Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a change being proposed?
The district has proposed a change to start and end times for several reasons. First, after conducting a time study at Brooklyn Center Elementary STEAM, we realized we need to shorten the school day length. The school day would be shortened from the current length of seven hours to six hours and 20 minutes. We lengthened the school day several years ago because we believed more instructional time focused on literacy skills would improve student achievement. We do not have sufficient evidence to show that lengthening the school day made a positive impact on student achievement. Additionally, staff have provided feedback that they would prefer time to collaborate outside of the school day. With the proposed schedule, staff would be able to meet at 7 a.m., before the student school day starts.
We also see the need to change the start and end times for Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM students. Research suggests teenagers should not be in school until after 8:30 a.m. so that they can get the recommended eight and a half hours or more of sleep. Studies of districts that have implemented later start times for middle and high school students show that students have improved alertness and better memory retention and cognitive processing. Studies also show that a later start time results in fewer first-hour tardies. As of April 1, 2019, there were 301 BCS students who had nine or more first hour tardies. By starting one hour and 20 minutes later, students will be able to be on time for school consistently.
Why does a change need to happen at both buildings for fall 2019?
We considered adjusting only the elementary school’s start and end times for fall 2019 but that option was problematic, especially given the research about recommended start times for teenagers. If we only adjusted the start time for EBE for next fall and waited until fall 2020 to make the changes at BCS, we would need to modify the EBE schedule two years in a row and they would’ve been fairly significant changes. We would like to provide consistency in our school schedules for families.
How do the proposed changes impact high school activities and athletics?
The proposed changes would require a change to the schedules of those programs. We understand that the 2019-2020 school year will be a year of transition. We are going to be responsive with families to help problem solve potential challenges to the new schedule. We are currently working with our athletic conference to ensure our students won’t be regularly leaving school early to attend after-school events. BCS leadership is also developing a new daily schedule so that a student wouldn’t miss the same hour if they do need to leave school early for after-school events.
What options are available for before-and after-school care?
Our Community Schools’ team has developed successful after-school programs that are available to families at no cost. Our elementary students can register for STEP 21, which will be an after-school program at EBE from 2:30-5 p.m. The STEP 21 program includes academic and enrichment activities, afternoon snack, evening meal and transportation home. Click here to learn more about STEP 21. Middle school students can register for LEAP 21. The schedule for LEAP 21 next year would be 7:15-8:30 a.m. and 3:45-6 p.m. The LEAP 21 program also includes academic and enrichment activities, an evening meal and transportation home. Click here to learn more about LEAP 21.
We also offer a fee-based child care program called Bright Start. Click here to learn more about Bright Start.
Why is there a staggered bus drop-off in the mornings?
With the proposed changes, we would be able to offer a hot breakfast in the cafeteria for elementary students. In order for staff to best serve students, there needs to be two staggered bus drop-offs so there are two different breakfast times. The EBE cafeteria is not able to hold all students at the same time. Currently, students go directly to their classrooms when they arrive to school and have a pre-packaged breakfast in their classroom. The hot breakfast provides better nutritional options for students and a more sanitary learning environment.
What are the daily schedules for next school year?
BCS staff members are creating a modified block schedule for next school year. Students will continue to have seven courses, however, rather than attending all seven classes each day, the schedule will be split over two instructional days. Staff will spend the rest of the school year and summer planning for the schedule change.