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    School Start Time Advisory

    A School Start Time Advisory group is continuing the work of looking at additional changes to start and end times. This group is comprised of staff and parents from preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels. Since any change in the start and end time at one level impacts other levels, it’s important to have all levels represented in the review and discussion.

    Community engagement opportunities will continue to help us gather feedback from parents and staff. Additionally, the Advisory will collect and analyze data from other sources to learn about the impacts on such things as:

    • Student mental health and well-being
    • Before and after school child care
    • Student attendance and supervision
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Before school band and orchestra programs
    • 7 period high school schedule
    • Staff Schedules

    As a result of this year’s work, the Advisory will develop and present their findings and recommendations to the Superintendent by May 2019.

    If additional changes are recommended, implementation would begin during the 2020-21 school year because of the required time to plan for staffing, transportation, and budget changes that may result from schedule revisions.

    Background/History of the Work:

    • The College and Career Readiness Task Force spent two years researching and exploring strategies to increase student flexibility in meeting the state’s 24 credit graduation requirement.
    • The Task Force conducted community engagement opportunities including listening sessions and online surveys with staff, high school students, and community to gather feedback on various high school schedules including 4x4, 4x8, Trimester, and 7 period schedules.
    • The Task Force also reviewed research on later high school start times that report the benefits of a later start time for high school students, including improvements in memory and learning, mental health and well-being, and overall academic performance.
    • The results of an online survey administered to staff, parents, and high school students in June 2017 indicated conflicting opinions about moving to a later high school start time.
    • Starting in the 2018-19 school year, high school start times remained the same, 20 minutes was added to the end of the high school student day, and a seven-period schedule was implemented.
    • As a result of the additional time added to the end of the high school day, school start and end times changed for elementary and middle schools. This is due to the way our transportation system efficiently transports students to and from schools between all three levels. Any change in the start or end time at one level affects the start and end times at other levels.

     

    Timeline Process
    October 30, 2018 Advisory meeting #1 – understand focus and purpose; review timeline and survey #1 questions
    Week of November 5, 2018

    Connections (parent newsletter) article, including survey #1 link
    Staff newsletter article, including survey #1 link

    November 7–26, 2018 Online 1st semester survey for staff and parents – gather feedback on 2018-19 start time impacts
    November 29, 2018 Advisory meeting #2 – analysis of survey quantitative feedback
    December 13, 2018 Advisory subgroup works on survey comments - identify themes
    January 2019 Share survey findings and themes with administrators
    January 14, 2019 School Board Study Session – School Start Time Advisory update
    Week of January 21, 2019 Connections (parent newsletter) article - Start Time Advisory update
    Staff newsletter article – Start Time Advisory update
    March 4, 2019 School Board Study Session – share Advisory progress
    Week of March 4, 2019 Connections (parent newsletter) article - Start Time Advisory update, including survey #2 link
    Staff newsletter article – Start Time Advisory update, including survey #2 link
    March 6–25, 2019 Online 2nd semester survey for staff and parents – gather additional feedback 
    March 27, 2019 Advisory meeting #3 – analysis of survey feedback, findings, and develop recommendations
    Week of April 1, 2019 Advisory subgroup continues work on findings and recommendations
    April 22, 2019 Share survey findings and recommendations with Superintendent
    May 2019 Share survey findings and recommendations with administrators
    May 2019 Connections (parent newsletter) article - survey findings, recommendations, next steps communicated to staff and parents.
    Staff newsletter article – survey findings, recommendations, next steps communicated to staff and parents.

    Advisory meeting dates, notes, and survey links will be posted below.

    November 29, 2018 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its second meeting of the year on Thursday, November 29. The Advisory spent the entire meeting reviewing the results of the staff and parent online survey. We received 987 parent surveys and 547 staff surveys. We had time to start the review of verbatim comments to help us identify themes. A subgroup of the Advisory is meeting in the week of December 10, to continue analysis of the verbatim comments. There will be additional information posted to this website page in the week of December 17.

    October 30, 2018 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 30. The Advisory reviewed the actions, timeline and focus for the 2018-19 school year. At this time, LWSD is not planning to make changes to the current start/dismissal times for the 2019-20 school year.

    In 2018-19, the focus of the Advisory Committee will be to:

    • Administer two online surveys, one per semester, to gather staff and parent feedback on start/dismissal time impacts
    • Analyze survey feedback to understand the impact of start/dismissal time changes
    • Use the feedback to determine how far and how fast we make any further changes to start/dismissal times in the future

    In mixed member small groups, members shared how the change in start and dismissal times has affected their family and work schedule this year. Members also shared the changes they have observed in their schools so far this year as impacted by the start time changes. Advisory members reviewed the first draft of the first semester parent and staff survey questions. The group made suggestions for changes to existing survey questions and provided additional survey questions to consider. A School Start Time Advisory survey link will be included in Connections for parents/community and Focus for staff in the week of November 5th.

    January 28, 2018 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its fifth meeting of the year on Thursday, January 18. The Advisory engaged in an school start time activity to help distinguish between competing interests and values. Based on the Advisory’s analysis and discussion of the various start and dismissal options from the previous meetings, Advisory members weighed in on the various options to help narrow the schedule priorities.

    The Advisory reviewed next steps and a communication plan to help parents and staff understand the 2018-19 start and end times.

    Meeting Resources:

    December 14, 2017 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its fourth meeting of the year on Thursday, December 14. The Advisory continued review of the quantitative results of the June 2017 School Start Time survey which was administered to K-12 staff, parents, and 9-12 students. At the request of the Advisory, our Transportation department developed another schedule option that was not included in the June 2017 survey. This option “flips” the times for elementary and high school level, creating a schedule where elementary start and dismissal ranges are earlier than high school times.

    Working in small groups, the Advisory members analyzed and discussed the impact of the new schedule option, using an Options Analysis matrix to compare how well each of the schedule options met the interests of each constituent group.

    Meeting Resources:

    November 16, 2017 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its third meeting of the year on Thursday, November 16. The Advisory continued review of the quantitative results of the June 2017 School Start Time survey which was administered to K-12 staff, parents, and 9-12 students. The group also reviewed the themes, or interests, that came from the verbatim survey comments. These interests included:

    • An interest in a later start time for high school student
    • An interest in a high school dismissal time that permits students to participate in after-school activities
    • An interest in keeping the start and dismissal times close to what they are currently
    • An interest in start and dismissal times for elementary students to accommodate before and after school childcare needs as well as family and work schedules
    • An interest in start and dismissal times that support a reasonable commute time and family schedule for staff

    Working in small groups, the Advisory members analyzed and discussed the survey results, using an Options Analysis matrix to compare how well each of the schedule options met the interests of each constituent group.

    Meeting Resources:

    October 19, 2017 Meeting

    The School Start Time Advisory held its second meeting of the year last Thursday, October 19. This group, which includes members from the College & Career Readiness Task Force, was expanded to include more representation from elementary and middle level staff and parents. This was intentionally done to ensure that multiple perspectives and impacts are considered in discussions of changing school times, especially as any change will impact the start and dismissal times for all levels.

    During the recent meeting, the group heard a “Transportation 101” presentation from Barbara Posthumus, Associate Superintendent Business and Support Services and Jeff Miles, Transportation Manager. The presentation was designed to help the group understand how our tiered bus transportation system works.

    Following the presentation, the group identified key learnings and interests, including:

    • An acknowledgement that the geography of our district and transportation coverage is itself a challenge;
    • An interest in the safety and welfare of students when considering morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off times;
    • An interest to maintain a tiered bus system as it is the most efficient way of operating a transportation system; and,
    • An interest in retaining quality bus drivers by optimizing bus drivers’ daily schedules.

    The School Start Advisory will continue their work at the November 16 meeting.

    Meeting Resources:

    August 25, 2017 Meeting

    For the past two years, the College and Career Readiness Task Force has been studying the impacts of the new state 24-credit graduation requirements and the potential for a seven-period day for grades 9-12 and other creative ways to expand options for students in grades 9-12. In April 2017, the Task force recommended adding time to the high school day to create a seventh period in each of our high schools. This change would not take place any earlier than the 2018-19 school year. So, for the 2017-18 school year, high schools continue with six periods.

    This Task Force has also been studying school start times. The research literature describes the benefits of a later start time for high school students, including improvements in memory and learning, mental health and well-being, and overall academic achievement. In June 2017, we surveyed K-12 staff, parents, and high school students to gather feedback on four start/dismissal time options currently under consideration. The survey feedback is currently being analyzed for themes and patterns.

    In September 2017, the School Start Time Advisory will convene and review the results of the June survey and determine additional information needed to make a recommendation for any change to current school start and dismissal times. Any proposed school start changes would not take place any earlier than 2018-19.

    The School Start Time Advisory is made up of administrators, teachers, and parents and includes some members who also served on the College & Career Readiness Task Force.