Transportation consternation: West Seattle HS Booster Club says athletes now forced to miss too many classes

Even if you don’t have kids in Seattle Public Schools, you probably know that many schedules changed this year. West Seattle High School now starts about an hour later than it used to, and the WS Booster Club says the resulting district transportation plan “is unacceptable” – forcing students to leave class too early on “away” game days, so they’re marshaling support to go to the School Board. Here’s their message for you:

Dear Seattle Public School Families and Community:

We want to invite you to a very important meeting on Monday, September 26th, 7 pm, in the West Seattle High School library. We will be discussing the transportation issues affecting our students.

Our high school student athletes currently have to leave school at 1 pm for away events because of the Seattle School Districts transportation plan. This means they have to be dismissed at 12:45 pm, missing all of 5th and 6th periods, lunch, and part of 4th period as well. This is unacceptable and we need to do something about this.

The West Seattle Booster Club invites you to join us in taking our concerns to the Seattle School Board. We are inviting families, staff, PTSA, Booster Clubs, and community members from all of the Seattle High Schools to join our efforts.

On Monday, September 26th, we will learn more about these issues, discuss our plans moving forward, and coordinate our actions for the School Board meeting we will attend as a group. Please join us. The more voices they hear, the better the impact.

Thank you for your support!

~ West Seattle Booster Club

WSHS is at 3000 California SW.

23 Replies to "Transportation consternation: West Seattle HS Booster Club says athletes now forced to miss too many classes"

  • Bonnie September 19, 2016 (4:49 pm)

    It’s always been that way at Sealth.

  • fighting for what's right September 19, 2016 (5:05 pm)


    Go booster club!

  • Delta in WS September 19, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    The schedule changes are based on medical evidence regarding the sleep patterns of adolescents and how the earlier schedules were not providing an environment for them to get enough sleep. Perhaps the Booster Club should take a look at the schedule of games, etc. to align them better with the new schedule.

  • Lindsey September 19, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    That is indeed a lot of much needed class time missed! I’m not a parent, involved in the schools, or in any way affiliated with the school district, so I’m unsure what the current procedures are. Do the student athletes currently use the metro system or personal vehicles to get to games? Or are away games planned very early in the day? I guess I just don’t understand why a student athlete would need to be dismissed so early. Granted it was many years ago and in the Portland area, but we had most games in the evening, starting around 5 pm, so athletes would arrive about 1-1/2 hours early  to the field or court. to warm up or what have you. For a very long distance away game we would would leave early, but most in league away games only required us to get on a the district provided school bus at 2:30 or 3 pm (school got out at 3:15pm) for a 5 pm game. What is the current process? It definitely needs addressing. Poor kids are already trying to balance school, work, other activities and now they have to miss so much school just to participate in sports! That’s crazy.

  • James Roche September 19, 2016 (6:11 pm)

    Wait a second. Do you mean that it’s become obvious that Seattle Schools made an impulsive, under-researched decision, and it yielded unexpected negative results?

    I can’t believe that. Such an accusation is completely out of character for these experts with nothing but a steady stream of success managing West Seattle’s schools. Nothing of this sort ever happens. I don’t even think this would be possible, even if there was an interim group of adjunct substitute officials without the right level of experience, trying to recover from an incredibly corrupt administration handing trusting its superintendent role to a union-busting right-wing zealot.

    No way, can’t believe it. Nice try, jerk.

  • JF September 19, 2016 (6:17 pm)

    Do they offer zero period?  My high school had optional zero period so kids could start early (6:45 AM) and get out early (2:05 PM).  I always took zero.

  • anyone's mom September 19, 2016 (7:28 pm)

    Thank you Seattle Public schools for messing things up! I’m sorry but I have two kids at WSHS. They are not getting any extra sleep. They are staying up later and not just because! They get out later, practice ends later, dinner is a bit later and they are up later doing school work! For athletes to miss anywhere from 2-4 classes a week is absurd! My daughter plays soccer and they have to leave before 6th period to make it to the field just for a home game! Seattle Oarks and recreation would not allow for later games because they won’t be able to make money off of their field rentals due to their agreements with Seattle Public schools. The latest we can have the fields is until 5:30pm. Thursday, the team plays at Memorial Stadium and they are scheduled to leave by 1pm for a field that is 15minutes away!!! The girls soccer team: Varsity, JV and JVC have been organizing carpools just so they can keep their kids in their classes longer! These kids should not have to sacrifice their education to play sports!!! 

  • Silverback September 19, 2016 (7:33 pm)

    The district has not cared about Sealth complaints about it for past few years.  It will be interesting to see how they respond now that it affects all of the high schools. 

    • WSB September 19, 2016 (7:48 pm)

      I asked the Booster Club a followup about other schools. They mentioned Sealth but also an additional extenuating circumstance that looks like it’s worse for Sealth too:

      It is for WSHS and all the schools that now end at 3:15. It has been an issue for Chief Sealth the last 2 years prior as they got out at 3:10. However, the district is changing the bus departure time from 1:30 to 1pm which makes it even worse. Teams can choose to leave later but the district makes them charter bus instead of being able to use a school bus – which is even more expensive (asking the schools to spend more money they don’t have!)

  • Jon Wright September 19, 2016 (7:38 pm)

    So what does the West Seattle Booster Club propose be done about this situation?

  • WSEd September 19, 2016 (8:09 pm)

    Or maybe if the academics are really that valuable to the booster club parents they could invite the notion of dropping sports for their kids.  And what Bonnie said, I guess now that it affects a school in a more affluent area it’s a priority.

    • WSB September 19, 2016 (8:23 pm)

      WSEd, please note that this is a meeting organized by WSHS supporters (who are not all parents – they are alums too). If Sealth ever had any such community meeting, we didn’t hear about it, but would have been just as ready to publicize it. Any other schools too – as I said in the daily preview last week, please let us know about any and all community-involvement needs for any and all local schools: PTA/PTSA meetings, donation drives, whatever., which is where this arrived several hours ago. – TR

      P.S. This didn’t arrive in time for us to follow up with the district so we’ll be doing that tomorrow.

  • Carrie Peterson September 19, 2016 (8:10 pm)

    I have a Son at WSHS, plays sports. I can honestly say I see a big difference in his daily routine. It’s for the better, be able to get extra sleep in the morning had really made a difference for him. 

    I understand ever kid is different but  reality is that Seattle parks or whoever is in charge of field times need to adjust for highschoolers and older athletes. Bottom line is the younger sports teams are truly taking a lot of the field space. if they can figure that out first everyone will be happy.

  • Mom September 19, 2016 (8:18 pm)

    I have a new to Sealth student who leaves school at 1:30 for a 4:30 game only 1/2 hr away at most. It really makes no sense missing 2+ periods/week.  When I mentioned my concern, the response was as if I was being paranoid or something.  But, really…  Missing instruction to arrive 2.5 hrs before a game makes no sense.    

  • Jeff September 19, 2016 (8:27 pm)

    This is about the SPS Transportation Plan, which is hurting kids.

    This is NOT an effort to fight the new schedule.  While the change exacerbated the issue, but that isn’t the point (so put that “medical research” soapbox away, you won already).

    The problem isn’t what times the games are scheduled.  Event times are constrained by Parks Dept. shared-use anyway.

    The problem is: The SPS plan simply does not provide enough buses for the trips to occur at a logical times.  Last week our students had to miss almost a half day to catch a 12:45 bus to go to a 3:30 event!!  The kids had to SIT AND WAIT for a couple of hours in a city park before it was warm-up time!

    Proposed solution? Try these for starters: (A) Make more buses available, or, if the contract with that vendor won’t allow it, (B) allow the schools to use other vendors.

    Two years ago, the schools could use other charter companies.  They could schedule at logical times, they were cost-effective, they had the same licenses/certifications etc. as school buses, but the School Board vetoed them!!  Why?  Because of a news story that pointed out that at night, these vehicles were rented out as “party buses”.  OMG, WHO CARES?  For our athletes, they were basic transportation that was safe, affordable, and could be scheduled at times that let kids stay in class longer.  It isn’t like there were kegs or strippers on the bus to a cross country meet!!

    Typical SPS.  They commit to a major change like shifting bell times, but they COMPLETELY IGNORE the ramifications of that decision.  SPS has NEVER understood that many families care about the athletic experience as a part of their child’s development.  SPS simply doesn’t get it, and this current WSHS effort is a FANTASTIC push to make a change that will HELP many and hurt no one.

  • scott September 19, 2016 (10:57 pm)

    And in 20 years when tech and engineering jobs have flooded out of the country because of our priorities today, our young adults will at least be able to throw a really good spiral.

    • Andy September 20, 2016 (4:34 am)

      In 20 years, with our present public education system, the USA will be a third world country. Parts of it already is.

  • SPS parent September 20, 2016 (8:24 am)

    Let me make sure I understand this correctly… Public school policy doesn’t allow me to take my child out of school for four days to go on an educational trip (even though my child will do all assigned work plus extra work to document the educational purpose of the trip). But student athletes routinely missing classes for sports events is totally fine?

    I would very much like to see a statement from the schools on what exactly their priorities are, because I really don’t understand.

  • S September 20, 2016 (8:32 am)

    I’m sorry but this is a school bell problem.  Last year you didn’t have a problem. I am having to deal with the change at the Elementary level.  I have to get my 6 year old up at 6:30 to be ready to leave by 7:30.  The earlier release time also is not good for those younger families that have small kids with nap times right at 2:00.  That makes the night before bed time very important.  This is again the Seattle Public Schools showing why it is a joke.  

  • Hp September 20, 2016 (9:02 am)

    I love the Idea of a zero hour! My son hates the new bell schedule he has less time after school and before our schedules lined up he’d get a ride to school with me on my way to work. He’d still be 30 minutes early. Now because we live fat from school and he’d have to walk 10 minutes and then take 2 busses he still rides with me but has I’ve an hour and a half before classes start. A zero hour would also give more oppertunities for kids to make up low grades or failed classes or get ahead. It could also help families that had depended on older siblings to help with after school pickups etc. Using charter bisses seems like a reasonable solution as well and I’m with the “who cares if they are used as party busses at night!”

    Kids should miss as few classes as possible and to make them missed class to sit in a park waiting for 2 hours is rediculous!

  • Ms. Sparkles September 20, 2016 (3:42 pm)

    SPS Parent, I hear you.  When my kids’ elementary school had an “optional attendance” day on the day of the SeaHawks Super Bowl victory parade (BTW has Paul Allen reimbursed the city for those parade costs yet?) I stopped caring about their definition of excused and un-excused absences.  Do what you think is best, and if the school or district accuses your child of truancy, just point to both this policy & that parade day…. they no longer have a basis to assert their educational policies are more effective than yours. 

  • WSHS mom September 20, 2016 (7:00 pm)

    I’m relieved to hear the info posted that this is related to a transport issue and  not about changing the school start time again.  The later start is working really well for my son.  He’s  more rested, has a better attitude and I have to think he learns better during the day because of it.  That said he’s a winter/spring athlete so isn’t running into the sports transport issue yet.   

  • J September 21, 2016 (9:50 pm)

    The Board needs to hear about this loud and clear!! 

     Students confirmed they are leaving at 12:45pm for 4pm games near Cleveland HS (5 miles or so).   It’s about the bus cost – sounds like we need some more competition for bus options in Seattle.     Surely there’s some way that participation in athletics will not destroy academics.

    Guaranteed – missing 2.5 periods per day will significantly impact learning.    Oh yeah, grades and college opportunities too.

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