Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Seattle Schools Bell Times Meeting Gets "Testy"

A wrap-up of last night's meeting from the great West Seattle Blog (partial):

It appears the district added another meeting because it wasn't there when I first posted the list:

Mon., Oct. 5, 2015, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Jane Addams Middle School
11051 34th Avenue Northeast
Interpreters provided (subject to change due to availability) Chinese, Spanish

Seattle Public Schools‘ draft proposal for changing bell times didn’t draw much support among the two dozen or so people who showed up at the first of five public meetings about it, held tonight at Chief Sealth International High School.

 Tonight’s meeting, led by assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy, got testy at times; most of those who spoke said they don’t want the times to change at all. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise, given that results of an online parent survey (see page 13 here) showed this area with the highest support (46 percent) for keeping the status quo. Concerns voiced at the meeting ranged from insufficient data supporting the change to uncertainty over how afterschool activities would be affected.  

And that didn’t just mean classic extracurricular offerings such as athletics – for example, Denny principal Jeff Clark said his school and two other middle schools are showing significant improvement in closing the “achievement gap” thanks to special after-school academic programs; if school starts two hours later, those programs will end two hours later – keeping participants at school until 6:20 pm.

The data concerns had to do with results of a district survey about changing bell times. Most of the parents in attendance said the plan to move ahead was based on too small a set of responses to really justify the change. But McEvoy and staff pointed to slides showing that they had gathered and parsed large amounts of data from parents and students.

Regarding athletics and after-school activities, attendees wondered how the district was working with Seattle Parks regarding field use, especially for West Seattle HS and adjacent Hiawatha Playfield. According to McEvoy, a district contract with Parks has expired and they’re working on an agreement, but don’t want to finalize anything until the district makes its bell-times decision. Some parents suggested that seemed to be a backward way to go about it, and some wondered if practices would end up being moved to the morning hours before school, canceling the expected benefits of a later start time for classes.

If you have something to say – pro, con, or otherwise – the district is continuing to accept comments through October 6th; e-mail yours to arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org. As noted above, 4 more meetings are planned elsewhere in the district; see the list here. If you want to read through some or all of the backstory and district documentation on this issue – go here.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the "pro" side is feeling like it's a done deal and isn't showing up for meetings? I have yet to run across anyone against this plan in real life. Teenagers are sleepy in the morning and get into trouble in the afternoon across socioeconomic lines.

Sleepy teens

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Yes, I would suspect those most energized to turn up are those who don't like the change.

Anonymous said...

I have just gotten tired of this after years and years of fighting. Bureaucracy fatigue. But I will go to at least one of these since it does sound like disproportionately negative people showed up.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I am opposed to the bell times change (and indicated this on the survey last year) because there seems to have been no consideration giving to the impact this will have on elementary students. The plan to swap start times means that many elementary students will have to be at school an hour earlier, and I know that my elementary-aged daughter already struggles with getting out of bed early enough to make her bus to school at the current time. I am sure there are other young kids in the same boat. We need to remember that younger kids often take longer to get ready in the morning, and so need to get up earlier than older children for the same start time.

It will also disrupt after school care plans for many elementary families. We are lucky enough to not have to worry about it, but other elementary parents I've spoken to are concerned about this.

ElementaryDad

Anonymous said...

Your assertion that younger kids take longer to get ready does not hold true in my experience, remember that the onset of puberty is also the onset of the need for a morning shower, and the onset of a deep desire to sleep in later. I have had wide awake elementary schoolers for two hours before they need to leave for the past 6 years, and only when we got to middle school has the bell time issue become truly difficult.

sleepy teens

Anonymous said...

Although sample sizes were small, I found it interesting that support for the flip varies by racial/ethnic group. All this talk about partnering with the African American community, but then a decision to propose bell times that appear to be particularly unpopular with that community. Maybe it's just a lack of data, but I hope they're doing some targeted community engagement to really understand. It's a tricky issue. On one hand the research may show one thing, but on the other it feels pretty disturbing to tell minority communities to just deal with it, because the majority wants it and knows best. There needs to be a lot more work done to mitigate the associated issues, work out partnerships with community resources, figure out when schools can provide extracurricular supports, etc. And they really need to be clear about how the 20 extra minutes will come into play the second year. Middle school students will spend several months of the year walking almost entirely after dark. These "proposed bell times" have a shelf life of only a year. Then what???

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Right now middle schoolers (including my own, who has to cross a very busy arterial to get to his bus stop) walk in the dark much of the year in the morning, when they are very tired and likely to be less alert.

sleepy teens

Anonymous said...

Every kid is different, obviously. Our daughter takes roughly an hour to get ready in the morning, and I've heard similar stories from some other kids her age. This is certainly not universally true, though. Some of our neighbors young kids roll out of bed and come straight to the bus stop.

When I was in high school, I would wake up 25 minutes before the bus time, take a quick shower, wolf down a bowl of cereal, and go.

What is most unfortunate is that this plan is pitting elementary parents against high school parents - most of the opposition I've heard has been from elementary parents, and most of the support from high school parents. I think there was an option in the survey that would been reasonable for both groups, but I don't remember the details. It doesn't appear to be the one that the district selected, though.

ElementaryDad

Anonymous said...

Elementary Dad,

Part of the problem in this & other district concerns is that by the time parents get enough experience with high school issues, they are almost done. So why bother advocating & fighting for those things? Like make-up credits, college counselors, trying to fit in occ ed, bad pre-calc books, empty periods, etc. If only I had understood before my kid got to high school.

Well, for most kids, the morning only gets worse as they become teens. So take the hour it takes your daughter to wake up & get out the door. Now add much, much sleepier kid, plus shower, hair & make-up, printing homework, making their own breakfast, having a 2 mile walk zone or changing buses twice or just hoping they are awake enough to drive safely to school. Even if you put them to bed & sit by them with the lights out & phone off, you won't be able to make them fall asleep. Every weekday morning they will be more tired because they are never catching up.

It is possible that your daughter will become an early bird as a teen, but it would be unusual. You can probably plan on it getting worse than it is now. Are you sure you want her late starts now in elementary school, instead of as a teen? How can you know?

I don't have kids in SPS anymore, but knowing what I know now, I would put teens later & elementary earlier understanding that it will be harder for some kids but better for most.

-Alum

Lynn said...

ElementaryDad,

The options in the survey were (1) no change, (2) modified flip (the current proposal) and (3) extended high school day with some students starting an hour later and some starting at the current time. No data on the cost of providing double bus service to high school or on how schedules would be assigned was provided.

I have a high school student whose school day runs from 9 to 3:30 and it is perfect. It will not be convenient to pick up my elementary student at 2:10, but it will be worthwhile if it means I don't have to spend four years getting an exhausted teen up at 6:15.

Anonymous said...

Elementary Dad,

That is your experience, that is your opinion.

BUT... what about virtually everyone else's experience that shows that little kids are raring to go in the morning, mine self-woke at 6am, and, that was with their biologically appropriate bed time of 8.30pm. I tried to make their bedtimes later in a failed attempt to get them to sleep at least until 7.30am, but, no dice. A later bed time just made them cranky the next day, they still got up early. So, the 9:40am bell time we have had to live with for 5 years (9 student years) has been a disaster. I have to have child care both in the morning and in the afternoon. I would rather they only have to visit once, after school. I would far rather see kids go from them homes to their school rooms, and then go to day care after school is over.

A 5 year old or a 10 year old is a far, far different human than a 12 year old. You will see. And a 16 year old is a far, far different human than a 12 year old. And, a 21 year old is far, far different than a 16 year old. This you know, everyone knows, but, until you live with them in your house, you really cannot imagine the ways they change and the massive shift in their biorhythm or the really tough parenting challenges that occur when entrenched sleep depravation sets in. An over-tired 7 year old may make a bad choice by petulantly refusing to do her writing homework. Or, throwing her bike down. An exhausted teenager may grow dark and angry, and spitefully try spice, or, go down a path of cutting. What I'm saying is the risks are exponentially more intense and dangerous, potentially life threatening, for early and late teens, that is why they must be restored to a proper bell time.

The overwhelming majority of elementary parents' work schedules, child care arrangements, and transportation issues will work with a 'normal' bell time, which is early, to match their biorhythm. It will enhance their learning. Instead of being strung out and unable to learn by 3:20pm, they will be home or in day care.

So, while this may not work for your daughter, it will work for the majority of elementary school students. And, it will work for early teens, who will get their sleep, be productive and awake students, and be kept out of trouble in the late afternoon before parental supervision is on the scene.

And, it will work for high schoolers, who can get some sleep, but, still make after school jobs or do athletics and not get home so, so late.

I wonder if you could consider the big picture and the meeting of needs of the majority? Especially when failing to meet their needs has dire, life-threatening consequences?

By the way, thank you pro-sleep mom. You care about kids, and, you are trying to save the ones at the edges who may succumb to depression when repeated challenged with sleep depravation because of bad bell times. You have been a soldier for kids, and, you will never know the name of the child who didn't spiral down into suicidal thoughts because you saved them. That was worth going to endless meetings for. I am humbled by your efforts. Thank you.


Big Picture

Anonymous said...

My experience is very different from you Elementary Dad. In elementary school, my kids were up early and ready to go. High school was really hard. I think it is ridiculous for elementary school to start after 9:30. The kids are EXHAUSTED by the end of the day. I don't think they learn much. The opposite with high school. I don't think they learn much now for the first hour of school; too sleepy.
North end

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will say - gently - as others have that being a parent of a teenager is different from having an elementary-school aged child. Really different. As others have said, many parents of current high-schoolers may not be showing up because it's probably too late for them but I'd be willing to bet if you asked around at high schools, most parents would agree their kids cannot fall asleep until much later and have problems getting up in the morning.

Now whether or not they would agree that's a reason to change times, I don't know.

I have said this before as well - I do not believe that sports or other activities should drive bell times at all.

Unknown said...

I am confused. Why is a change in the high school bell causing a ripple to the other schools? I thought that hs students didn't ride school busses?

Tim said...

Sorry. Forgot to sign my post.
Tim.

Lynn said...

Tim,

Some high school students do ride school buses. The majority of them receive transportation through their IEPs.

Here's the most recent bus route list: http://www.k12.wa.us/Transportation/STARS/QuarterlyReports/2015Winter/SEATTLE.pdf

SusanH said...

And Tim, it's not just high schools. Middle school bell times will actually be the latest (around 9:30), flipping times with the elementary schools.

Anonymous said...

I think the only way that most people would be happy would be to go to a two-tier system, instead of the three-tier. They would need more buses to cover the high school students. Then one tier would be elementary, and the other tier would be middle and high school. That was not offered. Has anyone ever studied that idea? I have one MS student and one HS senior who is driving. I have no idea if I would like a later start time for my two students. We do so much after school. The do have a hard time going to sleep early enough and getting up early.
NEmom

Lynn said...

I'm happy enough with this plan. A middle school day that doesn't end until 4:10 isn't ideal - but my elementary student often takes an afterschool class that lasts until 4 and that seems doable.
I think the idea of rejecting this plan because it's not perfect is crazy. It's so much better than what we have now.

3inSPS said...

Keep in mind every K-5 will soon enough be a 6-12 right. For all those E parents trust us we have been there (and some still are) it needs to be changed. Period. Sorry for the inconvenience but kids getting on metro busses to get to school on time have to leave even earlier to account for that schedule. My kids get on a bus at 6:50 and that means 6 am wake time or earlier if the need a shower.

Please I implore everyone of you to flood these meetings. The district is looking for an excuse to run the status quo. Nyland is not a change man. Let's fight for this please!

Anonymous said...

Tim, there are quite a few buses at high school for special ed students. If I understand it correctly, disabled children are guaranteed door-to-door transportation. There are some "shuttle" buses as well, for kids who live a long way from their high schools.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

My young elementary aged children NEED me to help them eat, dress, and prepare for their day each morning- we can't get ready at the same time so therefore it takes us much longer. If school starts at 7:30, bedtime will have to be no later than 6:30pm. No more family dinners, and they wouldn't see their father during the workweek, and that is not okay. Many elementary kids still need 11/12 hours of sleep per night (my kids are not unusual in that regard). And let's be honest, life will happen and 6:30 bedtimes will get pushed back leading to many overtired young kids. Many parents don't even pick their kid up from childcare until 6pm. High school/middle school start times are way too early, but swapping their start time with elementary just pushes the problem down. We must do better.
TS

ProSleep Mom said...

NE mom- Two tiers would be wonderful. The task force studied this option, and lobbied hard for it. The problem is the cost- the initial, hard to believe estimates were upwards of $20 million annually; currently they are quoting a more reasonable about $8 million annually. It's still artificially high, but even if it were doable for $4 million, we have to come up with the $4 million. If/when McCleary is funded, this would be a worthwhile investment- though it will take heavy lobbying both of the District and the State, who sets the transportation funding rules and currently penalizes two tier systems.

Systems like this have to be set for the typical biorhythms for each age group, prioritizing what are our core values- health, brain function and safety. After that, balance things as best one can for issues like before/after school care, athletics, jobs, sibling child care. It's very very easy to point out the weaknesses or flaws in any schedule- the challenge is to create one that achieves the core values to the highest degree possible within the constraints, and then balances the competing priorities. The proposal on the table is light years from where we started, and it will stop actively damaging teenagers, as our current schedule does.

3inSPS- Yes, you are right- flood the meetings, please!! If you can't do that, send an email! The Board vote is not a foregone conclusion- they need to know people care, and support this change, even if it will not be perfect for them. (You will appreciate it when your kid is in high school; trust all of us who have been there.)

Big Picture- Thank you so much for your kind words ;-), as well as for your very articulate description of teenager reality and how critical this work is. I hope we will all pitch in and make this happen- so there are less suicidal teenagers, less kids suspended because their sleep deprived brains lacked impulse control, less kids suffering from obesity or heart disease, less kids taking up smoking or drugs, or experiencing the trauma of a car accident.

Lynn said...

Nobody's school will start at 7:30.

Anonymous said...

Elementary dad came on and spoke his piece. You can treat his statement as an anomaly, but then what about the survey or the testy meeting? It seems to me there are larger groups of parents out there who like things as they are for various reasons. They don't want younger kids out that early. Some here have mentioned they don't see ES students walking without parents to schools. That might be true in your neighborhood, but how is that personal observation more valid than Elementary dad's personal observation of his child and other parents' experience?

It might be worth it for people to listen why there are oppositions and concerns. There are younger ES kids who walk and wait for buses by themselves. I see this as I ride metro to work in the AM. My observation of course is annecdotal. But the point is it does happen. While after school activities are less important for some families, other may value them more because these are things that keep their children interested and involved in school.

If this is so important, then push for 2 tier. HS students have more options to get to school by metro, ST, yellow bus, chartered vans, bike, drive, and walk. Little ones don't. No one like his/her valid concerns ignored because it's just one person's personal experience. That attitude just invalidates many of us here who have discussed our children personal trials and tribulations within SPS. Usually we find a level of tolerance and even understanding. Or do tolerance and understanding come only when the topic agrees with your need and belief system?

reader

Rufus X said...

For the elem. school parents who are lamenting this potential bell time change - I concur with Melissa's comments. The morning routine & bedtime for an elem. school student is VERY different from that same student's MS/HS routine/bedtime.

Re: Middle school start time. This one puzzles me. I get that on the 3-tier system, a population has to start at the latest time. I remember 8 years ago when we were touring middle schools, one of the selling points of the FEL Out-of-School-time programs at all middle schools was that the after-school programs provided opportunities for MS kids who may not have anything to do when school was over at 2:20. At the time, those programs were not measured for gains & academic improvements; since then, things have changed and some performance-art related programs have had to move to other organizations' oversight and are no longer free/supported by FEL. Also, buses home are provided for attendance-area students who participate in those MS OST programs. I wonder what happens to those Family & Education Levy after-school programs at the MS level should the bell times change. Would they be offered before school? If so, would there be bus service to get the participants to school in time for the programs' start?

Lynn said...

reader,

High school students who receive special education services have to have their yellow bus service. Those elementary students walking to school and waiting for buses alone might have their parents for company if their schools started earlier.

The change is based on what our middle and high school students need to be healthy - not on what is convenient for adults. Honestly, the elementary school schedule isn't convenient for working parents no matter what time school starts. We have a year to adjust to a new schedule.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, can you please point us to research that shows middle school starting at 9:40 is healthier? And the research demonstrating that losing access to extracurriculars has no negative impact on their mental health?

HF

Lynn said...

Sure thing! While I'm looking for that could you provide links to research that shows extracurricular activities must happen between 3 and 5 in the afternoon? I'd also love to see the research that proves extracurricular activities are more important to an adolescent's mental health than adequate sleep.

To be serious, do you believe a 7:50 start is healthier for middle school students than 9:40? I'd like 9:00 for everyone - but if the money's not there, this is better than the current schedule.

SusanH said...

HF: There are so, so, so many studies about sleep and adolescents that I find it hard to believe you haven't stumbled across them. All experts agree that it's healthier for this age group to more closely align with their natural biorhythms when it comes to school start times.

For one: the American Academy of Pediatrics declared it so:
https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/let-them-sleep-aap-recommends-delaying-start-times-of-middle-and-high-schools-to-combat-teen-sleep-deprivation.aspx

Good point Lynn. Extracurricular activities can happen before school, or later in the evening. If HF has an early-rising teenager, they could do a before school activity. My son currently has rec soccer in the evenings after dinner, and doesn't get home until 9 pm. This is too late given his 6 am wake-up time. But still, that's when it is, so we suck it up. There will always be time to carve out some extracurriculars. The school day is not getting longer.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I can only say that when I was in high school (in the real Dark Ages), we had zero period to cover many activities. You, as the teen, made the choice of having a later start OR participating in classes/activities before school. We did have most athletic practices after school and, as well, many older teens had after-school jobs so this afforded the ability to participate in some activities and also have a job.

SusanH said...

And here's one from the UK, that just popped up in my Facebook feed:
http://www.sciencealert.com/work-shouldn-t-start-until-10am-and-school-even-later-says-sleep-expert

Although this expert recommends at 11 am start for high school.

Jamie said...

They have zero period now as well. My kid was in Jazz Band for two years which started at 6:50 every morning. Which was insane to me. If school started later so zero period would also be later that would be very beneficial to those kids.

Anonymous said...

This is a serious question, as I have young elementary kids that I am able to stay home with until their school starts at 9:30. Working parents with middle schoolers, if middle schools start at 9:40, is the idea that teenagers are staying home alone in the mornings? And getting themselves out the door? They/ve aged out of daycare by then, right?

Is it realistic to expect this age group to get ready for school alone and get there on time?

Elementary mom

Anonymous said...

@ Elementary mom. Yes that's pretty much the idea. Of course many of our special needs kids can't handle that but like so much else in society that's just too bad for them and their families. Parents will need to stay home instead of working to pay for the services the kids need.

Unfair

Patrick said...

Elementary Mom, by middle school kids are not legally required to have an adult with them, so most families don't have them in before or after school care. The city run after school care allowed kids as old as 13 when my kid was last there, but the programs are more geared to younger kids.

If my kid was leaving for school after I had already left for work, I would make sure she was ready to go before I left and then set a timer for her to be out of the house.

Anonymous said...

Study on early starts for elementary:

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/06/school-start-times.aspx

And a study about extracurriculars:

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/06/school-start-times.aspx

-Research shows...

TechyMom said...

I left for school after my mom left for work in middle and high school. No big deal.

Anonymous said...

Study on extracurriculars:

http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1370&context=essai

Anonymous said...

As the parent of an elementary kid I would love an earlier start time. I could then get up and get my child on a bus and still get myself to work. With an earlier start time I would only have to pay for after school daycare rather than morning and afternoon care. This will help the family budget tremendously.
WS mom

Anonymous said...

While the later middle school start time is not ideal for our family (the anomaly early rising 7th grader (8th next year) with after school activity starting at 4:30) I agree the later start time is better for most. My older child (now in HS) would have immensely benefited from a later start time in MS and both kids will benefit from the later start time in HS.

Valuable insight from Big Picture, prosleep mom, 3 in SPS and NE mom, thanks.

I agree with Lynn, this is better. Not perfect and 2 tier would be better (though still not perfect), it's good enough.

-katydid

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am now trying to get clarification on which elementaries would get a late start (if it's three tiers).

I am hearing that the Title One schools are in the later tier. I think that would be very detrimental to those families who probably don't have the leeway to send their kids to school that late. As well, I'm trying to figure out how much information about this change was sent out in other languages. Otherwise, there's a substantial number of parents who may not know this is coming.

Anonymous said...

I attended the bell times meeting last night. Evidently the schools assigned to each tier remains in flux. Currently it is based on start time survey results & a principal survey. It is evidently not final. The question about why more high FRL elementaries are in the later tier was asked. The answer was that minority communities requested keeping elementaries later or "no change" to the current bell times, at a much higher rate than other communities in the district bell times survey & at the earlier meetings. One reason given was so that elementary students don't beat their teen siblings home from school - childcare.

-need sleep

Lynn said...

Melissa,

Here's the current schedule: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=2451501

Anonymous said...

I start work very early and leave the house at around 6:15. My kids got themselves up and out of the house to school from the age of 10. There were two of them so they walked together. They also walked home together and beat me home by about an hour. When they were younger, we shared a nanny with another family. Overall, I think it made my kids more independent. They also made their own lunches.

HP

ProSleep Mom said...

Regarding the impact of 8am starts on elementary, I read the whole study and couldn't really determine what constitutes 'too early' and thus causes harm. Their sample included starts as early as 7 am and as late as 9:10 am; 8:05 was the median. So I called the researcher and talked to her about it. She said it wasn't absolutely clear what times were OK and what weren't; the study she is doing now is indicating a linear progression of benefit. Most pediatricians involved in this kind of work generally say elementary should be no earlier than 8 am, which is what is being proposed.

This area lacks the robust research that is found for secondary start times, where there is a clear and present health danger to start times before 8:30 am. I don't want to move the damage to the younger kids, but I think the 8 am time is pretty safe for them; it may not be the optimal time, but it's not a time bomb.

For the older kids, this is like the heavy metals in the school drinking fountains that we experienced years ago- it is a known hazard and it needs to change NOW. Serious contemplation of suicide goes from 9.8% to 16.8% when teens get less than 8 hours sleep, alcohol use goes from 36.7 to 50.3%, cigarette use from 15% to 24%, not to mention much higher rates of obesity, diabetes, violent behavior and significantly higher rates of car accidents. AAP and CDC both point to school start times as a key, changeable cause of inadequate sleep.

TechyMom said...

I think this plan is better, even though I find it awful that anyone has to be at school before 9:00.

That said, I wouldn't count on lower child care costs because you're only using after school care. The rates for before and after school care are based on paying for staff, who are hourly. If after-school care is 4 hours long instead of 2.5, the price will go up. If before-school care is 1 hour long instead of 2.5, the price for that will go down, or it won't be offered at all.

Anonymous said...

8 am start for elem will absolutely mean leaving house to catch bus around 7 am for many, many little kids - if not earlier. Routes are pretty long south of downtown, and elem bus standards require buses to arrive early enough for kids to have time to eat breakfast. So if a bus has to arrive by 730 for an 8 am start, you can believe the kids will be getting on from 650 or so, even little K kids - how does that work?

Make no mistake - all the "they're up at night" and "they don't have time for breakfast" and all that stuff that people say now about HS kids will be true about elem. if they move to 8 am start and have to "go to bed" at 6:30 or 7 pm to get their eleven hours of sleep. And they'll also have huge long chunks of afternoon without supervision. Lots of people let their 3 - 5th graders latchkey. Lots. Latchkey for 90 minutes is one thing, latchkey for 3 hours - quite another.

I think the ONLY way this works is TWO TIERS. No students should be on the arrive at school at 730 for 8 am start tier.

Parents should unite behind TWO TIERS just like they did for the teachers in the recent strike. Accepting three tiers is the ridiculous thing we're being brainwashed into doing.

And for a variety of reasons I call bogus on the opacity of the district's busing costs, the ever-shifting busing costs, but that's a longer post.

(nice, I got to select images with waffles as my captcha!)
-- Math Counts

Chris S. said...

First - thank for the links, research shows. The early elementary start article looks quantitative and legit, and if you didn't click the link, it shows early start times can be disadvantageous for elementary kids, but only if they are affluent. For disadvantaged kids it didn't make much difference. Cynical me says this is exactly the kind of interventions this district would love to reduce the opportunity gap! The article about extra-curriculars was less compelling - it cited a few studies with real numbers from sources I'm not familiar with, but by and large it was an editorial. Plus it does not address the time of day that extra-curriculars can occur.

Forgive me if I have posted this rant before, but--12th year in system. Our family has tied itself in knots over bell times jobs and changing bell times. I have outlier early-riser children so the first six years were a poor match for them. Then, this summer, I get a survey from SPS asking what was "convenient" for me. I was just flabbergasted. Gobsmacked. Whatever. Now I realize they start to care about "convenience" for us when they are up against Real Scientific Evidence that suggests something they don't want to do.

Really, though, this is all economic and we are fighting over scraps. Maybe this should be a priority for McCleary.

Anonymous said...

Chris S., This is the quote from that paper, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/06/school-start-times.aspx

"Researchers led by Peggy S. Keller, PhD, of the University of Kentucky, theorized that earlier school start times would be associated with lower standardized test scores, poorer attendance, more students being left back, lower school rank and school underperformance. They also expected that earlier start times would be especially risky for school performance standards in more disadvantaged schools, including Appalachian schools and those with a higher percentage of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches.
“What we found, however, was early start times were associated with worse performance in schools in more affluent districts — that is, those with fewer kids getting free or reduced-cost lunches,” Keller said. “For schools with more disadvantaged students, later start times did not seem to make a difference in performance, possibly because these children already have so many other risk factors.”

Poorer children showed no difference in performance because they have so many other risk factors. If anything, this tells you much about the opportunity gap and how poor kids need so much more support beyond late start time. The study goes on to emphasize how young children need sleep (10-12 hrs) and trading early start to benefit adolescents is a poor trade because the same reasons sleep is important for teens are the same reasons sleep is important for the little ones.

The study goes on to discuss the need for more research on sleep in elementary age children (like the extensive research on teens).

I've read the sleep research. If the hold up is HS Special Ed bus service for late start time, then crunch the number and see how much? Be transparent about it. If the late start time means some highschoolers won't get the big yellow bus and that's unacceptable, is that the tipping point reason to tell elementary school kids to start school at 8 because all can't be served and there are going to be winners and losers?

If people want late start, push for the 2 tier system so it's a win-win, not a win-lose trade off.

reader


Anonymous said...

reader said, "If people want late start, push for the 2 tier system so it's a win-win, not a win-lose trade off."

The proposed changes do not offer a net gain. Why should we accept what will be a huge disruption for families when it only shifts the problem to another group of students? It's not acceptable. Two tiers, or no change.

-2 tiers

Anonymous said...

It does offer a net gain, though. It is true that both elementary students and high school students need sleep. But 1)the harms from high school students not sleeping are much worse(see above, cutting, suicidal ideation, etc) and 2) elementary students are much more physically able to sleep at earlier times. High school student biology doesn't allow it. So high school students need the late start.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am at the Ex Ctm meeting where this came up (briefly). Director Peaslee said she thought it should be two-tiers, mainly because of the need for the 24- credit grad mandate "we need a longer school day." No one else really backed her and Nyland said well, yes, there should be a discussion but he certainly did not seem like the person to start that discussion. McLaren asked, "Are these times for this school year?"

Yes, really.

GreyWatch said...

Have high school teachers weighed in? Curious as I agree that sports should not be a driver, but they are a reality.

For example, my son left school today at 12:30 for a golf match at Bainbridge. While that is unusual, it isn't unusual that lots of kids are consistently missing 6th period for sporting events during the course of their 8-10 week seasons. Post season play is even more disruptive to school days. In any case, the return of all Seattle schools to the Metroleague may make it easier to implement a district wide late start.

Agree that ALL kids need more sleep, and yes the data supports this for teens in terms of risk factors. However, we need to pay for the right approach for ALL. Two tiers at most. I think one would actually be easier, and I don't believe anything the district is saying about costs as those numbers seem somewhat pliable.

Anonymous said...

I went to the first meeting and was slack jawed by both the incomprehensible arguments spiced with the feeling about individual goats were being gored, here. Like letting kids go to school this late means they will get into trouble in the morning. Ok to walk to school in the dark but not after dark.

Just a theory these same folks in a few years will be advocating for this change then.

I must comened the district they are really trying and putting forth a solid case. Outreach has been at its highest that I have ever seen.

The numbers show a true north /south interest in this. In fact WS was nearly tied in its support for no change and the flip. The presentation should be online shortly but overwhelming support was showed for the flip.

My question though is if it really is about SpEd buses couldn't they just contract for more and not put so much turmoil for our MS families? I have been on TFs before. I have felt the steamroller and I am surprised that they were able to get anything out of that. It is good, but a touch of tinkering is needed.

Do it!

Lynn said...

Contract for more with what money? The average cost per bus per year is over $51,000. We currently use 339 buses for 734 routes. How many teachers are we willing to give up so that every student can start school at 9:00? To have one bus per route would cost over $20,000,000 or the equivalent of at least 200 teachers. Would it be worthwhile for every school to give up two teachers?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Grey Watch, a couple of high school teachers chimed in on this thread and mentioned your issue.

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I am just talking about SpEd buses. That is primarily the issue for secondary it is either walk, metro or SpEd bus. For middle there may be a few geographic outliers but if maps weren't so title 1 jerrymandered it should be safe to say -Secondary is orca and SpEd buses. Honestly 2 teachers per building. I would say 2 Charles Wrights and M Tolley should cover the bill.

-Do it

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

you believe the 20mil rummor. I heard that was delivered by Santa Claus wearing an Easter Bunny hat. Far from the truth or Bishop would still be the head of transp and they would be running around with the actual savings printed on t-shirts.

-Do it

Lynn said...

...the District’s average cost of $51,237 per contractor- operated bus.

BAR for transportation contract

Winter 2015 Bus Report

ProSleep Mom said...

Lynn's figures are correct. We have 63 high school buses currently serving Tier 1 high schools- so to move them would be about $3.5 million. However, high school is not the only problem we're trying to solve. Puberty and the accompanying circadian shift is happening earlier and earlier- often by age 10 or 11- so middle schools should be 8:30 later too- as the AAP recommends. Best times for elementary is unclear; after 8 am but before an unknown time. The research is unclear. For families, some love 8 am; some hate it- some love 9:40 and some hate it- you can't really create a schedule to accommodate totally opposing preferences. I would point out that families are dealing with pretty much all these schedules already right now; it is not easy, but people are doing their best to figure it out.

While I would love two tiers, and worked really hard to get that on the table, there are not the votes on the Board for it now. This plan is a huge step forward, and for parents to organize and lobby for two tiers as more McCleary money comes in is the thing to do. I can't see continuing to expose adolescents to needless serious risks-it is unconscionable for this situation to go longer. The current crop of activists (and there were more before us) have worked over 4 years to get to this point, which is way too long already. Political battles are generally won incrementally- waiting for the ideal situation can leave you waiting forever.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is possible to charge for bus transport. $15 a month for 10,000 students would be $1.5 million. Free transport for lower income families. How many students take the bus? A small fee could offset some of the cost of going to two tier.

I'm totally in favor of TWO TIER. How many millions do we spend on things that don't really impact outcomes, in an attempt to "close the gap"? Cutting some expensive testing or some high-salary downtown headcount could also offset the costs. Having kids who are actually awake in their first period classes is an obvious educational improvement for every single HS in the district. But the post 9am start times for elementary are problematic.

Two Tier Proponent

Chris S. said...

Yep. Charge for transportation like lunch. FRT. I proposed this to sherry carr in her first term. Got a blank look.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, one problem with more buses (besides the costs) is that bus carriers are having a very very hard time getting drivers - there is a serious driver shortage right now. (Many jumped ship to the better paying Metro openings) You can pay for all the buses you want, but if there's no warm body to drive it....


reader47

Anonymous said...

@ ProSleep Mom,

I understand your passion and energy on this, as well as your commitment to the research. I also understand that, in the big scheme of things, it may be worth it to sacrifice middle schoolers to some extent, for the greater good. After all, there are more years of HS and more years of ES and only 3 years of MS, so maybe that's the least bad option of the bad options before us.

It would be helpful, however, if conversations around bell times would also incorporate the recent decision to add 20 minutes to the school day in 2 years. That's one year after the new bell times might take effect. The Superintendent's proposed bell times table feels misleading in light of this, as do the various arguments that simply repeat those proposed--but likely very temporary--times. Greater transparency on what these changes would mean two years from now rather than just one would be very helpful.

HF

SPS Mom said...

From the Aug. 27th memo that Pegi McAvoy sent to Dr. Nyland and is attached to his 9/28 Friday memo to the board - The board requested a COST NEUTRAL proposal where K8's are in middle tier and MS's are in tier 3... (I had thought they had asked for a cost neutral two tier plan, but I must have read that in my dreams.)

QUOTE from the memo:

Date: August 27, 2015
To: Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent
From: Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent for Operations
Re: Friday Memo for August 28, 2015

Bell times update
The School Board attended the Work Session on Bell Times and provided their feedback
on the District’s Public Engagement and Analysis. Discussion surrounded efficient
routing considering new assignment plans and geographic constraints and minutes
between tiers. Additionally there were inquiries about the potential disproportionate
impacts on families whose older siblings provide childcare.
The Board requested more information on:
o Cost neutral transportation options in which K-8 schools are in 2nd Tier and
Middle Schools are in 3rd Tier.
o Potential routing with 4 tiers to help shorten the length between tiers
The Transportation Department is currently routing for the 2015-16 school year, however
the initial meeting to provide the Board more information has occurred.

Melissa Jonas said...

We cannot prioritize the health and safety of one group over another. We simply can't. Creating huge transportation and childcare challenges for low income/vulnerable families is not the way to solve the health problems created by early HS start times.

This isn't about convenience for elementary school families, it's about public health, public safety, transportation needs and the needs of families to be able to earn a living wage. If all MS and HS were being scheduled later and all ES were being scheduled earlier, it might make sense and it would probably serve the majority's biological needs better. However, that's not at all what's happening. Neighboring elementary schools are being flipped in opposite directions, completely disrupting community transportation and childcare patterns and leaving families unable to meet their work schedules.

Sports & other after school activities shouldn't trump health, safety or educational outcomes. Neither should bus schedules. We can solve this problem, but it's going to take sincere, collaborative community engagement. We've solved boundary/capacity issues with the district. We can figure out start times.

Lynn said...

Melissa,

The start times issue has been studied for the past year. Do you think the task force missed something? What change do you see in the proposal that negatively affects children's health and ability to learn? Do you think there are small adjustments to the proposal that would make it work?

I'd like to hear what is planned to mitigate the late start for Title I elementary schools. We definately also need to see the proposal for 2016-17 start times with the longer school day.

TechyMom said...

If we can't afford both reasonable start times and bussing, maybe it's time end or cut back on general ed bussing. Crossing guards at dangerous intersections have to be cheaper than busses and drivers. The city could help with traffic lights, bike lanes, police patrols and sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

The plan has fewer elementaries starting on the third tier than do now, and in addition smaller ones(so fewer families impacted) and from communities who asked for it. And the plan will lower suicide and car crashes. It's a very good plan, and whatever inconvenience it causes a few families is more than compensated for by increased convenience for others as well as health, safety, and academic outcome for others. If your family is going to have logistical challenges because of the change I hope you can look forward and see how in a few years you'd prefer not to have a teenager cutting themself or dying in a car crash because of a refusal to make a change for the better now. The gains are so great. It is absolutely worth the challenges.

I am so frustrated that the district is dragging its feet and not just DOING it like they did 4 years ago when they just switched our start time an hour. That was for nothing. This is to save lives. Argh.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Starting middle school and high school later also lowers the achievement gap, because it disproportionately benefits lower performing and undersupported (poor) students, while also benefiting high achieving and affluent students. It is a magic bullet. There is no district wide goal that is not markedly improved by the current plan. It actually improves fairness, health, academic outcomes, and safety. Like a comic book hero.

And yet. Here we are.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

And the plan will lower suicide and car crashes.

That's quite a claim. How many students drive to school in Seattle? Seriously. Don't the majority of students walk, take Metro, or get dropped off by parents? The majority of students are not driving to school. Starting later is not going to be some magic bullet. There will be other unintended consequences, such as reduced after school tutoring time and additional child care costs for elementary parents, which could negate the benefits of a later start.

-realist

Melissa Westbrook said...

While it may be true many high school kids don't drive to school, yes, there are studies that later start times show fewer teen car accidents.

Anonymous said...

Fewer elementary students start late with this plan than do currently, so if it is the late start that is the problem, this is better. It's not shortening the day. It's the same length of day, which is not as long as a work day, so many families will still need care.

-sleeper

ProSleep Mom said...

I've been to most of the recent meetings, as well as many last spring. A couple of things jump out:
1) For every family that likes a particular time slot, there is a family for whom it is a real hardship. There is no schedule that will work best for everyone. Two tiers would be wonderful, but it will take a huge effort in Olympia to get that funded.

2) Our current schedule works for many people and is a hardship for many people- but families have figured out how to adapt to it, because that's what they have to do. However, the science is abundantly clear that our current schedule doesn't work for the health and mental functioning of middle and high school students, who constitute about half of our total student population.

I have heard a lot of people upset because the plan being presented now, which includes 22 Elem at 9:40 and all K8s at 8:50, is different than the modified flip that they supported (or opposed) last spring. As a task force member, I was rather taken aback by this too. Why did this change? The explanation is two fold: the change is an effort to preserve Team Read, a widespread program where high school students tutor elementary students in reading, and an accommodation for communities (largely Title 1 school) that have expressed a need for their high school kids to pick up/take care of their younger children, which also requires elem to end later than high school. (If high school is at Tier 2, this means those elementaries need to be in Tier 3.)

Why should people support this plan, despite it's problems?
1) Your kid will be a secondary student some day- and as many people on this blog have testified, you will want a healthy start time for them then. (Really, middle school will be here before you know it.)
2) You have some empathy right now for all the kids and families who are living with our current schedule
3) You want to support the Team Read program
4) You want to support vulnerable families that really need older siblings available to take care of younger children.
5) You don't want the teen drivers unnecessarily endangering the community at large, or maybe your small child in particular.
6) You don't want to pay the costs of many more kids taking up smoking and drinking, being obese or having diabetes, or the costs of the juvenile/adult justice system for kids who get into trouble after school


Change is hard, I respect and acknowledge that. I ask people to support the much that is good in this plan, to strive together to mitigate the problems that it creates, and to lobby Olympia for all you are worth to fund teachers, classrooms and two tiers.

Anonymous said...

Well said prosleep mom!

-Do it

Anonymous said...

Your list provides many reasons why the modified flip should not go forward.

1. How is 9:40 healthy? What other middle schools start at such an absurdly late time? It's hard to know how late is too late.
2. We've already been on the 3rd tier schedule, and couldn't wait for middle school when there'd be time after school to have a life. With the latest proposal, some families will be in the 3rd tier K-8. Kind of lousy.
3. Perhaps the district should have thought about the impacts on Team Read and other after schools activities when they put forth the proposals. The "no change" option preserves Team Read.
4. The current schedule, or "no change" option, already allows older siblings to pick up and care for younger elementary siblings after school.
5. The majority of teens are not driving to school. The adult drivers in the morning and afternoon rush hours most likely pose a greater risk to children as they walk to and from school. This is especially true in the NW where we have less daylight in the winter months. I can't tell you the number of near misses we've had with adult drivers as we walk across a busy intersection to get to the bus stop.
6. With later release times, there is less time for exercise and outdoor activities after school. How, exactly, will that help with childhood obesity? Once again, living in NW.

-no change

Anonymous said...

Your reasons can be summed up as "Screw the science. I want what I assume will be best for my kids." You're going to regret that attitide when your children are in high school if this change isn't made.

Change it!

ProSleep Mom said...

Regarding how late is too late?- there was a 2010 study in England that moved HS starts to 10 am and pass rates for low income kids on the GCSE (hard final exam) went from 19% to To 43%- very dramatic results. (Sports are totally outside their school system, unlike the US)- but academically, later than 8:30 is better for secondary, both middle and high.

The research on elementary times is much more limited. After 8 am is generally seen as good; some researchers see the general earlier wakes times for younger children as an indicator that near 8 am is good; others have seen a linear progression in start time benefits, with more benefits with later start times for young children too- the jury is out on what are optimal times for young children. There is no indication so far that there is a strong health or brain function hazard with any times, other than very early (7:30 or before.)

Anonymous said...

I already have a child in high school, but cannot support the plan as put forth. Sure, a later start would be nice for my high schooler, but not if it means middle schoolers starting at 9:40 and elementary starting either too early or too late.

I am also hearing that this massive, disruptive change could only be for one year, only to be changed again the following year when the school day is extended. If so, wouldn't it make more sense to push for two tiers, to be implemented with the change in school schedules?

Two tiers, or
-no change

Anonymous said...

The later start times make a significant difference for teens both academically & health & safety. That must come first in district decision-making. Before team-read, before childcare, before sports, before convenience for adults. Those things should not be balanced on the backs of teens. It is unfair for us as a community to expect teens to take the hit because we don't want to fund after school care or reading specialists. Would we really rather see higher drop-out rates, tardy rates, suicide rates, car accident rates, drug use rates, discipline rates, crime rates, obesity rates, mental illness rates & sports injury rates, all associated with sleep deprivation in teens and improved with later start times.

There was a lot of resistance to strapping kids into car seats too, but now we expect it to work & we make it work, even though it is very inconvenient. Because even though most kids survived car travel before car seats, it does make a difference in child safety.

Finally, changing start times does not leave less time for exercise. It leaves exactly the same amount of out-of-school time.

-Need sleep

Anonymous said...

Finally, changing start times does not leave less time for exercise. It leaves exactly the same amount of out-of-school time.

If students keep the same bedtime as now, but add a later start (in order to increase sleep), there are fewer hours in the afternoon to do what they already do - homework, sports, jobs - things that happen in the afternoon, not before school. You can't simply shift it to the morning. And if you shift it to the morning, what's the point of the late start, exactly?

?

Anonymous said...

Then it is a choice, not a schedule all students have to participate in whether they like it or not.

But separately I would certainly agree that if teens' schedules are so overpacked that creating a school schedule which allows a healthy amount of sleep means some of them cut down on some activities, that's fine. We will see what is more important after this, I suppose. If the extra sports/whatever practice is so important that it is worth missing healthy amounts of sleep over, everyone will still come in the morning. If fewer kids come to morning practice, then I think we had have learned that their sleep schedule is more important. Right now they don't get to choose.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that so many people seem to discount the importance of extracurricular participation for tweens/teens. Everything I've read--and experienced with my own kids--is that such participation is incredibly important for healthy youth development. Extracurricular participation is associated with better grades, fewer behavior problems, less bullying, lower anxiety, increased self-esteem, positive attitude toward school, prosocial behavior, and so on.

The problem with the proposed start schedule is that it puts middle school kids in kind of a "no man's land", where there's not really enough time to switch extracurriculars to before school, but there's also not enough time to do them after school. The lack of sleep MS are getting now IS NOT because most have too many extracurriculars. It's easy to go to school 6.5 hrs AND do 2hrs a day of other activities, still leaving plenty of time for homework, dinner and sleep. It's a timing issue. Teens have trouble getting to sleep early enough--even though they have plenty of free time available in the late evening. While it might make sense to just shift their extracurriculars to the evening--since they can't sleep anyway--the problem is that we have limited community capacity/resources to accommodate MS, HS and adult demand for activities in a significantly shortened evening window. That means some activities--those geared toward middle school students, since they'd have morning availability--would shift to the AM. However, to allow enough time for the activities, FRL breakfast at schools, travel between extracurriculars and school, etc., these activities would need to start EVEN EARLIER than school currently does. Many (most?) MS age activities need at least 1 1/2-2hrs. That means school-based activities would run say 7:15-9:15am, while private activities offsite would start at more like 7:00am. Since those kids can't go to sleep earlier (biology, remember?), that means even less sleep than now.

If we're going to have these kids start late, we should have them start late enough that they can really flip their schedules without worsening the sleep issue. It seems reasonable for before-school activities to start at 8:30am. If they run until 10 or 10:30, school could start at 11am. Kids would be home in time for family dinner, and have plenty of time afterward for homework. Those who have late evening practices or events would likely skip AM extracurriculars, so they could sleep in to make up for the late night (but probably no later a bedtime than now, so they'd get extra sleep--just less wasted time before bed). Those who end up with AM activities would still be starting later than now, and they might also be able to get to sleep a little earlier since they'd have less going on after school. It would be a win-win for the kids, as opposed to the big tradeoff under the proposed plan.

If we're going to go late, why not go "all in"?

HF

Anonymous said...

Shifting start times does not decrease the hours outside of school for extra curricular activities. Sleeping more hours does decrease time available for ECs. Shifting start times does not force students to sleep more. It allows them to sleep more if their bodies are forcing them to.

-need sleep

Anonymous said...

Won't middle schools get out at 4:10? So activities can run from 4:30-6, about when elementary activities run now, and more fields will be available because more elementary students will be using them more like 2:30-4. No problem.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. The reason we're shifting schedules is to allow for more sleep for teens, but you state, "shifting start times does not force students to sleep more." That's right! You can't force students to sleep more. It's not like car seat laws where you can force compliance with fines. The negative impacts of noncompliance with car seat laws are also potentially much greater.

We can strive for reasonable start times, but we don't have the luxury of optimizing it for everyone. The proposed modified flip not only doesn't optimize the times for a large portion of students, but it actually makes it unreasonable for many students.

Another thing to consider: after school activities are not limited to school based activities. City-wide activities that involve private and public school students are not simply going to shift to the morning to accommodate SPS. Nor can they simply shift elementary activities earlier, as many private elementary students are still in school. SPS students will simply not be able to participate in some activities, especially if the schedule is shifted 2 hours later for MS. I can't even tell if HF is being serious - an 11 am start? Please tell me you are just being facetious.

-getting ridiculous

Anonymous said...

@ sleeper, don't forget they just agreed to add 20 minutes to the student day in 2 yrs. So a 4:10 dismissal next year is likely to only be a 4:30 dismissal the following year and beyond. That would mean school-based EC activities would need to be more like 4:45-6:45pm if based at school, or more like 6-7:30 or 8pm if community-based, to allow kids to get home from school and get ready first. Also, many activities really do take 2 hrs. For example, schools with no fields to use need to hoof it somewhere else for practice. If you have to assemble/check-in and then walk 20 min to your practice field, and another 20 minutes back for reassembly/checkout/lockers, that's about an hour. You think they are going to spend 1hr on transit for 30 min worth of practice? Then again, the fields they walk to often don't have lights, so maybe they'll just have to cancel outdoor teams or shift them to the AM. An 11am start would allow school teams to have 2 hrs in the AM, while it's light, and kids could still get plenty of sleep.

@ getting ridiculous, I'm not being facetious. You're right--many EC activities are city-wide. In the same way they can't all shift to the morning to accommodate SPS, they also can't all shift later to accommodate the late SPS dismissal. Every EC activity my teens did when they were in middle school was something that also had time slots for high school students and/or adults. It's not unusual to serve MS students approx 4-6, HS 6-8, adults 8-10. Those providers can't just shift their programming all two hours later to accommodate a 2-hr later release. I don't particularly like the idea of an 11am start, but I can some potential benefits. I don't see how any of the activities my own kids did at that age would have been possible with the proposed MS schedule. It feels like there's a lot of wishful thinking about how everything will work out for MS age activities, but maybe others know best. Whatever y'all want.

HF

Anonymous said...

My teens would have strongly preferred starting much later & doing morning sports as HF suggests.

-another sleeper

Anonymous said...

My K-5 is released in a time to bus and yet miss all of their soccer practices when you add bus time. I don't care if she makes these private school practices. But FYI privates know better.

_Later Start

Steve said...

I'm still confused about two things. Looking just at the north-of-the-ship-canal elementary schools (the geography I'm most familiar with), 6 schools are proposed to have 9:40a start times:

Arbor Heights
B.F. Day
Northgate
Olympic Hills
John Rogers
Sand Point

According to the most recent list I could find from 2014/15, it's likely maybe 4 of these schools are receiving Title I funds. Another poster who served on the bell times task force said the reason lower-income schools were moved to the very late start was "to preserve Team Read, a widespread program where high school students tutor elementary students in reading, and an accommodation for communities (largely Title 1 school) that have expressed a need for their high school kids to pick up/take care of their younger children, which also requires elem to end later than high school. (If high school is at Tier 2, this means those elementaries need to be in Tier 3.)" Do the schools listed above participate in Team Read? Are there significant numbers of high school kids who pick up/take care of their younger children?

My second question: the schedule showing the current and proposed times has an asterisk after the title, and the asterisk refers to this line at the bottom: "Includes mitigation for educational racial and equity concerns, Team Read and childcare." What, specifically, has the District said about "educational racial and equity concerns", and how does this mitigation support the 9:40 start time for these schools?

(And by the way, at least two schools on this list - B.F. Day and Sand Point - may be slated to lose classroom teachers this week due to lower-than-expected enrollment. The list comes out today from the School District).

Steve

Anonymous said...

@ Steve

According to the Team Read website, the only Team Read school on your list of north-end schools proposed to be on Tier 3 is Olympic Hills.

These are the 11 schools currently served by Team Read:

Bailey Gatzert Elementary
Beacon Hill International Elementary
Broadview Thomson K-8
Concord International Elementary
Dunlap Elementary
Leschi Elementary
Lowell Elementary
Olympic Hills Elementary
Roxhill Elementary
Stevens Elementary
Van Asselt Elementary

Of these, Broadview-Thomson, Dunlap, and Lowell will be in either Tier 2 or Tier 1 next year, which leaves 8 Team Read schools in the Tier 3 group, along with 12 non-Team Read schools. All 20 schools listed in Tier 3 for next year have at least 32% FRL (the range is 32% - 85%), and all but one have at least 14% ELL.

I honestly don't understand the logic of why Tier 3 has been reserved for only higher FRL/ELL schools. The Team Read explanation doesn't seem strong-enough of a reason to me.

- North-end Mom

Steve said...

Thank you North-end Mom. I have submitted this question to the bell time group, but I hope someone can ask this question at the Bell Time meeting. If there is not a compelling reason to move this large number of lower-income schools to Tier 3, I would suspect it could become a news story.

- Steve

Anonymous said...

@Steve,

Yes, I expect it could.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

High FRL % Starting later is because SPS heard from those bldgs that the HS kids support the family with child care.

-Do it

Anonymous said...

@ Do it

I don't know where you get your info, but you are wrong. SPS did not actually hear from "those buildings" that they wanted 3rd Tier. At the JAMS Bell Time meeting, Pegi McEvoy explained that they heard from a few parents who gave feedback that they like having their high school kids dismissed before their elementary kids, because they could provide childcare. Then, using the racial demographics of those parents, SPS extrapolated that very minimal feedback into some bizarre rationalization that all schools with families in those racial demographic groups would prefer a late start.

What percentage of students at any given elementary school, regardless of demographics, have siblings 4-10 years older (high school-aged) who don't have any after school obligations and who can get home in time (even by bus) to take care of their siblings? My personal experience from being a parent at a Title 1 elementary school is that there seem to be more younger sibs around, not older ones. Does this seem like a valid argument to throw ALL the families of 20 high FRL/ELL elementary schools "under the bus" so to speak?

If there are schools that actually requested the late start (due to Team Read, etc...), then that may be a valid reason to place them in Tier 3. Making gross generalizations, based upon race is not appropriate. Isn't that called racial profiling?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Noth-end Mom,

I got the info at one of the first meetings. Bldgs are correct as they asked the principals who then asked parents (I am not sure if this was done formally or not).

BUT to be clear it came from the Bldgs.

There was also a ton of distinction between the north and south's desire on this from the prior polls. I would guess that is why they are doing ES by ES so they get it right for most schools.

Certain race + high % FRL is racial profiling. You may be responding to another thread but I don't think race matters in the conversation... I wonder why anyone would think it is.



-Do it

Anonymous said...

Opps
That should have read:
Certain race is high % FRL is racial profiling. You may be responding to another thread but I don't think race matters in the conversation... I wonder why anyone would think it is.

-Do it

Anonymous said...

There may have been requests from some school "buildings" to be placed in Tier 3, but I can say with certainty that this was not the case for all 20 of the schools placed in Tier 3. This was confirmed at last night's meeting at JAMS.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Folks your ES kid will be a secondary student very soon and it sucks with the early thing. And I am not talking about running kids to a program or asking a neighbor to help suck. I mean a vibrant child becomes withdrawn and having to talk to Dr's and such to figure things out. Not just us. A high percantages of kids.

Tic toc; you just can't say for sure if that is your kid. Parenting is choosing your battles and in this case the battle is with SPS. They don't want to change anything as MW said. But again I think they have done a very good job on messaging this. Makes me wonder why? Or if they are just testing this for the next idea they want to push through. Wonder if this had anything to do with the strike and trying to trianglize opionion like Carl Rove used to do. Oh well.

-Do it

Anonymous said...

North-end Mom

Now is the chance if this is wrong for your high FRL I would run around like my hair was on fire communicating this with all your peers and the bldg admin.

Best of luck

-Do it