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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Here's the Bell Times Update From the District

Here's the latest from the district website about the bell times/bus arrival times:

"At the March 18 School Board meeting, School Board Directors voted to approve new transportation service standards for the District. The new transportation service standards will take effect September 2009. These changes may impact your family.
Following the March 18 vote, we received additional feedback about these changes from families, principals, and staff. Based on that feedback we will propose a revised schedule that will move up start times for all schools by 10-15 minutes. Making these start/end time changes will ensure that all elementary students are picked up and dropped off during Civil Twilight Hours (the period of time when there is enough ambient light from the sun to carry on outdoor activities). We are working to finalize proposed times and detailed information for each school.

The changes in transportation service standards will reduce ride times for many students, provide more consistency and reliability in schedules, and improve consistency of drivers on each route. These changes mean that Seattle Public Schools will transport the same number of students with 49 fewer buses, saving fuel and reducing the District?s carbon footprint, while also maximizing operational efficiency and reducing transportation costs by $2.2 million.

Next Steps
A motion for the proposed earlier school start times will be introduced to the School Board at its Wednesday, May 20 meeting and they will vote on the motion June 3. New school start/end times will be effective September 2009."

We're saving money and reducing the District's carbon footprint. Great. So people,on the belltimes, is that all clear? You now know the previous timeframes and the new timeframes, right? It's all right there in this information.

C'mon district, throw us a bone. Could you please just tell us a REAL timeframe NOW so that people can plan?

(Update: I forgot but Charlie's post to this thread reminded me that a district staff person told the Board, when questioned by Director Martin-Morris, that he did have a list of schools and new bus arrival/bell times and could get it to the Board. That's what we would ALL like to see.)

16 comments:

Sahila said...

"Making these start/end time changes will ensure that all elementary students are picked up and dropped off during Civil Twilight Hours (the period of time when there is enough ambient light from the sun to carry on outdoor activities). We are working to finalize proposed times and detailed information for each school."

And this, of course, applies to all K-5 students in K-8 schools also, right, their safety being of equal importance, right????

I commented to an AS#1 Site Council that my now kindergartener child will not be coming to school in time for an 8.15am start (new K-8 times)in the new school year, partly because he hardly ever wakes before 7.30am, partly because of the safety issue, partly because this idea is downright crazy and being applied illogically and partly because I'm taking a political stance against a School Board and District that thinks it can do whatever it wants regardless of data and parental/community input...

I was told by a teacher at the site council meeting that my child will miss out on math and reading because that is what she teaches in that first hour - guess I am going to have a fight with the school and the District on my hands about that also... a fight about the legality and morality of penalising children educationally and forcing them to ignore their physiological needs to meet a dubious and inequitably applied financial imperative...

Charlie Mas said...

At the Board meeting the Board asked for an actual list of the actual bus and bell times for each school. The staff had one in their hands. The Board asked them to post it to the web site. The superintendent and the staff said that they would. Has anyone seen it?

This notice says - once again - that the times will be moved up. I honestly don't know if that means that they will be moved earlier or later and I honestly don't know what was the most recent bus/bell time from the latest variation. So being told that it is being moved ten or fifteen minutes in an unspecified direction from an unknown point doesn't really help me much. Where is the posting of the actual times for actual schools?

ParentofThree said...

Well, let's see. If "move up" means later, then Tier II would be 10 and 4 (currently 9:45 - 3:45) so that makes no sense. So if move up means earlier, then we go to 9:30 - 3:30....but that is where we were before the "technicality" vote April 22, so that cannot make sense either.

I am stumped. (and have a feeling that the transportation office is also.)

Maureen said...

Someone named Linda just posted this link on Harium's blog:

Proposed TimesShe says
"This document was sent to the Seattle Council PTSA. It is billed as the proposed bell times for 2009-2010 for the school board's vote in June. The schools that I'm familiar with are closer to the current start times."

speducator said...

It will be interesting to see how the District reduces its carbon footprint now that the City Hearing Examiner has ruled that Chief Sealth and Deny must have start and ending times 30 minutes apart. Add the fact that the special education students of Denny and Sealth ride the same buses.

SP said...

Thanks Maureen for finding the bell schedule document-

High School notes:
Why is Hale 30 minutes minutes later than all the other schools? Won't that really affect after-school sports schedules between schools?

Middle School vs kids in Middle School K-8's:
Do the K-8 middle school kids really get 15 minutes less time at school (in class) than regular middle school kids? 15 minutes less every day for 180 days adds up to 45 hours less time per year? How can that be?

Maureen said...

Take a look at Aki and Madrona, will they really have a day that is an hour longer than the other K-8s and M.S.s? (Aki is 8:05-3:35=>7.5 hours, Madrona is 8:20-3:35=>7.25 hours). First I thought it was a typo in the end time, but the bus times align with those late end times. Is this part of the SE initiative? (If so, why Madrona too?) Or maybe they have a grant related to AYP under NCLB?

On a side note, I thought that "consistent start/end times" were a major goal of these changes? Are the proposed time ranges (K-5s vary from 9:05-9:25) any different from what they are under the current system?

AND, How does Garfield feel about having basically the same start time as Franklin, Cleveland, RB? My understanding is that Ted Howard believes that keeping all of those kids off of Metro at the same time saves lives, or at least keeps more kids in school.

Charlie Mas said...

Do these bus and bell times reflect - in any way - the statements made by District officials back at the start of this process?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale is later because it started a later bell time years ago (based on the research about high school start times). I'm assuming the district is just going to leave it there even though other high schools might like the same start time. Don't know if that is for sure.

Sue said...

Ballard HS started a later start time a couple years ago as well. Why do they not get to keep it?

And if you look at the elementaries - they are still getting out much later than they are this year.

This whole thing makes me crazy.

Someone tell me again - WHERE are the detailed cost saving breakdowns here?

Maureen said...

Keepin On, What time do most elementaries get out now? I only know my own K-8's times--we will be starting and ending ten minutes later.

Sue said...

Hi Maureen- Wow. This is strange - we have ranges in the north cluster from 20 minutes later to no change to 5 minutes. Now I am really confused! Why the variation?

I took a quick look at north cluster k-5s.
School,and have arrenged it thusly:
current start, end time and proposed start/end time.

Adams - 8:55/3:05 proposed:9:15/3:20 - 20 minutes

Loyal Heights -8:50/3:05 prop 9:05/3:10 15 minutes later start 5 minutes later in relase time

Whittier: 9:05/3:10 prop 9:25/3:30
20 minutes each way

West Woodland 9:10/3:20 - prop 9:10/3:15
5 minute difference

North Beach - 9:00/3:05 prop- 9:20/3:25 20 minutes later start,20 minute later release.
This is really odd.

Why are some schools 5 minutes and others 20?

hschinske said...

Nova currently has a later start, too. I *really* don't see Nova working with an 8 a.m. start time.

Helen Schinske

Charlie Mas said...

When the uniform bell times were first brought to the Board Director Maier specifically asked if Hale could continue to have their late start and he was specifically told that they could not. He was told that it was absolutely necessary that Hale have the same start time as every other high school.

Interestingly, NOVA had been exempted from the initial decree but is now included. Not that it makes any difference the way that NOVA schedules its classes. There will continue to be a lot of NOVA students who don't start their school day until 10:30 (or later) on some days and don't finish until 4:30 (or later) on some days.

Rose M said...

On the Hale tour I did this year, M. Campbell told us that she has a good relationship with MGJ. She assured us that Hale would keep their late start & their independent curricular approaches. She said that Hale had earned its autonomy through good outcomes. I chuckled to myself, knowing principals who thought the same thing about elementary math programs. Looks like she was right.

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, Rose M, for that report.

It's good to see that - despite the changes at the top - the District still makes decisions, enforces rules, and sets requirements based on relationships and internal politics rather than any transparent criteria applied equitably to everyone.