I want to provide an update on our current thinking with regard to school start and end times.
Based on what we know and what we’ve learned, we are planning to shift our start and end times beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
Here’s our plan for start and end times for fall 2017 (one year from this coming fall):
- ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Currently 8:30 a.m.to 3 p.m.)
- HIGH SCHOOLS: 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. (Currently 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.)
- MIDDLE SCHOOLS: 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (same as current schedule.)
Why are we doing this? We are highly motivated by the needs of our students – both their health and academics.
Watch this video to hear from high school students and our local medical experts; click here to read more about sleep and how this schedule will allow us to offer more electives and course offerings at the high school level.
I’d like to take a quick step back and offer perspective on what we’ve done up until this point to engage our staff, students, families, community and colleagues around our region. I believe it helps to understand the many voices and themes that have emerged throughout this process, as well as the ways we’re responding to feedback. If you are new to our district and/or conversation (or maybe you just want a quick refresher) it may help give some context. Please click here to read about our timeline and process.
You have questions? We may have answers.
Because we’ve been processing start and end times for more than a year, we have heard some great questions, suggestions and comments. Please click here for a Q&A.
Still have questions or want to talk? Please join us for an informational meeting about start/end time plans from 6-7 p.m. April 13 at Whatcom Middle School’s cafeteria. Or blog with me.
Making these improvements requires thoughtful budget planning, including purchasing more buses and hiring additional staff (specifically, adding extra teachers to teach elective courses and hire more bus drivers). We heard from many in our community last year during our feedback process that if transportation challenges were getting in the way of changing bell times then we should buy more buses.
We’re now considering running a transportation levy, and we are now taking applications for a Transportation Levy Planning Advisory Group now through noon April 13 to help us think further about our future transportation needs and aging fleet.
In closing, this has been a very exciting and engaging process. These changes are still a year and a half away and since the state provides the majority of our funding, this can affect our future plans, too. I thank you all for your input, patience and encouragement as we keep learning and fine-tuning these plans together.