Submitted by Paul Nimmo.
If you are not aware, and you are probably not, District Operations has submitted a plan to change many schools’ start/dismissal times, to address the current bus driver shortage. Except for Lakes & Clover Park, just about every other school will be impacted. The most significant change is for Harrison Prep, a full 80 minutes earlier, 7:25 a.m. This would be for grades 6-12 at HP starting the fall of 2021.
With just a few days’ notice, a zoom presentation was held to allow parents to be involved. These were conveniently held at 5 p.m. (English) and 6 p.m. (Spanish). The meetings were last Thursday. The presentations are available on the website as well as being linked here. For a period of just ONE week, you can take a survey to voice your opinion.
Just a few days’ notice and a WHOLE week to allow parents to be involved. How gracious! Let us face it, the district is only paying lip service to “parental input”.
During the presentation regarding the planning of changing the starting times a question from one of the very few that could attend at the ridiculous time was a question that has been asked many times… “Could we switch high schools to a later time”… and the answer was “at this time the district has chosen to not to move forward with that at this time.” Rick Ring added some background regarding this question “right now the challenge we are dealing with is something that needs immediate attention… changing High School and Middle School bell times is really more of a larger conversation”.
To put it bluntly, this is a load of crap. This very question has been brought up for years, if not decades. The district could have had this planned out for a very long time. The last time bell schedules were changed was the fall of 2015, and this question was asked at that time. In 2015, changes were needed to address the bus driver shortage as well is miscalculating elementary growth.
Numerous studies have indicated that middle and high school students benefit from later start times. If I can do the research, I am at a loss as to how well-paid, trained administrators cannot do the same.
Harrison Prep’s students, routinely score the highest marks in the district, the county, State and has even been ranked nationally. So of course, we want to make the most aggressive, or is that egregious, change to this school!
I have been a long-term supporter of the district, both as a student and as a parent. I have waived signs on street corners during levy time. Many volunteer hours have been dedicated to the schools in classrooms, fields trips, dances, and Watch D.O.G.S. But right now, I just do not know how supportive I can remain when this appears to be a pre-made decision and a well-planned way to have as little input as possible.
Please review the presentations and take the survey!
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.