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Monday, May 11, 2009

Bell Times (Part Two)

Here is a document dated May 6th with bell/bus arrival times.

It's interesting. It looks like Day is one of the earliest elementaries at 9:05 with Hay, Whittier and others the latest at 9:25. The earliest end time is 3:10 and the latest is 3:30.

Middle school is 8:05 to 8:20 with the K-8s starting at 8:20. Most everyone ends at 2:35 but Aki ends at 3:35 (I'm thinking this may be a typo).

Hale still has 8:30 start and 3:00 end which is much later than the other high schools opening from 7:55-8:05 and ending at 2:30-2:35.

Is this valid? Firm?

16 comments:

ParentofThree said...

Aki ends at 3:35 (I'm thinking this may be a typo).

I think this may be correct, I remember reading/hearing something about their extended day. But could be wrong.

Anyway, as long as middle schools stay off that dreaded 7:40 start time, I am going to be a happy camper, no matter how much $$$ the district saves, or does not save.

Maureen said...

Madrona ends late too: 3:35. Extended day for them as well?

These changes just don't seem to be that huge, EXCEPT for the K-8s that go to the earlier start time. Are all of the savings coming from those eight schools? If so, couldn't they have just asked for volunteers. I bet there are eight K-5s that would have preferred an early start.

whittier07 said...

I think this might be an updated report as a few weeks ago we were told that the Whittier buses would arrive @ 9:15 and school would start @ 9:35.

Charlie Mas said...

For all of the talk about standardized bus and bell times, these don't appear - to me - to be any more standardized than they already are.

zb said...

"For all of the talk about standardized bus and bell times, these don't appear - to me - to be any more standardized than they already are."

That struck me, too. In a perfect world, I'd suppose that there was some underlying order (for example, the info bandied about Hale, that they do not have school bus service, even for special needs students, justifying their later start time). But, although I do believe that the SPS is trying to do the best it can, I'm not quite ready to assume that it has intelligently designed this system.

Stu said...

Wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure that the all-city schools, like Lowell, have the slightly earlier times so that the kids, many of whom are bused, can get home for dinner?

Also, I agree with the other comment that, if this is being done for safety reasons, when aren't the elementary kids in the K-8 programs being kept safe too?

stu

ParentofThree said...

I do have to wonder if anybody adjusted their enrollment choice based on what the board voted on March 18 and the district then communicated to parents. Only to have it all tossed out.

Charlie Mas said...

That's right! The Board made this vailiant effort to introduce and adopt the bus/bell times in advance of the close of open enrollment, only to have it all re-written afterwards. Twice.

SP said...

Here is a question for parents with kids at Roosevelt, Garfield, Ballard & Franklin:

For high schools (and middle schools) SEA contract lists a 6-1/2 hour day bell-to-bell for the students. Any variance has to be approved by the SEA members. The proposed schedule for the above high schools is five minutes longer (specifically for start/end times) than the contract allows. Does anyone know what plans these schools have for their new schedules, why the extra 5 minutes is needed in the schedule and what process did each school go through to allow this?

I ask this because I know that Garfield has had the extra 5 minutes this year & before, in order to allow for the longer 55 minute classes and also squeeze in a 10 minute morning break. What type of bell schedule are these other schools going to use? This is the time of the year that bell schedules are forming, and we can learn from other schools what works & what changes are going to be made for next year.

Thanks!

anonymous said...

Did the SEA approve Hale's late start every single Tuesday??? Their bell schedule every Tuesdays the entire year is 1000A-3P.

SP said...

Adhoc, re: Hale's weekly late starts-

Teachers have professional development during the site-based late starts, so it's not a SEA issue (they still work the same hours).

The students, on the other hand, are the ones who get short- changed and have much less classroom instruction time than other schools in Seattle.

The Seattle Times did an article last October, "Class time at Seattle high schools differ" which reported that only Garfield and Roosevelt students were meeting the state requirement of 150 hours or more instruction per credit (Garfield has 157 hours). Hale students are at the lowest, with only 134 hours!

Now, with the new Board proposals for giving high school credit to some middle classes (but specifying only to classes with 150 hours of instruction), bell schedules for middle school students in K-8's with shorter time in class should be a concern also to consider.

For a struggling student, time-on-task in the classroom does matter, and parents don't buy the "less is more" mantra. With the new assignment plan on the horizon, equitable classroom schedules do matter!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Adhoc, that is a good point just in terms of parents making sure you know the whole bell schedule for each school (so much for standardization). Roosevelt has several late starts (usually followed the next day by a district early release) and I know several other schools used to have late starts as well (and still may).

Anyway, it's something to ask about at each school so you know in advance what schedules are like.

Maureen said...

I wonder if 6th-8th graders in K-8s can have shorter school days but get the same instructional time because they have fewer/shorter breaks between classes? It takes about ten seconds to get from Math to English at TOPS while I imagine it could take five minutes at Eckstein.

SP said...

Maureen,
It's not just the passing time, think about all the days some middle schools (and also high schools) have for late arrivals with site-based professional development.

Some middle schools have two late arrival days per month, and high schools as much as one per week- that's a whole lot of time our students aren't even in the classroom when the school calendar shows that they should be. These schools can't possibly deliver the required 150 hours to count for a high school credit, much less give the kids enough time to cover & practice the material (in for example a math1 class that builds the foundation for Math2 in high school).

It's very interesting to hear the district say (at the 4/29 H.S. Grading Policy meeting) that the new thinking is to "move away from instructional time" and yet we see that the struggling schools in the south end inititive appear to be extending the school day by 1 hr. for next year, because it might actually make a difference- just like Obama's education reform is talking about.

"Extended Learning Time" (ELT) is a big focus across the U.S. in improving schools, rather than cutting back on classroom time like so many of our Seattle schools seem to be doing with their site-based management. Quality instructional time does count and ALL of our Seattle schools need to deliver this in an equitable manner to all of our students (and not just to Garfield and Roosevelt students).

Maureen said...

This is off topic here, but I've been thinking about instructional time with respect to professional development. Some PD takes place in the summer or after school, but it seems like more and more of it is occuring during the school day. The school (or someone) pays the District to cover subs, and pays for the training, but are they really taking into account the impact of the lost instructional time for the students? (any parent knows that it takes an exceptional sub with an exceptional lesson plan from the teacher to get anything real done).

BullDogger said...

Maureen,

I'm speaking of the high schools here...

Lost instruction time is not a big district priority. There are many educators who will argue quality teachers and curriculum are the key features of an education, not time.

Philisophical differences exist between education providers and their customers. Most parents would like both quality and more instruction time. It is hard to improve curriculum (as the math adoption shows) or remove a low quality teacher. Young good teachers are likely to get pinched in the next year or two. Professional development may be intended to improve quality but, in my experience, there is almost no accountability and very mixed reviews amongst staff.

I'm for giving kids more instruction time, being more open with professional development impacts and giving parents more input at bell schedule creation.


BTW... PD is not a district absolute. Some schools have no local PD and others are impacted weekly. Mostly the staff drives it.