have choices. Meany students won't, and I am worried about this situation!
-future meany

Peanut said...

We just got an email from other parents at our kids school, which has an option asked for by the board to move all times 10 minutes later.

This means our 3rd tier elementary school would have a bus arrival of 9:35, a start time of 9:50, and a depart time of 4pm.

How are working parents supposed to deal with this? This makes no sense, particularly since the conversation has been about making elementary times earlier and high school times later.