A shortage of school bus drivers presents an opportunity for the Clover Park School District to excel.
At the school board meeting May 24, 2021, Assistant Superintendent Rick Ring recommended realigning the start and end of school days to address an estimated shortfall of 16 to 18 school bus drivers and another 10 to 15 substitute drivers needed to start the 2021-22 school year.
“Bus driver shortages continues to be a growing problem throughout the Puget Sound and across the nation,” Ring said.
The Philadelphia School District is an example where, because of the bus driver shortage, start times for most middle and high school students is proposed to move even earlier: to 7:30 a.m.
Students at Lakes and Clover Park High Schools already have 7:30 a.m. start times. But under Ring’s proposal, Harrison Prep students would also arrive at 7:30 a.m. – 80 minutes earlier than previously.
Is 7:30 a.m. an optimal time for learning?
According to a May 28, 2021 article written by Amy Janke for The Philadelphia Inquirer, it is not.
An Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Sciences, Janke pointed out that when adolescents sleep later, they sleep better, they feel better and they do better in their studies.
If students sleep later – one benefit of the pandemic – and they do better in their studies, why should transportation drive instruction?
The pandemic has provided another lesson for educational success: Why is the traditional classroom setting – early morning or any time – when students must be bussed to class the only way when online learning has allowed some students to thrive?
Virtual classes and academies are a promising approach to persistent challenges in public education, according to Seattle Times reporters Hannah Furfaro and Elise Takahama, in a May 31, 2021article.
Avenues such as these are worth exploring in how the Clover Park School District works to solve the bus driver shortage.
This presents an opportunity to ask questions and to see what else can work.
What if the only question that mattered that was ever before the school board in any decision made – or recommended – was ‘why?’
Like the wheels on the bus, so the wheels of the mind should turn to the similar task of getting where it is we want to go: the best possible means by which to shepherd our students toward academic and occupational success.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
Paul Nimmo says
I have said for years, one reason HP kids have had higher academic standing is because of their later start times. There are multiple studies that show later start times for middle and high school students is highly beneficial, while elementary students are able to handle earlier start times
Fully agree that we have the tail waggin’ the dog.
I also do not understand why the district repeatedly has important meetings and presentations at 5 pm when many parents may not be able to participate. Or is it planned that way so they can say they asked for parental input?
Should also note that this would cause Harrison Prep’s middle school grades 6~8 to arrive at 7:30 am. Oh the joys of waking up tweens and teens.
KM Hills says
There may be OTHER reasons for the bus driver shortage.
Maybe we should be looking at HR and the recruitment for bus drivers
How many eligible candidates have applied each month and how many of those candidate have been passed on to the transportation office?
All kinds of articles and be cited but looking at the data is the big picture.
As for Harrison Prep there could be many more factors than them starting later like how were student screened for entry? Is the curriculum significantly better? Or, are those staff/teachers more motivated by the program they teach within or were they selected to teach there because they truly are the cream of the crop out of the CP teaching pool.
I have only heard good things about the Principal there so why has his model not been incorporated into the other schools?
It is irresponsible to solely go with what Rick Ring shares at the board meeting as there are way too many factors to think about other than adjusted start times.
David Anderson says
Of course that is the point, that simply accepting an explanation of what must be given the current and ongoing crisis should not be viewed as the only option but should rather engender informed debate so as to determine what will best serve to help students academically.
Paul Nimmo says
I personally doubt they are turning away candidates. They simply are not there.
Bus drivers, for the most part, work part time. Morning runs, mid day off and return for afternoon runs. If you are lucky, you can pick up athletic runs for more time. That industry has relied on people wanting that type of shift work. But more people want full time hours.
Yet, you continue to write baseless articles as facts when you have not done any journalistic research show you are all about virtue signalling while lacking the integrity to be truthful. You have done no other investigation than a Google search on limited information. You keep posting articles from other states as if comparing apples to apples to prove a point that lacks any real meaning. The exact reason why you are not the right person for the school board. You are running because you think CRT is being taught in the district. At the same time, white supremacists, and bigots support you, a huge red flag. Your campaign money is dirty, and your campaign is supported by hate.
James Truitt says
Boy, you brought out some big guns for a rather benign opinion piece. You must be really scared.
And where is your investigation and facts on your accusations about Mr Anderson, Mr. (or Ms) SM? We voters want to know.