Dear Parents, Guardians & Staff,
I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break. The following contains important information on school time changes for next year. Also, in case you missed it, is a repeat of the information I sent prior to Spring Break, on early release days and student information verification.
School Times Change
Earlier this year I spoke about the transportation and traffic woes that we face as a district. If anyone has traversed Bee Cave Road lately, they would see just one example of a factor beyond our control that has had an impact on our parents, students and staff. Increased traffic and construction have greatly affected our bus routes, forcing route changes, time adjustments and unfortunately, students dropped off at schools late.
After months of discussion and proposals from Transportation staff, administrators, principals and District Leadership Team representatives, we have determined school times will need to change at Westlake High School, Hill Country Middle School, West Ridge Middle School, Bridge Point Elementary and Valley View Elementary next year. The adjustment of only five minutes subsequently improves some of our transportation challenges by adding time a bus has to drive to an elementary campus and also increasing travel time between the first tier (elementary routes) and second tier (secondary routes). The adjustment allows more of a buffer so that buses have sufficient time to drop off elementary students then continue routes to the secondary schools.
The group investigated adding buses to help route times and efficiencies, but not only would it require additional drivers to an already short-staffed fleet, but the cost of additional buses is prohibitive at this time.
See chart with time changes below. The changes will go into effect beginning the 2017-18 school year.
Professional Development Early Release Days
Thank you to the more than 1,500 parents and 358 staff who completed the survey on the Early Release/Late Start professional development days. The majority of responses (57% parents, 85% staff) favored Early Release over Late Start. There was also a majority of responses that preferred consistency in designating the days. With this feedback, we have set five of the six Early Release days as the last Tuesday of the month, with the exception of November 2017 because of how Thanksgiving break falls. There will be no Early Release days in August, October, December and May. Please view our updated 2017-18 calendar online, which includes next year's scheduled Early Release Days and No Homework Nights.
Student Information Verification (SIV)
The annual Student Information Verification (SIV) is moving from August to this coming April so that we can have a better idea of next year's returning students before we break for summer. This will aid in staffing, transportation and allocating resources. More reminders and information will be released soon, but mark your calendars now for SIV to open April 12 at 1pm. Please remember that this is for returning students, not students who are new to the district.
Have a great rest of your week,
Dr. Tom Leonard