The entire Camas community is responding to the news that starting in the 2018-2019 school year, school start times will be significantly different for each student in the Camas School District (CSD).
On Wednesday, the District announced a new schedule that affects all schools. In it, Camas High School, Hayes Freedom High School and Discovery High School (the project-based learning high school) will start at 8:40 a.m. Odyssey Middle School (the project-based learning middle school) will also start an hour later, at 8:40 am. The school day for those schools will end at 3:20 pm. The middle schools will begin classes at 9 am and end the day around 3:40 pm. Elementary schools, except Lacamas Lake Elementary, will begin earlier, at 8 am and end at 2:30 pm. Lacamas Lake Elementary will start at 8:15 am and end at 2:45 pm.
The newly-announced schedules come after months of research, committee work, and feedback from the community. Superintendent of the CSD, Jeff Snell, emailed students, parents and staff that the District collected more than four-thousand data points to help make this decision.
Snell says he is, “prepared to talk to parents about concerns. They’re valid on both sides, and we want people to make sure they feel heard.” He says change is always a challenge, but it can present an opportunity for positive outcomes, too.
Last year, a citizen’s advisory council began meeting to discuss potential changes to start times. For months, the council studied research about school start times, examined other district schedules, like Evergreen which recently changed its schedule, and got feedback from staff, students and parents.
Snell says the council found that, “People are worried about kids and stress and anxiety, and the research shows sleep is an important part of that.” Research shows students benefit from more sleep. At the high school level, pushing back start times will help students get more morning sleep. While at the elementary level, the new schedule will help students rest in the afternoon following school.
As with any big change, not everyone is going to be happy. Snell knows, “Anytime you make any sort of big change there are going to be strong feelings of support and opposition.”
As the district moves forward to implement these changes, Snell says some next steps include reaching out to elementary parents about after-school care. They will look at how the new schedule affects conference periods and athletics, as well. They will also look at logistics around bus routes. In fact, the schedule may still change slightly as some of those details are worked out.
Whatever the final schedule ends up being, District leaders still want to hear how people feel about the impending change. Snell says, “We really appreciate what students have to say, and we thought carefully about that before we moved forward. We want to hear those ideas.”