Seattle Schools Posts Info On 20-Minute Added School Day

This story was put out sometime on Wednesday. (partial)
To improve K-12 students’ academic access and achievement, the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) agreed to add 20 minutes of core instructional time to the school day starting in the 2017-18 school year. This action also brings our instructional hours into alignment with other districts in the region.

In addition, SEA and SPS agreed to add teacher collaboration time into the work day to support common planning time and improved student outcomes.
Your input and feedback is valued.
 I'm a little confused about the feedback part because they already did a survey (with 11,000 respondents). But...
To provide additional feedback to staff and the Seattle School Board please email
Recommendations informed by stakeholders and community engagement:
In 2017-18, all K-12 students will be dismissed one hour early in support of teacher collaboration. Every stakeholder group (families, partners, teachers and principals) preferred the one-hour a week early release over late arrival.

The early release once a week will be on Wednesdays. Wednesday was the day preferred by principals and school staff. While Fridays were preferred by the majority of families and partners, mid-week collaboration better supports the SEA/SPS partnership goals.

The addition of twenty minutes will be split between the morning and afternoon. Current Tier 1 families (early start schools) wanted to add the 20 minutes at the end of the day. Current Tier 2 and 3 families (late start schools) want to add the time to the beginning of the day. Splitting the difference (10/10) was the second preferred choice by all stakeholders (families, staff, and partners), so 10 minutes will be added to the morning schedule and 10 minutes to the afternoon schedule.

Timeline for Finalization of the 2017-18 School Schedules:
As mentioned, the staff recommendation is to split the additional 20 minutes, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon, if the district continues to have three different school start times.

The outstanding consideration is if we can afford to move to a two tier bus system (two start times). We know this is preferred by some families, especially those currently in Tier 3, the schools with the latest start time.

We estimate this change could cost up to 3.8 million dollars, and while these costs may be reduced through different transportation scenarios and may be a one-time cost depending on state funding, it will add to the $71 million dollar budget shortfall we are facing because of the legislature’s failure to fully fund public education.
I'll have to ask but is the district saying that changing to two tiers of bus service will cost an additional $3.8M to implement AND it will cost about $1M to implement the changes around boundaries?  Because one thing I hear, over and over, is how Pegi McEvoy is looking for ways to save transportation dollars to afford this.  I'm not sure it's plausible by "increased efficiencies" to find $4.8M dollars.

Decisions regarding the number of start times (three versus two) and implementation of the associated transportation standards will be influenced by the School Board’s budgeting process. The 2017-18 bell schedules will be finalized and communicated in January.


So they are adding 5*20 minutes and then removing 60 minutes on Wednesday?.

Anonymous said…
I hate that word "collaboration." Another limit on what teachers need most: time to plan for their own kids and classroom. And an hour a week could help a lot if it really becomes an hour under teacher direction. We'll see. I can't imagine it in this district where everything has a condition. But I'll wait and see and keep my fingers crossed.
checking in
Anonymous said…
If Concerned above is correct, an hour-and-forty would help even more. Trust me, we not partying with that extra time. You'd see it benefit your kids should planning time actually come to be.
checking in
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Inconveniencing tens of thousands to benefit hundreds said…
So, SPS is going to inconvenience the families of 50,000 kids AND their employers because principals and staff feel like a couple hundred more teachers would play hooky if the meetings were on Friday rather than Wednesday? This is one of the most family unfriendly things imaginable. Great work, SPS, really.
Anonymous said…
This is the respect I've come to see from Seattle parents. Well, children will get the teaching people like you earn with your disrespect. Teachers really are just servants who provide a babysitting service. Thanks for confirming. I'm new but have no intention of spending even one more year in this district.
checking in
Josh Hayes said…
I will say that in Lake Washington SD, the high schools all (I think) have early dismissals every Wednesday. The subsequent two hours of time is used in rotating schedule for departmental meetings, specialist meetings (collaborating with 504 and IEP coordinators, mostly, but not entirely), meeting with PLC/PGE groups (Professional Learning Community or Professional Growth Evaluation groups), and now and then, "Individual Preparation and Planning". This seems to work pretty well, but it's also tied in with a modified block schedule which complicates things.

Add in with this the widespread suspicion that we will be moving to a trimester schedule over there in a year (probably not) or two (probably), and it'll all be up in the air. But that's the other side of the lake -- I'm just saying, the extra hour on Wednesday really buys more teacher time IN THE CLASSROOM at other times.
Anonymous said…
My good friend who teaches in Edmonds says she would rather the time not be mandated as collaboration time on certain days/times, just give the extra planning time and let teachers and teaching teams coordinate for themselves what works on any given week. They end up collaborating until 6:30PM on a Monday eve (for example) and sit in the scheduled collaborative time wasting time, simply because this is mandated. The teachers deserve more time, flexibility and trust, and the kids need more recess. I'm not sure how to make it all work, but an extra 30-45 minutes per school day could help create some flex time. I know we don't have the money, but that would be my solution if I ruled the roost.

Lynn said…
Confused - yes they are adding a net 40 minutes per week for students and trying to justify it as adding valuable instructional time. An alternative would have been to require teachers to participate in a mid-week planning meeting after school hours without affecting student schedules.

My eight year old is not available before 8 am.
alex said…
So sick of this madness from SPS...

1) SPS knew about this change in the contract last year, so why did we have a bell time change this year, and now another one next year? Why not wait, and implement everything at one, to minimize the disruption on families and staff.

2) So, the contract will add 80 minutes of instructional time each week, AND take 60 away? Instead of just adding 5 minutes a day, and calling it even, they want to mandate planning time, add an early release day to parents' schedules, and mess with the schedule the other four days a week, yet again? Could this be any messier?

3) Our tier 1 elem school starts at 7:55 now. That's 40 minutes earlier than last year. Next year--despite lots of objections from tier 1 parents, we are supposed to start even earlier, at 7:45 am. I know the district is obsesses with the idea that teenagers are supposed to be getting more sleep, but who EVER said elementary school kids don't also need sleep? I never hear a peep about that. They are NOT all up early.

4) I know the bell time changes needed to be revenue neutral for SPS this year, but guess what? They weren't revenue neutral for me. Our aftercare costs went up by $150 per month, so $1500 a year, to cover the extra hour of time that after care needs to cover. Not revenue neutral in my book. I can anticipate that costs will go up again for the 1 hour early release day.

My son is in 2nd grade. Every year so far has been a battle with the district (removing a teacher from our school, bell time changes, the strike, and now this). Why is it that SPS seems to always make things as complicated as humanly possible, and to utterly disregard the wishes of working families? 7:45 is too early for little kids to walk to and be in school. Enough is enough.

Lynn said…
Yes - 7:45 is too early for little kids to be in school. Buses are supposed to arrive 10 minutes before the bell to allow time for breakfast and be no more than 45 minutes from first pick up to arrival. It is not acceptable to require young students to be at the bus stop before 7:00.

The board is going to have to put a stop to this plan.
Anonymous said…
@Alex. someone in a Tier 3 school, 3:45 is too late to be getting out of school. Our extra cost is in the am, paying child care for the extra 90 minutes in the morning that the kids aren't in school and should be. The whole switch so high school could get more sleep worked out great for high school (at least according to some), but it has been a nightmare for elementary. We will need to fight just as hard to get a reasonable time for elementary students to attend school.
Tier 3
Anonymous said…
Dear Alex- I pray you never enter the world of HCC. You seriously might have a heart attack.

Roll with's free.

Call Olympia
Anonymous said…
@ Call Olympia,

You mean my tax dollars don't go toward public education? And those checks we write to the PTSA and for basic school supplies aren't real money?

Maybe they should have little kids go to school in the middle of the night instead, since bus commutes would be shorter, right?

Free MyA$$
Parent said…
The problem with SPS is parents complaining about any inconvenience to their lives. SPS is trying to serve 50,000 students and trying to find a happy medium for all involved.
Incredible that people complain about 10 minutes.
By the way, teachers should not have to work after school for free.
Anonymous said…
Parent -

So teachers shouldn't have to work after school for free. But the the district is reducing our planning by 20 minutes each day in exchange for an hour of "collaborative" time (there is NO way that hour won't be mandated). Remember, the student day is lengthened here, not the teacher day.

How exactly am I supposed to do my job when I have no time to plan, assess or modify my instruction and any "extra" time is filled with the meaningless data generation the district demands?

This time change will absolutely increase the already substantial unpaid time that I and every other teacher puts in just get the bare minimum done. Other parents are already telling you the real impact it will have on their lives.

No, you can't please everyone but you don't have to blindly careen from one fad to another just for the sake of saying you're doing something. That is what is this district does.

- secretidentity
Jarred Lindon said…
The objects and details have brought around more of the concerns for the students which are indeed considered to be so essential. refusal letter

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