A few minor adjustments have been made to Snoqualmie Valley school start and dismissal times for next fall. The 2019-20 Bell Time Schedule was presented to the School Board at their May 23 regular meeting. The changes are needed as the district expands service to a third middle school when the current Freshman Campus will be re-instated as Snoqualmie Middle School.
The changes, related to the current year schedule, consist of:
All elementary schools will start and end 10 minutes later than currently.
Most secondary schools will also start and end 10 minutes later.
With one exception, SMS will start 10 minutes earlier than the current middle school schedule.
Unfortunately, transportation logistics do not allow for all schools to start later. Starting SMS 10 minutes earlier than our other middle schools is consistent with the last time the district served three middle schools. On the bright side, students attending SMS will have a shorter commute than distances they currently travel to attend CKMS or TFMS.
The 2019-20 bell time adjustments are needed for route efficiencies. The district worked to improve student ride times and pursue later start times for secondary schools when possible while minimizing the impact on elementary dismissal times. They also carefully considered transportation resources, since hiring bus drivers continues to be a challenge and worked to not change the length of the instructional day.
Background on the School Start Times Study: In January, the School Start Times Advisory Committee concluded its work to explore the feasibility of our secondary students (grades 6-12) starting school later. Their 18-month study included: two districtwide surveys, significant national research, a comparison of neighboring school district start/end times, considering their lessons learned and unintended consequences, in-depth analysis of our district’s transportation challenges, and exploring several routing scenarios. The committee engaged in this work included district leaders, parents, staff from all grade levels, and transportation representatives. This work was well documented here, throughout the study.
Ultimately, the committee recommended no significant changes to Snoqualmie Valley school start times. Some of the key factors in this unanimous decision included:
No clear preference emerged from the results of two community surveys. In both cases, people were passionate about the topic (with significant participation) but the results remained pretty evenly divided with no strong preference as a community.
The unique logistical challenges of our region require longer distances to travel back to one comprehensive high school at the center of the district. (This is a key difference our district faces in comparison with other more densely-populated districts, many of whom are able to leverage public transportation for their students to start later.)
The ongoing shortage of bus drivers is a reality that prevents us from adding more routes.
Favorable changes to secondary grades would result in some negative implications for elementary levels. Solving one issue, presented unintended (and undesirable) consequences.