President's Message - February 2009

posted Feb 3, 2009, 3:02 PM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Feb 3, 2009, 3:08 PM ]
There are several large initiatives being considered by the School Board that will affect everyone in the Hayfield Secondary community, one being proposed changes to start times. Elsewhere on this web site you’ll find the FCPS press release announcing the Town Hall meetings intended to inform the community of the specifics regarding the changes. The proposals themselves come from the 70-member Transportation Task Force that the School Board created in 2007, and which, after months of meetings and discussions proposed changes to transportation services – who gets picked up and dropped off, when and where – that will save the system more than $30 million while making much needed systemic fixes, along with changes to start and dismissal times for every student in the FCPS.

The Hayfield community is in the unique position of having four of its members on the Task Force, including me as Chairman. You should use this resource to help you decide whether or not to support the proposals. Brad Center, our School Board representative from Lee District and a Hayfield parent, noted the proposals and the Town Hall meetings in a newsletter (direct quote, emphases his):

“The Board continues to explore the possibility of revising the bell schedule to allow later start times for high school students. At our January work session, transportation staff presented Iteration #3, as a blueprint of what a revised schedule could look like. We have not made any decisions on the proposal and won’t until the community and staff have a chance to comment. While I support the science behind later start times, I realize this issue is complex and concerns exist. However, I believe we create a false dichotomy if we try to frame the discussion as a choice between accepting the bell schedule or accepting a trade-off. We should try to resolve or mitigate the problems; if that’s not possible, then a trade off determination would be made …but, we are a long way from this step. I encourage you to attend one of the community meetings that will take place during the last week in February and to share your opinion on the proposed schedule. If you cannot attend, please complete the online survey that will be available beginning February 9th at Details of the meetings and a link to the survey are available as well under the heading: Proposed Changes for School Start and Dismissal Times.”

I encourage all of you to become familiar with the issues involved by reading the Task Force’s report online. The report is lengthy at 300+ pages. The Executive Summary is much shorter at 20 pages. The rest of the report is appendices (A-U) that go into great detail, in particular on the impacts of the proposed changes. The web site also has links to the many documents and thousands of pages of research the Task Force used in developing its proposals. Please read as much of this information as you can, especially the Executive Summary. And if anyone still has any questions they may contact me through the PTSA and I’ll try to answer them.

Dick Reed
Hayfield Secondary PTSA President