Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bell Times Morass

It was a fired-up crowd that came to JAMS last night for the bell times meeting held there.   (Oddly, like a forewarning, there was a contingent of crows - by my rough count, about 50 - on the east side of the building when I came in. I felt like I was in The Birds.)

I estimated the crowd at about 70 which was the largest number to attend a bell times meeting.  (Pegi McEvoy told me that the one last Friday night had about 30 people.)

There were quite a few Sand Point parents there plus I know there were JAMS parents, John Rogers, someone who wanted to represent for Aki Kurose plus high school parents (who self-identified as such but not their schools).

Here's my take, overall, about what is happening and you should keep this all in mind as we go forward.

1) Most important of all to remember is that the staff NEVER wanted to do anything.  In fact, they never even wanted to discuss this issue.  They had to be dragged by the Board to this time and place.
2) Staff putting on the community meetings has following the district's time-honored formula to a tee but with a twist.   The twist was making the meeting just one hour.  They then spend at least half the meeting setting the stage.  They go thru every single detail of what they have done on the issue.  Plus, they also like to throw in single data points like how many teachers responded to surveys, what area had the least support for change, etc.

It's not like data points aren't important but when you are asking people to take time out of their lives to come and give input, please don't give them every single data point when you could have it all in a handout.  The only handout was a draft list of what school would end up with what time.

3) Parents, even with all the data points, still seemed to feel like they didn't have all the information they needed.  Like what about after-school activities?  Can the district still handle them?  Can our community partners adjust?  What about childcare?

4) The large number of Title One schools in the latest time slot.  While some may be inconvenienced (a lot, I know) by the change of bell times, for others it could be a disaster and hardship.  I have heard from enough Title One schools to know their parents - many of whom are single parents or immigrant parents - do not know this is happening.  (I do give the district credit - they did translate the survey into nine languages and put paper copies at all the city community centers.  What I think would have been really good is to tell every single one of those schools to have an outreach event.)

5) The confusion over what this will do and who it will or will not help.  The idea is to help adolescents (and that would include some middle school students as well as high school students) to have better academic outcomes based on sleep needs.  There were some parents at the JAMS event who thought it would hurt academic outcomes for elementary students.  There is very little research on this issue but most of it says it does not hurt academic outcomes for students. 

Research study done in 2013.
Excellent article from Education Next including various studies.
How long kids spend in school versus other nations.

Please note: we are talking about - as we should - academic outcomes.  Naturally, there are family and social outcomes which should be considered but the district is looking most at academic outcomes.

I also want to observe that we all know that you can find studies (or lack thereof) to support or disprove any point.  Last night, a UW doctor of pediatric sleep (pretty specific) got aggressively challenged by a woman who said she did work in neurobiology.  It was fine to disagree but this woman was very unpleasant in her tone and it did not help the event.

Lastly, you have the difference between elementary parents and high school parents (with middle school parents in the balancing middle).  Elementary school is six long years and, for most, represents the longest time your child and you will be at one school.  On the other hand, when your child becomes an adolescent, you look for ways to keep them on track because, by high school, it all becomes very serious.  Elementary parents, you WILL be high school parents some day.

6) Why CAN'T we have two tiers?  This is interesting because one speaker reported (and I had heard this before) that at an earlier in the year Garfield event on this topic, the facilitator said that he would bring the issue of two tiers back to the district and have it included in the conversation.  It didn't happen.

Two tiers seems to be the most sensible outcome but as usual, it's about money but there are some options, as some speakers pointed out last night.

The district claims it will cost an additional $8M to do two tiers.  Until I see the actual data on that, I'm not sure I believe it would be that high a cost.

Where to find the money?  Transportation is mostly a gift the district has and, as I put forth in another thread, many states don't provide it or sharply curtail it.  So let's be generous in thinking how to help the district with this entitlement.

- pay to ride except for F/RL.  Many parents seem open to this idea. I don't have time to run the numbers but what would it be worth to you for your child to ride the bus?  $1.00 a day (50 cents a ride)?  How much would that generate?
- what about asking for help?  What about the Alliance for Education?  Aren't they there to help for better academic outcomes? (Yes, I know the relationship with the district is on the rocks but why not have parents - via PTA - go directly to the Alliance.)  Who else could help?
- other ideas?  Let's hear them.

How do we get to two tiers?

7) Last, which is the wild card, the 20 minutes that will come in school year 2017-1018 as was negotiated with the teachers.  Should the district continue on this work - looking for money for two tiers AND figuring out how that 20 minutes will impact bell times - and NOT do anything for next year?   

But I think parents are being played and pitted against each other and that is the ONE thing that cannot go on.  The district wants you to look away from what they are doing which is continuing to spend more at JSCEE (more on that to come) and less out in the schools.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went to the meeting at Ingraham last Wednesday and have gone to meetings last year as well. We've asked about why high schools can't just change their bell times without affecting the busing, but all the high schools have quite a few special ed buses and some have "shuttles" for students coming from long distances.

I'm pretty sure that almost 50% of the buses in the district are for Special Ed students. Are those guaranteed and/or paid for by the state?

Since so many of the buses are for special ed students and about 40% of the district is F/RL, there would be limited ability to do "pay to ride". Few non-special ed high school students get buses.

I do think it's worth the extra $8 million to go back to 2 tiers, but I don't think it should cost that much.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

The school district should determine it's start times based on what is best for the kids academic outcomes and mental health, taking into account what are reasonable expectations for staff and its transportation schedule. Note I said reasonable - this doesn't mean the 3 tier transportation system should be driving this process, as it is. It may also be better to make any changes concurrently with the lengthening of the school day, taking this into account.
The disagreements here are not so much the flipping of times with high school starting later per se - its the fact that 3 tiers mean most times are either unreasonably early and unreasonably late. We are all fighting over which population should be saddled with most unreasonable time (they early one). The early times are too early for any aged kids (elementary or high school). If the district could move to a 2 tier system, I think much of the opposition from elementary parents concerned about early start times with a flip would vanish (perhaps thats not what the district wants though).

The convenience of families (working and otherwise) while should not be a factor. It is not currently a factor.
The school district does not exist to provide convenient child care during working hours - it raison d'etre is to educate our kids and this should be done within the hours that are most reasonable to ensure the academic success and wellbeing of the majority of kids, based on the information (research evidence) that we now have.

Likewise, sports and extracurricular activities should also not a consideration. I don't believe they currently are, so why should they now be taken into account when making a change. Sports and extracurriculars are a CHOICE, school is not.

Parental small mindedness self-interest should not drive this. Kids are not going to be in elementary school forever, Maybe they'll escape the ridiculously early start in elementary school, but they will be hit with it a few years down the track - where arguably the stakes are higher. Elementary kids may not benefit from a change right now but they WILL benefit in the future.


Mercer Island and Bellevue School districts are also currently analysing start times (they are similarly early) and expect to make change for the next year. Any others?? Does anyone know how this process is going in these districts - if they are hearing similar disagreements or is this just an SPS manufactured controversy. If other districts start to do it, moving to later start times is going to be moving on the right side of history.

timing is everything

Maureen said...

Has anyone reported about the Ingraham meeting on 9/30? I wasn't able to attend, but given the number of people I had to redirect from the PTO meeting, there must have been a decent crowd.

Maureen said...

Ha! It helps to actually read the comments before you post! :) Momof2, would you say the Ingraham crowd was for or against the District's plan?

Anonymous said...

I attended the Ingraham meeting. I would say that most of the crowd supported later start times for secondary. One Dad was concerned about middle school being so late that it interfered with after school activities, but was not exactly sure, since he does not have a middle schooler. One parent was concerned about the impact on private out of school childcare. One parent was concerned about the minority communities who are slated for the later elementary starts. He thinks the district is wrong about what these communities want. Many parents cited concerns about drop out rates, tardy rates, teen safety, mental health, etc related to early starts. Most really prefer 2- tier transportation. There was a school nurse there & some high school teachers talking about detrimental impact of early start on teens.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

I got the impression that parents of younger children at the Ingraham meeting were not happy about the current proposal but were willing to go with it grudgingly if it is the only way to get the later secondary school starts.

-HS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would say that the JAMS meeting was the opposite. Many elementary parents were unhappy and seemed to outnumber the high school parents.

Anonymous said...

timing is everything -

It is being discussed in the Issaquah School District as well (but they're not as far along in the process as Seattle is). The districts have an interest in going together - it'll be much easier to schedule sporting events if all high schools are taught at roughly the same times. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

interested party

Anonymous said...

It could be that meeting in a high school building made all the parent fears about teens seem more real. Maybe meeting at JAMS allowed folks to believe their kids will never be the teen that drops out, has an eating disorder or a car accident, or fails first period math getting that college acceptance rescinded.

- HS Parent

Anonymous said...

The primary driver (though certainly not the sole one) for a transportation cost hike in returning to 2 tiers is that it requires more buses and, perhaps more importantly right now, given bus driver shortages, more drivers. Back in the 2-tier day, there were additional carriers. The current system has only 1.

During economic down times, people are willing to take a lower paying job with weird hours like driving a school bus. Right now, it's harder to find adequate supply, especially with Metro's better schedule/pay etc.

2 tiers is doable, but not easily and probably not as cheaply as we'd all like

reader47

Anonymous said...

They need to pay bus drivers way more. This is a group which needs to strike.

parent

Anonymous said...

There is no reason not to have 2 providers. That was a district decision. We could go back to multiple providers e.g. more drivers and buses available. But no, the district doesn't want parents to ask for this to be considered. Note that they won't talk about it at all.

Jaded

Anonymous said...

Nor, may I add, will they provide the projections of what a 2-Tier system, using multiple providers, might cost. So that we could have an actual community conversation about whether the benefits are worth the monetary tradeoffs. The board wanted a cost-neutral proposal, satff says? Fine. But it also wanted a recommendation the community might get behind. Which is 2 tiers. Period.

Jaded

Anonymous said...

@ HS Parent

Most people who attended the JAMS meeting were in support of later start times for teens, but even so, many did not support the Superintendent's proposal, primarily due to equity issues - specifically the placement of 20 high FRL/ELL attendance area elementary schools in Tier 3. The original "modified flip" proposal had elementary schools in Tier 1 and Tier 2, with none in Tier 3.

The reasons given why these particular schools were placed in Tier 3 were not convincing, to say the least.

Many spoke out in favor of two tiers, with elementary schools in Tier 1 and secondary schools in Tier 2.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

There are job postings for school bus driver everywhere including Bellevue SD. The pay is lousy. Benefits? Insurance expensive given their pay. Hours crazy. Working conditions stressful.

Talk to some of the bus drivers. This is a 2nd gig for many of them. Metro is also having a challenging time finding qualified drivers and their job qualifications are stiffer for much better pay and benefits. These are the trade off of living in one of the richest cities and most expensive cities in the NW. Wouldn't you rather drive in Kent or Burien SD if you live in Kent or Seatac because at $16/hr, you can't afford to live in this city.

parent

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

We got some interesting comments from our PTSA about these discussions. They encouraged us to participate if we could, but suggested that we avoid comments along the lines of 'my child/children/school couldn't possibly start at X time because it would be terrible for these reasons...'

Whatever time someone trying to avoid for their school, there are kids of all ages in the district who are already operating on that time. It's hard to argue that our kids can't change their start time when other kids have been working on that schedule for a while. K-8s alone cover all three tiers.

Lynn said...

@Anonymous at 11:20:

Yes, children moved into the third tier will be the most negatively impacted. Do you know that lots of elementary students are currently in the third tier? They are the children whose sleep schedules are most mismatched with a 9:40 start time. Doesn't that concern you?

Moving high school sports to the early morning will not make the flip useless. Those students who choose to play school sports will lose the benefit of sleeping later - during the season for their sport. This is far from the majority of students - and they can choose not to play if they'd prefer to sleep. There is no reason to deny other students that opportunity.

Lynn said...

Momof2,

It's not just special education buses that are paid for by the state - the cost of pretty much every bus is reimbursed by the state. That reimbursement is limited to the district's prior year spending on transportation. We need to hear how much of that $8 million is a one-time cost.

Anonymous said...

@Lynn

"Do you know that lots of elementary students are currently in the third tier? They are the children whose sleep schedules are most mismatched with a 9:40 start time. Doesn't that concern you?"

I think that's kind of the point of why some of us are so opposed to the current plan. There are elementary kids NOW in Tier 3 with a 9:30 (not 9:40) start time, and the schools assigned to Tier 3 have a broad range of FRL/ELL demographics. SPS and the School Board have heard plenty from parents about how difficult it is for all these families.

In response, the "cost neutral" plan splits elementary schools into either Tier 1 or Tier 3, and re-shuffles the tiers in a very intentional way, so that the 20 schools assigned to Tier 3 are all high FRL (32-85%) and high ELL. 17 out of the 20 Tier 1 schools are Title 1 (over 40% FRL). On top of that, the Tier 3 start time was pushed 10 min later, to 9:40.

The three-tier plan doesn't work. All SPS has done with these recommendations is shift the burden to a more vulnerable student population.

There will be costs associated with this plan, just not those which fit conveniently into a fiscal document. Mis-matched sleep schedules are part of it, but the bigger issue is getting kids to school. The later the elementary start time, the harder it is for kids to get to school, because many parents have to leave for work before school starts. It is especially hard for single parents. If before school care is offered, that' great, but if the family doesn't have a car, or can't afford care, the logistics of accessing such care can be very difficult.

As you can imagine, communication can be challenging at high ELL schools, and a lot of parents probably do not know this is even being discussed. If the plan is approved, some families will be blindsided.

My kids are in middle school and high school now, and I strongly support later start times for adolescents/teens, but the current plan is deeply flawed, and I can't support it. As Melissa pointed out, putting out such a disaster of a plan was probably intentional, since SPS really didn't want to go down this road in the first place.

At the meeting at JAMS, we were told that it was the School Board who wanted a "cost-neutral" proposal, so be sure to cc them in any feedback sent to arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org.

Comments need to be in before Oct 9th in order to be compiled and presented to the School Board on October 15, during a Special Operations Committee meeting.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

There are already high school sports that practice before school. If HS start times move later, there may be more, but right now those students are getting to practice at 5:00 or 5:30am. This is not a secret.

-Need Sleep

SPS Mom said...

Someone mentioned this somewhere, but I don't want it to get lost. The state reimburses a portion of transportation for all kids (not just SPED) based upon previous year's costs. We should be questioning what portion of the 8M quoted to move to 2 tiers is a cost for just the first year (and disappears in year 2 when the reimbursement is based on year 1 costs).

Anonymous said...

Could a one-time transportation increase be somehow worked into the Ops Levy?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the JAMS parents were against the time flip because their kids will be going to Hale which already has a later start time than most of the High Schools. They don't see any benefit to themselves and only disruption because their local high school is already on a late start.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reprinting for Anonymous (and for the last time, don't post anonymously):
"Melissa, thanks for all the detailed info.......I went to one of the community meetings, and to add to the key points you have:

There is no plan for athletics, tutoring, parks for the flip option.....I believe the Assistant Superintendent (Pegi?) mentioned that it could take up to 2 years for Parks to develop a plan.....how is this not a red flag that this will go bad? How the board could approve an incomplete plan?

Also that the 3rd tier will be the most impacted (started later, leave later too)...and in most cases will be middle school students.....Do Middle school parents know that? Parents mentioned that they were not aware.....pretty much the last tier is the most impacted....I am assuming there are less middle school students than elementary students (since elementary has 6 grades vs. 3 in middle)...but are middle school parent aware...

It was mentioned that a 2 tier option will cost $8M....do we have details on their operations, is this really the cost? Have they work on make routes more efficient?
Why the 2 tier option is not even presented to the board?

There was a person from the tutoring organization (I do not remember the name). She said that the flip option will just make totally impossible to provide additional support to students. Also there was an High school athletics teacher and he mentioned that the only way to get the time for sports will be before classes, which will make the whole flip useless.....

I thought that the district made multiple attempts to get people to provide feedback...seems that parents did not participate....I think this is an issue on us parents......They mentioned 5-6 outreach methods/campaign....and still less than 1,000 people participate....out of 52,000?........"

My listening to the information was that 12,000 parents participated and the 1,000 were teacher.

I agree with Lynn; kids who want to be in athletics that would be scheduled before school - that's on them. Many of us grew up with a zero period so that we could take other classes/activities. But it's not the majority of high school students so don't use sports as a reason not to change.

NE Mom, interesting thought but you see, staff doesn't really want input on that spending (or BTA for that matter). They already KNOW how they will spend it.

As I said elsewhere, the district has a bond debt on JSCEE that is due - in full - in 2017 for $17M. I think I know where their mind is on spending.

TechyMom said...

We were in a Tier 3 school and it was wonderful. We woke up without alarms, had time in the morning for homework and breakfast together, when we were all fresh and alert. Now we're in a private middle school with an 8:30 start time and a 30+ minute unpredictable commute, and while the school is wonderful, leaving the house at 7:45 is not. Family time in the evening when everyone is tired is not as nice as in the morning. This schedule allowed me to be cooperative (and competitive) with the young single people I work with, who live in a 10-7 world.

I realize that not everyone shares my preferences on this, but I think it's important to point out that not everyone thinks 3rd Tier is a burden. I saw the later start for the Title I schools and thought, wow, lucky them SPS did something good for equity there. I'll also point out lower income people are a lot less likely to work 9-5 (or 10-6) than affluent people. The feedback from these schools was that they didn't want the earlier times. Maybe we should listen, and not assume "oh that can't be right, because it's different than what I would want."

TechyMom said...

Take for example, a family where the adults work in restaurants. They get home between around 10PM (or as late as 3AM). With a school bus at 9:15, they might be able to see their kids when they get home, and/or be up with their kids in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Whether this is true or not, the $8 million number re: transportation appears to be a factor of the number of additional buses needed to do a 2 tier system.

According to a powerpoint I found, there are currently 341 buses in use, and an additional minimum of 126 would be needed to return to 2 tiers - at approx $66,000 a bus (SPS numbers) thats in the $8 million ballpark.

From the powerpoint State funding is based on :
*Number of bus and Metro riders
*Types of riders (special needs or “basic”)
*Miles transported
*Number of destinations

State funding does not cover:
*The number of buses used
*The amount of fuel used
*Planning & staffing
*Cabs & vans – even when it is more cost effective
*Mid-day trips to special programs (including federally mandated therapy for special needs students).

Whether this is reality is always in question with SPS, but it does at least give a reason why that $8 million price tag is floating around out there

(FYI the referenced powerpoint called Bell Times Analysis Task Force Recommendation Report and Consensus Voting, and dated June 11 2015)


reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, the district is not being transparent on where ALL the money is and where it goes (and what pots are out there because, yes, the newest one is the Economic Stabilization fund - I'm trying to get clarification on what this is but the head of Accounting said yesterday that it might look like "we are stocking funds because we want to.")

Yes, that is what it looks like.

Anonymous said...

$8 million for a sane schedule for ALL 50K+ students. Or...hmmmmm... $17+ million to pay off the !(&@*!*&@! bond on the JSCEE building. A building with crud parking and too much interior space.

Honestly, I think this should be the talking point for every single parent interested in the bell time switch. We shouldn't be fighting among ourselves and we should ALL be aligned against Central. Because the 3 Tier is ludicrous. It isn't working now and it will be worse with the flip.

I'd love the flip but I will not support it unless it is paired with 2-Tier times. I know this district. They won't do a (*&#@ thing without public pressure and this is the only point at which we can put pressure to return to 2-Tier bussing.

2-Tier Please!

Anonymous said...

@ HP

"Perhaps the JAMS parents were against the time flip because their kids will be going to Hale which already has a later start time than most of the High Schools. They don't see any benefit to themselves and only disruption because their local high school is already on a late start."

Wow! That was harsh!

First of all, not all JAMS kids will be assigned to Hale, since JAMS houses HCC kids from both the Eckstein and JAMS attendance areas. Depending upon where they live, JAMS kids will go to Hale, Roosevelt, Ingraham, or Garfield.

Also, the meeting was not just for JAMS parents. Elementary schools were well-represented, and there were at least a few high school parents in attendance. There were some who were in favor of the "cost-neutral flip"/aka the Superintendents Final Draft Proposal, but there were many concerns and opposing opinions expressed, including:

1. Equity issues (Why only high FRL/ELL elementary schools in Tier 3?).

2. A preference for a 2-tier system, instead of 3- tiers.

3. Not happy that the "Modified Flip" and "Cost-neutral Flip" were so different (Bait and Switch).

4. Middle schools (and some elementary schools) will start too late and many kids will have to fend for themselves in the morning (not feasible, especially for SpEd kids).

5. Middle schools (and some elementary schools) will end too late, and no time for homework, activities, sports, etc...

6. 3rd-tier elementary school students will miss their peak learning time of day (9 am-ish).

7. A few participants challenged the validity of the teen sleep research.

8. Concerns about after school care and activity providers not being able to adapt to the new schedule (mostly elementary and middle school).

9. Concerns that the elementary time changes would be too drastic for families (i.e. schools going from late starts to early starts and vice-versa).

10. Concerns that some families (i.e. ELL) are not well-enough informed about the potential changes.

11. Concerns about child/pedestrian safety both in the morning (Tier 1) and evening (Tier 3), since kids will be walking to school/bus stops/home in the dark, especially up in JAMS territory, where most streets do not have side walks.

There were probably more concerns that I'm not remembering. It really wasn't about JAMS parents not caring about the the late start issue. After all, those of us with middle school kids are dealing with the 7:50 am late start now! Pretty much everybody who commented said that they supported later starts for teens. The objections expressed had more to do with the details of the "Cost Neutral Flip."

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

There were 25 people from Sand Point according to one parent from there- I think that skewed the tone of the room and is different than the other meetings. Along the outside ring people mostly were for the flip; I can think of 10-15 JAMS parents who were there, all but one for the flip as is(and I am 80% the one I am thinking of is you). I obviously don't know all the JAMS parents and have no idea if that is representative, but it does seem like middle and high school parents generally skew toward and elementary is very split. Only one of us(JAMS parents I know are for the flip) talked; in hindsight I maybe wish more had, but the tone was out of control. It really seemed like talking was just for if you wanted to get into a yelling match. I prefer my yelling matches virtual, thanks.

I think everybody would like two tiers, but there are differences in whether people think that is possible for next year or worth it even without(I do).

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Nice summary, North End Mom. Thank you!

TC

Anonymous said...

Personally, I can count at least 6 (probably more) JAMS parents who were there and who opposed the "cost-neutral flip."

I certainly can't speak for everyone, but it seemed like most parents at the meeting DID support a flip in schedules (with elementary first and middle/high schools later), they just don't support this particular proposal. Much of the opposition had to do with the inequitable placement of only high FRL schools in the third tier and the selection process SPS used to place them there, which was truly bizarre.

It was a very large crowd in an acoustically-challenged room, and it was very difficult to be heard without a microphone. No microphone was a huge oversight on the part of the meeting organizers.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I think that the staff has put FRL schools in 3rd tier so that older sibs - MS and HS - can provide childcare in the late afternoon-early evening. That is, I think the staff is trying to do something thoughtful for those communities. Whether the communities want this, I don't know. Why staff won't explain their intentions? I also don't know.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was the Sand Point parents' point- they were sitting in the center back and did most of the speaking that people could hear. Kudos to them for being organized.

I think that k-8s should be on the last tier, and all elementaries on the first. But that also is not on the table, and I think continuing our current schedule is killing teenagers, so we have to stop it, and this is not too high of a cost although it is obviously not perfect. I hope Maureen comes back, because I really liked what she had to say in the open thread.

-sleeper

SPS Mom said...

Reader47 - I think the # of routes that the busses are expected to drive is where you can do it for less than 8M. With a 50 minute differential between each of 3 tiers, the drivers are only driving about 2.1 routes (saw this in one of the powerpoints from last spring, I believe). If there was a 65 or 70 minute differential between routes, the drivers could drive close to 2 routes each - so not really increasing the number of buses/drivers - just using them more efficiently. That 50 minute differential is what I believe is driving up the costs of the two tier proposal.

Anonymous said...

EdVoter- they did say this is why(was this on a slide or did Pegi just assert this?), because surveys from FRL families said this is more important to them, in addition to the Team Read consideration. I think Sand Point is different and has been more organized, and also survey responses from lower income families are sparser, so it is harder to say it is representative. But that is the reasoning.

-sleeper

Robyn said...

Is it true that when the District adds 20 minutes to the day they are also doing a WEEKLY one hour early release? If so, that only adds a few minutes per WEEK of instruction, but creates an unmeasurable amount of disruption and complication. Early release days are already a joke and shouldn't be counted as full days if at all.

Anonymous said...

@EdVoter

As it was explained to us at the meeting...

SPS received feedback on the various bell times proposals, and there were a small number of responses (Pegi didn't say exactly how many, just that it was a small pool of responses) from parents who said that they preferred their older kids home first, so that they could take care of their elementary school-aged children. There was evidently a feedback survey which asked for racial/demographic information (I can't remember which one). At least some of the parents who sent in these particular comments identified as African American or Pacific Islander.

From that information, SPS made the extrapolation that this was a racially-linked preference, and they intentionally selected schools which had African American and/or Pacific Islander students to be in Tier 3.

I'm sure they had good intentions, but after-school care is only one piece of the puzzle. Getting kids to Tier 3 schools when parents have to leave early for work is a huge problem for low-income and single parent families. Also, with a start time of 9:40 am, these kids have missed their peak learning time, which is particularly-detrimental for at-risk kids. Also, linking this as a racial preference seems a little odd, since having older kids care for younger kids is not something taken advantage of by just African American and Pacific Islander families.

With the proposed late middle school dismissal time (4:10 pm), this convenient childcare opportunity would only work for families who have both elementary and high school-aged children. How many families from any demographic have kids in both elementary school and high school, and is this a significant-enough number to use as criteria for placing nearly 8000 kids from high-needs schools in Tier 3?

To be fair, there are some schools which requested to be in a later tier than the HS kids, so that their school could preserve "Team Read," an after-school tutoring program (teen tutors) that is at 11 high-needs elementary schools (8 Team Read schools are slated for Tier 3 next year, the other three are assigned to earlier tiers). To my knowledge, most of the schools selected for Tier 3 did not request a late start/late dismissal.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@SPS Mom - you are correct - there is a 50 minute differential between tiers currently, with each route taking between 40 to 60 minutes (traffic dependent). And trust me, I'm not saying it can't be done (the change to 3-tier bus routes was a smoke & mirrors game in the first place) - I'm just pointing out where that $8 million number that gets bandied about is coming from.

The reality is, SPS could return to 2 tiers if it wanted to, though I doubt it would be a zero sum game. Nothing ever is with these folk - it's just a question of how smoky we'll let the mirrors become before everyone joins together to insist on accurate budget accounting ;o)

reader47

Anonymous said...

@ North-End mom: Thank you for the additional information. I couldn't remember where/when I had heard the reasoning of the FRL-3rd Tier link.

My personal viewpoint is that the flip of start times would be good but that at this time the downsides are greater than the upsides. The cart of transportation is driving the horse of strong educational opportunities for all. The staff out there are trying to shoehorn a proposal into an unreasonable starting point: 3 Tiers of transportation. FWIW, I don't think 3 Tiers has worked from the moment it rolled out. The hearsay of #s of students arriving late every day in many schools seems unconscionable. That's a missed first period on a regular basis for many of our students. Unacceptable. If this is NOT the case, then I'd like to see numbers out of transportation re: on time arrivals and departures.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

@sleeper

Center-back was mostly John Rogers parents (and staff!). John Rogers is a Title 1 school that was placed in Tier 3, without requesting a late start (in the same boat as Sand Point).

John Rogers feeds into JAMS, as does Olympic Hills, which was also placed in Tier 3. Olympic Hills is a Team Read school, so this may have been a request? Sand Point doesn't feed into JAMS, but it was a NE regional meeting, and they are a NE school, so it was totally-appropriate for them to participate in the discussion.

All this angst could be avoided by going to two-tiers, with all elementary schools treated equitably and all secondary schools treated equitably. I don't know the number of buses used by each school well-enough to suggest where K-8s should go.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@EdVoter

The truly strange thing was that at a boundaries/assignment plan meeting last week at Thornton Creek, parents were told that it was illegal to use race to set boundaries, but FRL and ELL demographics were acceptable. Yet, when determining bell times, race was considered a significant factor in the decision-making process. It left many of us very confused.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

My recollection is they sliced data both ways (income and race), and specifically that African American families were more likely to have asked for no change and that 35% of them used middle or high schoolers for after care compared to a lower number I am not remembering for white and Asian families. I also recall she said low income survey responses were small, but she did not say that for any part of the racial data. So I *think* she was trying to say that although FRL response numbers are small, they are in line with racial data we have which is robust, and tried to back into FRL data from that.

I think Sand Point in particular is a very new school(hasn't the first cohort not graduated? And it took a little while to fill?), and would not have as many families who have and so are using older children as childcare. It's also truly diverse- families are all across the income spectrum, including at the top of it, and they want different things. I am not sure who should go on the third tier, but I am not positive the district got it wrong. I think it does seem like they solicited and used feedback. We will see what they do with this round of new feedback.

All of the things you mention are true for the tier 3 elementary students who are on that schedule now, and there are more of them than would be on this plan. This lowers the number of tier 3 elementary students. Tier 3 is not ideal, but it has not yet shown ill effects the way an early start has for older students, in health, safety, academic outcome, etc.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Of course it was appropriate for Sand Point to participate! It would have been appropriate for anyone to. I am saying I think the large turn out from one school is what made this meeting sound different than the other meetings we have heard reports from.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

So currently there are many elementaries that start on the late tier at 9:30. Under the new plan there would be fewer elemenataries that start on the late tier at 9:40. Sand Point is one of those schools, starting 10 minutes later. So for these 10 minutes, Sand Point parents are hoping to defeat the later starts for high school. Really, for 10 minutes?!

We already have a 3 tier system. We have schools starting at 9:30, many of them. What is changing is which schools. If 9:40 start times are so problematic how can it be that elementary parents are tolerating the 9:30 start times currently? Why haven't we heard testimony at board meetings for the last year about how bad the 9:30 start times are? Why hasn't there been a movement to change to 2- tier system because of the 9:30 starts? This plan decreases the number of elementary schools on the latest tier. That is why folks are so upset, that even though they support later starts for teens, they can not allow this change?




-More Sleep

Anonymous said...

@sleeper

Personally, I would guess that for circumstances where parents need to be at work before their elementary school kids leave for school, it would be most beneficial to have the older kids home in the morning to provide childcare and get the younger kids safely off to school. Accessing before school care can be difficult if parents don't have a car or convenient Metro routes to get their kids to school-based or other before-school care locations.

I remember Pegi saying that they based their assumptions for placing schools in Tier 3 off of a very small number of responses. I couldn't hear everything that was said though, without a microphone.

As for impacts of late starts on elementary students, the sleep expert said that this was a topic that wasn't well-studied, as most of the research has been targeted at teen sleep needs. To say there are no ill-effects strikes me as a bit premature. From personal experience as the parent of kids who attended a Title 1 school that has seen fairly wide-ranging start/end times over the past decade (though none as drastically-late as those proposed for Tier 3 next year), the later start times seemed to have the most tardies/no-shows. Late starts are tough on low-income families.

- North-end Mom

As for who will face

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Oops. Disregard whatever that is at the end of my last post!

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, it is not illegal to use race for enrollment or boundaries. That is what the U.S. Supreme Court that Magnolia/Ballard parents brought against the district found. Most people thought, "Oh race got thrown out." Not true. It cannot be a deciding factor but can be part of an overall plan for enrollment/boundaries.

Anonymous said...

"Tier 3 is not ideal, but it has not yet shown ill effects the way an early start has for older students, in health, safety, academic outcome, etc"

This is what I said. "Not yet." Not that there are definitely no ill effects. She also said the only apparently useful data so far is on elementary starts well before 8 am- so our earliest start is 8 am. Hey, kindly, this is the second time in an hour you've miscontrued or misquoted pretty unfavorably something I said. I also made no implication about who should or should not attend a meeting, just who was there.

at other schools moving from tier 3 to tier 1, early starts are the problem I am hearing about in terms of childcare. I think change is just hard, and the fact is that the school day does not entirely cover the work day. But this change can save lives. Help slow the school to prison pipeline. It is for the good. I hope they do it.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Our PTA just told us the District has asked them to send another bell time survey home to all parents. The survey is coming home tonight with the kiddos. It gives two options, just for our school - a very early option and a very late option. There is a box for comments.

Planning to Comment

Anonymous said...

Are bell time surveys only going to elementary schools? We're not on board with a 9:40 middle school start. Please don't give us the "change is hard" line.

MS parent

Anonymous said...

@sleeper

Sorry. I didn't mean to misconstrue your comment about elementary school students (I'm tired and multi-tasking). I do think there will be impacts on this particular population of Tier 3 kids, and they have to successfully get through elementary school before they can navigate middle and high school and escape the school to prison pipeline.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I know; I meant it respectfully. Just wanted to say in case we kept talking.

The surveys already went out from the district, now some ptas are doing another. I don't know if the arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org address is still taking comments, but that is where we were directed to send comments before.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that the Sand Point parents that were there at the meeting did not get to speak much at all, which was disappointing because we worked so hard to get lots of parents out. We came to protest the fact that we are the only ones in our area of NE Seattle being assigned a 9:40 am start time, compared with our neighboring schools Wedgwood, View Ridge, Bryant, Thornton Creek and Laurelhurst all being given the 8 am start time. We do not want to be isolated from our community and we have been advocating to let the District know that we want to have the same start time as the other neighborhood schools, whether it ends up being 8 am or later. Our kids will be missing out on playdates, after school activities and other opportunities in the area if they are being released over 1.5 hrs after everyone else. It is really unfortunate that the meeting was cut off after only 30 mins of discussion, because there were so many good points being made and I would have loved to hear them all.

SPE Parent

Anonymous said...

Also just wanted to add that Sand Point was center front, not center back. We got there early thinking we'd gotten good seats but we didn't get picked to speak even though we had our arms up the whole time...

SPE Parent

Anonymous said...

What about the elementary kids like mine who currently have a 9.30 start? Lots of elementary schools currently have this and it's not the end of the world. The neighbor kids they play with go to a bunch of different schools (private/public, elementary/middle) with a bunch of different start time and end times. What SPE parent is talking about is not a new issue. Personally I would far rather have my ES kids start at their current 9.30 or even a 9.40 - it's not ideal but its much better that 7.50 which is what they would change to under the proposal. But I would support the change because I know it will be for the best for them once they reach secondary school with a later start time. What I really want is sensible, middle ground start times for all school (one for ES one for HS) and that will only come with a 2 tier bus.

late starter

Anonymous said...

SPE Parent,

Whether things stay as they are or move to later starts for teens, there will be elementaries on the 3rd tier. Do you think that by keeping teens at the early time your school will be guaranteed to stay at the same bell times as neighboring schools? Is the Sand Point parent group comfortable with the trade offs this imposes on teenagers?

Teenagers will also have sacrifices in after school activities, work schedules & social schedules if bell times are changed. It will mean tremendous upheaval & certainly fewer options during a transition period. Activities that students have invested years in developing & are counting on for college applications will be impacted. Some will loose their jobs. Do you wonder why parents, schools nurses, children's hospital, UW sleep researchers, & high school teachers think it is worth it? My teen is, unusally, a lark. But the cost for many teens at the early start time is more grave than disrupting after school activities. For those teens, it seems worth it to me to make the sacrifice of changing bell times.

- seen outcomes

Anonymous said...

Seen outcomes,

I don't think you understood SPE Parent's point.

SPE P isn't against having a reasonable start for MS and HS. SPE P is saying that a difference of almost 2 hours start time will have a negative impact in building a community.

I agree.

I'm not and SPE but find it "convenient" (for lack of a better word) that the school with the highest FRL population is the one that has the different starting time.

- LM

Anonymous said...

I agree that high FRL elementaries should have first pick of tiers. They should get what works best for their families. But it does not follow that the plan should be ditched. It is possible to still give title 1 schools their choice if other elementary communities are concerned enough about it to be willing to support moving their own school's proposed bell times. Then the message to the district would have been, 'yes we want later starts for teens & high FRL elementaries should have first choice of tiers'. That is not the impression that I got, but I wasn't at that JAMS meeting.

-Seen Outcomes

Anonymous said...

SPE currently starts at 9:25 am which is similar to all the other schools in our area. Whichever way the times go, we don't want to be singled out for a completely different start time in our community. We do have a higher proportion of low income families than other schools in the area. It seems like a further disadvantage to isolate us like this. Ideally we'd all have an 8:30 start, but the District isn't giving us this option.

We do support later start times for teenagers, as we know the scientific research supports this. That doesn't mean we can't advocate to be treated fairly on the elementary level, and to keep neighborhoods working together.

Thanks,

SPE Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wait, a minute, Seen Outcomes. You advocate that high F/RL should get to pick their tier? I don't agree. Everyone is a parent with a life. The district should take care with those students most at-risk but that's the district's call, not a vote.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

It has been reported that the big hurdle for parents at the JAMS meeting was that Title 1 schools were being forced into the 3rd tier. The district thinks they are doing what those schools requested. Parents at the meeting think the district is being punitive to those schools. It seems to me that parents & staff at those schools should have more of a voice in their fate. If elementary schools prefer different tiers then it may be possible to accommodate them. If they all prefer the same tier then it is not possible. In that case I would give preference to the neediest schools where more families have fewer resources to address schedule issues. I suppose the argument could be made that it would be more fair to do it randomly, but Parents at the meeting seem to support protecting the high FRL schools. I agree with them on that. Of course, in the end, the district will do what it wants to, it always does.

-Seen Outcomes

Anonymous said...


Got a survey from my kids ES due Friday. Do you support or not the change in tiers? I would rather my kids get home at a more convenient time than 2:30 but that isn't really what it's about. I DON'T WANT THAT KID TO SUFFER IN SECONDARY SCHOOL. That is the issue, and for that I will not voice an opinion now.

-Do it

ProSleep Mom said...

Many people want two tiers, hard to find someone who doesn't; I lobbied very hard for them on the Task Force and in community meetings- but I think the big question is how likely we are to get them.

The current Board has clearly and consistently demanded a cost-neutral solution. Our buses currently run an average of 2.24 runs; far below the three we should have in theory, but going down to two will definitely cost money. They estimate $8 million; my own calculations are closer to $4 million. Some transparency here would be really helpful- a detailed calculation, not a rough estimation with 30% contingency factors. (BTW, I obtained the full Transportation database through a public records request- happy to share it with anyone who really wants to dive in (wonks, where are you??).)

So this Board is pretty unlikely to vote in two tiers.

Will this change with the new Board? Possibly. A suggestion has been floated that they will consider two tiers when the 20 minutes is added on, because those schedules will be worse yet. However, the money problem remains and the new Board, whoever they are, will also have to find the money the pay for the 20 minutes, which I have heard is still needs to be sourced. (I have asked for clarification from staff on this point; so far, no response- if anyone else knows, please enlighten us. This is very concerning.)

Another issue is how much the state will pay for transportation- what will it really cost. The problem here is that the state rates District's on efficiency, and penalize districts that are below their standards. We currently get 100% of what we are entitled to; it is not clear what would happen if we fall below 2 tiers, which we would, since some of our routes are over an hour. So far, due to our relatively high SPED and MKV populations, our uniquely large system, and large numbers of kids on Metro, they just can't find any other districts to compare with us, so they give us 100%-but they don't fund everything.

All this makes me think two tiers is not likely anytime soon, even if McCleary funding kicks in, since I think it will largely go to funding the 20 minutes and smaller class sizes. I would be happy to be convinced otherwise- am I too pessimistic?

Today, Bellevue provisionally passed 8:30 HS start times- they still have lots of details to work out, but they look committed to working it out. I know we have lots of problems and lots to work out to get to a fairer plan than what is currently on the table-but it could be done. Everyone sees what they are losing- please remember what is being gained, and what will be gained by every child in the district as they rise through the system.

ProSleep Mom said...

Northshore did a much better survey than we did- with push-pull questions like:

The AAP strongly recommends 8:30 start for adolescents- blurb about circadian shifts, etc.

Knowing this, do you support 8:30 or later starts for middle and high school?

Enacting later starts would mean elementary schools will have either an 8 am or 9:40 start- would you still support changing middle and high times?

Sports performance increases and injuries decrease when teens get more sleep when schools start later. Afternoon practices would need to be shorter, and there could be morning practices. About 18% of high school students participate in sports.
Knowing all this, do you support middle school start times of 9:40 and high school start times of 8:50?

etc... you bring up positives and negatives and so everyone gets the big picture- and then see what the support is.

Family convenience is not what this is about! One has to look at what is healthy for kids for their whole school career- not just this moment in time.

GarfieldMom said...

ProSleep Mom, I'd be happy to dig into that database and see what info we can get from it. You can email me at seattleschoolsdata @ gmail.com. I've started looking at some numbers available from OSPI but I don't have the background knowledge for how transportation works so it's a steep learning curve.

Parents shouldn't have to work so hard to understand how the district does things. Their communication is abysmal, either because they lack the skills or because they deliberately withhold/distort information.

Anonymous said...



And fewer stops right? Kids can walk 5 blocks, that is a 1/2 mile radius between stops. Currently it is a couple of blocks.

And this is primarily and rightly for SpEd riders. Seems there is something we have over looked to get kids where they need to be successfully without stress and on time.

_ughhhh

ProSleep Mom said...

Garfield mom- I just sent you the data. Let us know your thoughts after you take a look.

Anonymous said...

There's an article today in the Seattle Times about the Gates Fdn and their challenges and lack of success in education. Maybe they should funds SPS the cost of going to two tiers with healthy bell schedules for all. The educational benefits would likely be positive, so they could claim a success. Win-win.

HF

Anonymous said...

Interesting - the Mayor is holding a press conference on "Safe Routes to schools" today - a Kiro reporter tweeted these statements...

"All kids in the @seapubschools will learn to ride a bike in 3rd-5th grade, part of #SafeRoutes.

really? and all 3-5th graders have parents who can afford bikes? Or are physically capable of doing so???

"24% of @seapubschools students walk to school. Big increase. Sidewalk widening projects now in the works.

that seems like a low number to me?

Additional info
NE Seattle Greenways ‏@NEGreenways
Announcement by @MayorEdMurray @seattledot for 5 year #SafeRoutesToSchool Action Plan. http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/saferoutes_actionplan.htm

And oooh there's an "incentive" plan - stickers! yipppee! (color me cynical today ;o)

reader47

Anonymous said...

Sidewalk WIDENING projects? What about all the neighborhoods without sidewalks!?!

There is no such thing as a "safe route to school" for most kids living north of 85th Street. Kids are walking on roads with no sidewalks or shoulders, around huge street puddles that take up both lanes of traffic...and they are widening sidewalks elsewhere?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I have an elementary aged kid at a tier 3 school (9:30 start) and our school wants to keep the later start!

I also have a middle schooler (8th) and the 7:50 start has been BRUTAL for his sleep, mental health and learning. I dread his high school experience if the bell time doesn't change.

The current flipped proposal is imperfect and I'd prefer that everyone start around 8:30-9:00. However, barring that, I support this plan because I have a child going to high school next year and one who will go in the future (as do all of us with kids in school). For my younger child, the flip plan will mean an earlier start for a few more elementary years and a late start (and end) for middle school - inconvenient in some ways, not my preference in other ways. BUT my focus is on older kids NEEDing a later start.

(reluctant) supporter

Anonymous said...

Where can I see which elementary schools would be in which tier under the new proposal? On the SPS website it still says that they haven't determined which ones would be at which times next year and beyond. Thanks.
a question

Anonymous said...

Superintendents Final Draft Proposal (Bell Times)

http://seattleschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=2451501

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

If you believe the research that more sleep is needed by middle schoolers and high schoolers, that it is harder for them to awaken earlier, and that their learning, mental health, and safety are impacted by lack of sleep, then you will be willing to make compromises about start times for your children over the course of their 13 years in school. Learning, mental health, and safety - those are the benefits of this new proposal.

Elementary: Currently almost half of SPS elementary schools start at 9:30, which is not that different than 9:40. There’s been no huge outcry about that start time on this blog, at school board meetings, etc. People adjusted – as did childcare providers. Why is starting at 9:40 suddenly an equity issue? I smell a rat. An 8:00 start for elementary is much earlier, but kids that age wake up earlier. I could see making a case for a school that draws from all over (like Lincoln/Cascadia – HCC) being a 9:40 starter because of busing from father away. Otherwise, to the posters who complain about late sport practices and getting their elementary schooler to bed on time, I simply say: we have high schoolers whose bodies biologically cannot go to sleep so that they can sleep enough for their 7:50 start – no matter what kind of practice thy do or don’t have. In other words, practices are a choice. Elementary school kids are ABLE to get to sleep in time to make a 8:00 start OK. If their sport practice is at 7:00 at night, then choose a different sport or activity.

9:40 for middle school: late, but again we have 26 elementary schools starting at 9:30 and getting out at 3:40 for a 6 year span of schooling. The real problem with this start time is that it puts them out at 4:10. However, middle school is a quick 3 years and again: learning, mental health, and safety.

High school: starting at 8:50 is so much better for this age group than starting at 7:50. Learning, mental health, and safety.

NONE of this is about parent and caregiver convenience. As was said in a prior thread, it never has been about our convenience. Schools aren’t childcare and don’t mirror most people’s work schedules. Summer break is inconvenient. Early dismissal for teacher training is inconvenient. It’s not about our convenience.

After school activities are optional and people can choose not to participate in them or only participate in those that fit their schedule.

Learning, mental health, and safety.

Flip the Bells



Anonymous said...


I appreciate that Seattle Public Schools is looking for ways to delay the start times of middle school and high school students based on the substantial evidence that greater sleep in this cohort will likely lead to benefits in health and safety outcomes, as well as school performance. However, what concerns me greatly is that the proposed solution may simply be finding benefits for older students at the expense of costs to younger students.

The prevailing assumption of the proposed ‘modified flip’ is that there are no real costs; middle school and high school students receive benefits (on average), and there are no costs to elementary school students. The trade-off was characterized in this manner, explicitly, on Seattle Public School’s Bell Times website during the time period when parents were asked to weigh in on the issue through the survey. However, in a relatively short search of the literature, I was able to locate peer-reviewed research (http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/edu-a0037195.pdf
) showing that early start times may negatively affect the elementary cohort, too. I shared this research with Seattle Public Schools but I do not believe this has been included in the ongoing public discussion and decision-making.

In the above article, the authors provide evidence that earlier school start times are associated with poorer school performance in elementary schools. Combined with research showing that 25% of school-age children in first to fifth grade obtain less than the recommended daily amount of sleep (National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll, 2004), I am concerned that there may be significant costs imposed on our youngest students who will now be asked to show up for school an hour and a half earlier. The authors state that policies such as the ‘modified flip’ proposed by Seattle Public Schools “may simply be shifting the problem from adolescents to younger children, instead of eliminating it altogether.” Indeed, I have contacted the lead author of the study directly and she has cautioned against flipping the start times as a solution in our district.

I understand the desire to have a cost-neutral policy change and realize that asking for additional funding for transportation may not be easy, but I also feel that the probable costs of the ‘modified flip’ to the most vulnerable cohort are not being fully accounted for in the proposed recommendation.

Anonymous said...

The sleep expert at the JAMS Bell Times meeting said that elementary students hadn't been studied as much as teens in regards to peak learning times, but that the general opinion is that peak learning for elementary kids is about 2 hours after waking, which is approximately 9 am.

The kids in the Tier 3 will not start school until 9:40, so while the kids who start at 8:00 will eventually hit their peak learning time of day while in school, the Tier 3 kids will miss it entirely. I realize this is already happening with the current 9:30 elementary start at some schools, but that doesn't mean it is OK. SPS should be considering the best possible schedule for all students, and go to two tiers.

- North-end Mom

Lynn said...

That's interesting anonymous poster @ 11:55. Another Seattle parent also called the author of that paper and seems to have received a less negative reaction to the planned flip. See this comment:

ProSleep Mom10/1/15, 12:47 PM
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.


Here's a link to that discussion: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2015/09/first-seattle-schools-bell-times.html?m=1#comment-form