The Scripps Ranch Schools Committee (SRSC) has formed a subcommittee to discuss the possibility of putting all Scripps Ranch schools on a common calendar and/or instituting a later bell time for secondary schools. The SRSC involvement in these issues arose from community members interest in the published research on the potential educational benefits. Last spring Superintendent Bersin and Sue Braun met with the SRSC to discuss these ideas.
Sue Braun’s office has been providing information to the subcommittee when requested.
There will be a community meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 pm at the Scripps Ranch Public Library to disseminate information on the research and to get preliminary responses from the community regarding these issues.
The benefits of a later start time for teenagers are well documented. In Edina, Minnesota the entire district went to a later bell time for its high schools. The school district reported that absenteeism and tardiness were down and achievement and morale improved. A survey of parents indicated that more than 90% were happy with the new schedule. According to an L.A. Times article test scores on the SAT college entrance exam in Edina jumped more than 100 points after the later start time was instituted.
A non-traditional school calendar also offers benefits, especially to students who are struggling. The school can offer help during intercessions instead of waiting until the end of the school year. There are school calendars that will allow students to be out for summer break by the 4th of July yet still offer the benefits of frequent intervention.
The research generally does not show an educational downside to either a later bell time or a non-traditional calendar. There are however many logistical issues that can be challenging. Sports, childcare, and after-school jobs top the list. The subcommittee needs to hear from all those that would be affected by any changes in order to evaluate community interest in piloting either of these programs.
Should there be sufficient interest, the Scripps Ranch cluster would be uniquely suited to pilot these programs in the San Diego Unified School District. We have high parental and community involvement and we have the SRSC to act as liaison with the district. Together we can work together to build an educational program for our children that builds on and increases the academic achievement that we value so highly.