Changing Mt. Diablo Elementary School's Start Time

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Three years ago Mt. Diablo Unified School District adjusted Mt. Diablo Elementary School's start time. MDE's original start time was 8:00. Tardy bell 8:05. The time was changed to 7:40 tardy bell 7:45.

A bit of history...The time changed to accommodate a bussing schedule. Parents sympathized with the need to transport the small percentage of students (under 15). The decision was made to change the start time for all 780 students. The original bussing issue was only relevant for half of that school year three years ago. The following year the bussing was no longer an issue yet the time was never moved back.

As of now the district agrees there are no bus schedule conflicts any longer. The Superintendent's office offered staff to solely decide if our time should change or remain the same. The staff voted and decided to keep the schedule the same.

While we absolutely support and respect our teachers a growing number of parents are concerned the decision was not made in the best interest of the students or community. A growing number of parents felt ignored.

In our research, MDE is one of 31 elementary schools in our district. Of those 31 school start times we are one of the earliest. The majority starts between 7:55- 8:15. Of those 31 elementary schools, NONE have 50 minutes between feeder Jr. High schools. MDE feeds into Pine Hollow Intermediate and Diablo View Intermediate. The majority of students feed into DVMS. With changing MDES start time, there is now 50 minutes between school start times. Why does this matter?

DVMS starts at 8:35 tardy at 8:40. Supervision at DV starts NO earlier then 8:15. Parents often do not want to make two separate trips to drop kids to school. Many days students are dropped off way too early at DVMS and are unsupervised. We as parents have gone to the district for 3 years now. We have been ignored.

Last, and we believe most important. We get your half asleep kid that barely ate breakfast. We get pushing your child out the car door after a morning of tears and crying. We get the guilt looking in the rear view mirror feeling awful about the way the morning went. None of us wanted this decision to turn into a staff verses parents...We are incredibly lucky to have teachers and staff caring and nurturing our children.

We as a group of parents believe the school start time should be based on what is best for students. The American Academy of Pediatrics have agreed no child should start school prior to 8:00 am. The later school starts the better for kids. While all of us understand work schedules. This decision should only be based on what is best for students!

It is a shame that MDUSD did not include anything about MDEs start time on the recent climate survey emailed out.

We are asking the district to change MDES school start time to 8:10/8:15. This time allows not only for more sleep for students, it allows the correct time in between feeder schools. A very important issue that was never taken into account was traffic. The current start time puts school traffic in with work commute. Starting school after 8:00 reduces traffic dramatically.

We ask all parents with children currently at MDES to please submit your answer on this survey. The only way this can work is to work together and share this with as many parents as possible.

The results will go directly to the following.

Dr Nellie Meyer, MDUSD Superintendent

The MDUSD Board of Directors

The Contra Costa County Board of Education

The Clayton City Council

Mrs. Dawn Edwards Principal

Mr. Joseph Bruno Vice Principal



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