Cordie: Changes to school start times, elementary boundary zones
In November of 2016, the Sherwood community made an enormous investment in our schools with the passage of a capital improvement bond. This bond funded the construction of a new high school, as well as the transformation of several other schools to create student capacity at all levels. These Transformations projects include Laurel Ridge Middle School and Sherwood Middle School combining together as a new, unified middle school at the current high school building, moving the students and staff at from the current Hopkins Elementary to the current Sherwood Middle School building, and using the Laurel Ridge Middle School building to expand elementary capacity at that location. This plan was generated from a community engagement process that identified our community's priorities and developed a long range facility plan for the District.
The community engagement process for the Transformations surfaced many questions, including a desire to take a look at school start times for all of our schools. Last summer, the District did extensive research on the medical evidence associated with the effects of school start times on students, the experiences that other school districts were having with adjusted start times, and how staggered start times could impact our schools and community. This research provided significant support for moving middle and high school start times later in the day. A survey of our students, parents, and staff also supported this shift. In December 2019, the Sherwood Board of Directors adopted new start times for the middle school and high school levels, to take effect in the following year. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, elementary schools will continue to operate from 7:55 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., but the middle school and high school will shift, with a new schedule of 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. This change aligns with the recommendations of all major medical associations that suggest that middle schools and high schools should not start before 8:30 a.m., and is in alignment with the feedback received by our community.
The construction of a new high school, along with the transformation of many of our other schools, will create capacity at all levels for several years to come. The room created by these Transformations projects will enable our district to accommodate anticipated building and growth, in both the Brookman and Basalt Creek areas. The capacity created by transforming both Laurel Ridge Middle School and Sherwood Middle School to elementary schools created a need for the District to adjust its elementary school boundaries. Last spring, the Board of Directors interviewed and selected eight community members (two parents from each of our four elementary schools) to serve on the Boundary Adjustment Committee. The role of this Committee was to study and make a recommendation for these adjustments. After five meetings, two Community Open Houses, and reviewing hundreds of forms of community feedback, the Boundary Adjustment Committee made a final recommendation to the Board of Directors on Jan. 15, 2020. This recommendation was adopted by the board on Feb. 12, 2020, and can be viewed on the Sherwood School District website.
Sherwood School District is very fortunate to have amazing support from a community that values its schools and children so highly. We believe the new and transformed schools, new start times, and adjusted elementary boundaries will allow us to continue to best serve all of our students and help them reach their full potential.
Heather Cordie is superintendent of the Sherwood School District.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.