"No" to New Start Time Proposal
"No" to New Start Time Proposal
Please read below and sign the petition if you would like a vote of "no" to the new proposed start times. I would also encourage you to leave a comment below the petition stating which school your child attends. Please note that these proposed changes apply to ALL middle and multi-level (K-8) schools in the Osceola County School District.
Taken from Celebration K8, The Pride Report:
"In order to save money on transportation costs, the School District of Osceola County is proposing new district-wide start and end times for the upcoming school year (2019-2020). Our proposed student start and end times are 9:20-4:20 pm. At this time, it is a proposal, and the School Board has not yet approved the change, but we want to keep you informed."
(Please note that excerpts of the below letter were written by an Osceola County parent and sent to their local board member).
Dear Members of the Osceola County School Board:
We are parents of students in the Osceola County School District and recently learned of the proposed start/end time changes. We have a number of concerns about the impact of these changes and strongly urge you to reconsider.
First, to shift the start time from 8:45 to 9:20 would pose as a significant logistical problem for working parents and would likely require extended day enrollment for a significant amount of people, particularly the large amount of parents with elementary school students affected by this change. We have no assurance that the schools will be able to adequately and safely accommodate the significant need for before-school care that this will create. Using one of our multi-level K-8 schools as an example, this is a very large school (over 1500 students according to the last SAC meeting this week) with limited space (our lunch/multi-purpose room seats around 160 students for most lunch periods throughout the day). The extended day program at this school is also at capacity for the year and is accepting no additional students. It is neither reasonable nor safe to believe that we have the space to accommodate the additional number of students in our school who will likely need before school care next year because of this time change. Even if we did have the space, it is also unreasonable to believe that we have the resources, as we would clearly need additional staff on hand for supervision.
There are also a number of parents who have children in other nearby schools/pre-schools/daycare that have historically tried to correlate their schedules with the local K8 schedule. If these schools are not able to make the shift with the K8 school, it will put even more of a strain on the before/after-care program.
However, by far the greatest concern over the time change proposal is the end time and the broader impact this will have on the students' days. The proposed end time at 4:20 will make it very difficult to accommodate after-school activities (both organized and informal), which I am sure you would agree are vital to children's well-being and overall development. When one thinks about the logistics of picking up the child from school, transportation to/from activities, the activity itself, time for homework, dinner/family time (if at all possible), losing those 35 minutes at the end of the day makes a significant difference. Relating to the points above, because so many more kids will require extended day care in the morning we are adding even more structured time to their day, which just exacerbates the problem of insufficient leisure and down time.
There is a mountain of research which supports the close relationship between children's well-being and sufficient time for leisure and activities, as I am sure you are aware. Participation in organized activities is tied to both students' general well-being and academic success (Eccles et al. 2003; Fredricks and Eccles 2008; Fredricks and Eccles 2006; Gilman 2001), and sufficient time for and participation in leisure activities is also related to emotional well-being, and makes students less likely to experience depression and anxiety (Larson et al. 2002), as well as aggression and antisocial behavior (Rhodes and Spencer 2005).
We strongly urge you to reconsider this time change proposal for the multi-level K8 schools. We in the community would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about this matter, and perhaps you could gain a better sense of our concerns. We were very disappointed to read on the OCSB Facebook page that not all of the schools affected by this proposal were asked to provide their feedback.
We are sure that you would like to devise a solution that addresses some of your budgetary concerns about busing (which does not apply to all of our students in the district, as many of them are not eligible for busing) and the very detrimental impact these changes would have on the well-being of students in your district.
We look forward to your response and continued dialogue on this matter.