Friday, January 18, 2008

Hey Sports Fans!

So there were two articles of interest in the PI today. One is about the UW's efforts to get the state to buy into their plan for a renovated Husky stadium at a cost of $300M. They want half from the state and say they can raise the other half. Frank Chopp, speaker of the house, thinks it's a good idea. What the angle for SPS?

"And the stadium is used for more than just football, lobbyists argue. More than 100 community events were held at the facility last year, and renovation proponents say they'd like to see even more community use.

"One of the things we would like to do is have a Friday-night high school football game of the week at Husky Stadium," Evans said."

Here's what Chopp said:

"It can be used for a lot more than just Husky football. They are talking about a series of high school football games. If you have ever been to Memorial Stadium in Seattle, it's in pretty bad shape."

Thanks Frank. Memorial Stadium isn't the worst I've ever seen and a view of the Space Needle ain't bad. (But I know that it needs a lot of work.) However, it might be nice for schools to have access to a nice new stadium. However, I do remember how Qwest Field was going to be the site of many soccer games (Paul Allen said so) and yet, it seems like they get one or two a year (and that was built with public funds). Also, I have wonder about the football program at UW wanting their field torn up every Friday right before the 1 p.m. Saturday kick-off for their game. I'd be willing to bet it would be a Thursday night high school game.

Onward. So in the sports section of the PI there was this story about the revamping of King-Co, the league that Roosevelt, Garfield and Ballard play in because of their size. (All the other SPS teams are in Metro, I believe.) From the article:

"Say hello to the new KingCo conference, a combined Class 2A/3A/4A league that very nearly does it all. Guaranteed to handle fluctuating enrollment figures for years to come, this one-of-a-kind conference keeps traditional rivalries alive while cutting down on transportation costs and time out of class. It will go into effect this fall."

It's interesting because apparently they have tried to group schools in the divisions (4A, 3A and 2A) by geography. As well, they have two divisions; one for group sports and one for individual sports. That way for group sports larger schools don't dominate smaller schools but those issues aren't as severe for individual sports.

Also from the article:

"For team sports, and football in particular, teams must play at their own classification level during league play but are allowed enough open dates for crossover games with traditional rivals that are at a different level."

Here's where the Seattle schools land for team sports in the 4A Crown Division:

Ballard, Bothell, Inglemoor, Lake Washington, Roosevelt, Woodinville

(Garfield is in another 4A geographic division.) Okay but that means that Seattle teams still have to go over 520 to get to games. It may be better that they are all northern teams but there's still a lot of travel involved.

For individual sports the Seattle teams are in this division:

Ballard, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Roosevelt

This is kind of a key issue in later start times for high schools because sports are a big, big deal in high school and the sports schedule is a huge issue in trying to get a later start time(although I note that Ballard has done it and they are in King-Co).

It is done in other parts of the country and hasn't ended sports there. I think it is sad (and I say this as someone with a student involved in a sport) that sports could trump academic outcomes but try telling people you want a later start time and the first thing you hear is "What about sports?"


Anonymous said...

I personally would love high school football games to be at Husky Stadium - I would love to take my kids to high school games and would much more likely do so at Husky Stadium (but that's selfish on my part since it is so close to where we live/easy to get to).

As for tearing up the field, how torn up does turf like that get? My understanding is the turf they use is pretty resilient.

As for late start and sports, I'd love there to be later starts (but I started high school at 7:50 and though it was painful, it worked fine), but there are other factors besides just sports. When I was growing up, kids had after school jobs they had to get to. Starting school earlier in the day does give more time after school for work, extracurricular, and homework so I think you really need to look at both sides closely.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Say what?

School is about academics. Not extracurricular, not sports, not after-school jobs. If we are trying to get the best out of each student, with proven methods, then we should go to a later start day. And this should be for middle school as well.

If we say it will be the end of high school as we know it because the day starts later, we're in trouble. Hale does it. Ballard does it. Center School does it.

I don't know if my earlier post on later start times got missed but schools throughout the country that have gone later report:
-better attendance
-better on-time attendance
-higher test scores on standardized tests
-few teen crashes

Anonymous said...

Don't say what me. I was just being devils advocate. I am not an expert and am not anti-late start, I just wanted to look at other sides of things. When I was in high school, there were lots of lower income families with kids who worked to save money for college. It was a big deal. They actually worked it into the curriculum through a DECA class.

I don't like this say what. Just because I was pointing at other things to look at, doesn't mean I was fighting against a late start. I hate how everytime I post on this blog, I have to be paranoid that someone is going to twist what I say or say something like "say what" to try to make me sound uneducated. I am very PRO education from a very highly educated family and do make it a priority in our family. I do however think sports and extracurricular and after school jobs are also an important part of growing up and was saying that as a teenager I didn't love getting up at 6:30 in the morning for school, but I did as did everyone else and we all did fine.

Please don't say what me - it was uncalled for based on my post. Say what the people who start shooting racial and economic shots at eachother that goes on so much here.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous that there is a lot to consider. My boys play sports and after school, practice, homework, dinner and a shower, the day is gone. We expect our older son to squeeze a job in next year, and if there was a late start, I don't think he could do it. I had an early start in HS to. I didn't like getting up early, but it did no damage whatsoever (to me). Even though my family was very middle class they believed in keeping us kids busy and instilling values, and that included working, which we actually loved. We loved having our own money because it gave us more freedom. In Seattle, there is also the issue of sunshine. In the winter it is dark at 4:00 in the afternoon. At least getting off at 2:30 our kids can see the light of day for a couple of hours. If your kids practice a sport after school the hour and a half of light is invaluable. Are there any studies on the lack of sunshine in a teens life, Melissa?? Surely that is as damaging as late start. There are two sides to every story. Like the above poster, I am not anti-late start. Not at all. But I guess I just don't think is as big a deal as you do Melissa. I think that either way our kids will be fine! Kids are resilient.

Anonymous said...

Some kids simply do not thrive on academics alone, it is sports and extracurricular programs that get them up and out the door.

And high school should also be about learning to work. Kids don't work these days and it shows in their attitudes. Too many kids have a sense of entitlement and unless their parents are going to hand over $150K to buy their first house, they better learn to work and save!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh boy. I can't express surprise over a post? And by way of expressing surprise I am somehow inferring that someone is uneducated? That's a reach.

I'm not saying no after-school job, no sports, no nothing. As I mentioned, Ballard and Hale and Center School are still going strong. How do they do it?

I love that old "kids are lazy" argument. To say that getting up early is going to make them less lazy and more productive, well, I don't buy it.

What are kids in school for and what are the adults in their lives responsible for? The best academic outcomes.

Anonymous said...

How about the sunshine argument? Do you like that one??

Melissa Westbrook said...

Once again, it's not a matter of whether all this has merit. It does. I'm sure sunshine matters but why would I have to do the research about the sunshine argument? It sounds logical but someone please, go find some research on it. I found research and evidence on my points.

This blog exists to try to ferret out how to make public school education in Seattle better. Beth, Charlie and myself do research, go to meetings and general try to put out cogent information. I have no problem with debating the issues or arguing my point.

But, this discussion points up the fact that the minute we put something on the table that has been done successfully elsewhere (and in Seattle) and has proven outcomes for academic improvement, well, it's shot down. So where do we go from here?

Anonymous said...


My point (the say what point) was I would have been happy with your argument if you didn't say say what? You could have said everything in your post except say what, I would have been fine. I read your earlier post with the research and I am dreading when my kids have the early start in middle school (though that is still 4 1/2 years away).

All I wanted to do was help debate the topic from both angles - I don't have a strong opinion either way right now and thought my post was good for discussion of the topic.

I felt the "say what" was insulting, like I hadn't read your other post and hadn't cared about the education side of the arguement. I just wish people would be a little more sensitive the way they word things in posts. I used to post my name until Charlie totally insulted me (which he later apologized for which I appreciate). I will continue to post anonymnously due to the way people can be so rude to eachother here and I don't want to be wrongfully labeled.

BTW, I have never put anyone down in any post and would never and always read my posts to make sure they come out okay.

Call me oversensitive, but I just want some respect. Also - I do very much appreciate this blog and the hard work you, Charlie and Beth do.

dan dempsey said...

I am really impressed with the quality of the posts on this blog.
Comments from the blog authors are really helpful.

I greatly appreciate the time and expertise that the posters put in.

Melissa's posts and comments on recent meetings were fabulous.

Many of the comments are also very good from the non-blog authors.

I find it interesting that almost all of those who are the Big Time Shooters Down never have any data to back up their claims.

It is easy to become frustrated when trying to create positive change and encountering resistance without logic or relevance.

Mel, Charlie, Beth et al. keep up the fabulous work.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure sunshine matters but why would I have to do the research about the sunshine argument? It sounds logical but someone please, go find some research on it. I found research and evidence on my points.

There has been a tremendous amount of research on the positive effects of Sunshine, especially on teenagers. Note, the high suicide rate in Seattle. We take sunshine however we can get it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure sunshine matters but why would I have to do the research about the sunshine argument? It sounds logical but someone please, go find some research on it. I found research and evidence on my points.

There has been a tremendous amount of research on the positive effects of Sunshine, especially on teenagers. Note, the high suicide rate in Seattle. We take sunshine however we can get it.

Anonymous said...

i found this along with a whole bunch of information on later start times, its easy to find, just do a search on google. if its about the bus schedule, put the high schoolers on Metro. My son attends middle school and i can attest he cant fall asleep before 10 and trying to get him up at 6:45 is just a bear. he is tired in the morning, i just cant imagine him trying this in high school.

1996, the suburban school system of Edina, Minn., changed its start time for 3,000 high school students from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Two years later, Minneapolis followed suit for more than 50,000 teenagers.

Teachers reported that students were more alert, and research conducted by Wahlstrom showed a range of benefits to students and teachers -- and contradicted some of the biggest fears about the change: that after-school sports and jobs would suffer.

With the later start time, teenagers were less depressed, and it turned out that employers did not have big problems with students getting out of school later, Wahlstrom said. Although student grades did not rise significantly, the trends have been upward, she said. And some sports practices were shortened, but Edina and Minneapolis teams have played just as competitively as they had before.

"It seemed that the research resonated with everyone who has been an adolescent or who has raised one, which is all of us," said Laura Tueting Nelson, Edina's director of communications and public affairs.