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Staggered School Schedule Approved - Additional Information

July 15, 2021

Parents, Guardians, and Community Members, 

On June 30th a communication related to staggered start and school end times for the 2021-2022 school year was shared.  Below is the schedule (approximate times), as well as additional information explaining considerations as a final decision was made. 

Betz, Snowdon, Sunset, and Windsor Elementary Schools – 7:50 a.m. start time and 2:20 p.m. end time

Salnave Elementary School – 8:35 a.m. start time and 3:05 p.m. end time

Cheney Middle, Westwood Middle, and Cheney High School – 8:55 a.m. start time and 3:35 p.m. end time

Three Springs High School and HomeWorks! - start and end times are still to be determined; please watch for more information coming soon.

One hour weekly late start - each Friday morning.

The Cheney School District is unique in that it encompasses 381 square miles including Airway Heights, Cheney, the West Plains, and an expansive rural area.  While the school district was extremely fortunate to be able to offer the same K-12 daily schedule for many years, in recent years it has become evident that we are not able to sustain a consistent K-12 schedule (student growth, driver shortages, etc.). Attached is a PDF of the Cheney School District map and school attendance areas to show the extensive boundary area.

Throughout staggered start/end time discussions many themes emerged and a multitude of topics were considered including but not limited to childcare (before and after school), sleep patterns of students, athletic and extra-curricular activities, the ability of student grade bands to learn effectively later in the day, students walking to and from school, the number of instructional hours (to meet state requirements), transportation limitations, and the length of the day for bus drivers.  

With fewer bus drivers than in previous years, transportation efficiency was a significant factor in creating staggered start/end times.  Thus, Salnave elementary is included in a similar timeframe/schedule with our secondary schools.  The reason for this is the vast rural attendance area of the district south of Cheney (blue area on the map).  By including Salnave on a schedule that aligns with CMS and CHS we are able to run one bus route in this large geographic area (and not multiple runs).  

Another significant consideration for start and end times is the location of schools.  While we have five elementary schools spread out across the district (Airway Heights, Cheney, and the West Plains), we have one comprehensive high school in Cheney and two middle schools (one in Cheney and one in the West Plains). Starting the second morning bus route from locations spread across the District (elementary schools) allows for a faster turnaround than if all busses started their second route from more central locations (secondary schools). While this is the case for morning routes the result will be the opposite for the afternoon routes.

As a school system and community, we have been through a lot in the past sixteen months.  I truly appreciate your patience and support as we have adjusted to each and every circumstance.  While there isn’t a staggered start/end time solution that works perfectly for every situation, I am confident that we will be able to make the daily school schedules work as smoothly as possible.  

At the beginning of August additional specific schedule information for each school will be shared by building principals.   

If you or anyone you know are interested in driving school bus for Cheney Public Schools, please reach out to the transportation department at (509) 559-4523 for more information.

Take care and enjoy the rest of your summer,

Rob Roettger, Superintendent

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June 30, 2021

Parents, Guardians, and Community Members, 

In previous communications I have shared that a staggered school start and end time will be necessary as we begin the 2021—2022 school year. This change is necessary due to our inability to provide as many bus routes as would be needed to transport all students on the same daily schedule.  Fifty individuals comprised of parents and guardians, teachers, staff members, and administrators were invited to participate in the staggered start/end time committee meetings.  We met three separate times with the available committee members (just under 30); have had conversations with our transportation department; and, engaged our administrative team in discussion.  After thoughtful deliberation of many possibilities, a proposal for staggered start and end times was shared with our Board of Directors on June 23rd for their consideration.  The following schedule was approved by the Board of Directors for the upcoming school year.  Please know the times listed below are approximate as there could be minor adjustments necessary as families register for transportation and routes are created and adjusted (please watch for additional communication regarding bussing registration).  

Betz, Snowdon, Sunset, and Windsor Elementary Schools – 7:50 a.m. start time and 2:20 p.m. end time

Salnave Elementary School – 8:35 a.m. start time and 3:05 p.m. end time

Cheney Middle, Westwood Middle, and Cheney High Schools – 8:55 a.m. start time and 3:35 p.m. end time

Three Springs High School and HomeWorks! - start and end times are still to be determined; please watch for more information coming soon.

One hour weekly late start - each Friday morning

The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year is on September 1st.  We know this change in schedule will impact families, and we are hopeful that by providing the start and end times now, families will be able to use the summer to make any adjustments necessary. As a reminder, we are planning to have full school days for all grade levels this coming school year.  In the next few weeks please watch for communication detailing all available learning choices, including alternative and remote options, that will be available to Cheney students.

As always, you are welcome to reach out to me with any questions you have on this topic by emailing me at rroettger@cheneysd.org or calling (509) 559-4502.

Take care and have a great summer!

Rob Roettger, Superintendent

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