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Springfield Public Schools leaders hope new start & end times will increase attendance rates

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 2:28 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield Public Schools is implementing a new before and after-school support service called SHINE, leading to new start and end times for the 2021-2022 school year.

The new start and end times allows the district to expand transportation options for 3,000 more high school students and allow magnet programs to have busing services. According to the Springfield Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Stephen Hall, in previous years SPS has had a very restrictive busing service.

“We have been looking at ways to expand transportation within our district for many years and have heard from families that we had a very restrictive busing service,” said Hall.

Previously students had to live more than three miles from a high school to qualify for bus services. The district conducted research and learned barriers to transportation lead to barriers in achieving academic performance.

“Our limited transportation was leading to a decline in attendance which lead students towards negative academics,” said Hall.

Hall says the goal of the new busing times is to help remove all barriers to transportation for every student.

“The change is about removing barriers to make sure that every child in our district no matter what background has every opportunity to have a safe secure ride to school, each and every day of the week,” said Hall.

Only some schools are directly affected with new bus routes including moving the Wonder Years early childhood program at Fulbright, Shady Dell and Campbell Early Childhood Centers to Tier 1, Academy of Fine and Performing arts to Tier 1 and WOLF to Tier 2.

According to the SPS News Release the new before- and after- school times are listed below:

  • Tier 1 schools will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.
  • Tier 2 schools will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.
  • Tier 3 schools will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.
  • Study Alternative Center will begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 1:45 p.m.

SPS conducted research with an outside company and eventually decided to open up different tiers based on the research.

“We began to study this in depth almost two years ago and SPS hired a professional contractor to come in to study our transportation routing system. Our goal was to see if there was anything that we could do within our current structure to make busing available for more students,” said Hall.

The district was not able to expand to transporting more students to school unless they switched from a two tier system to three.

“The company told us if we wanted to expand transportation to more students we would have to move from two tiers to three tiers because logistically there needs to be a 60 minute window between each tier,” said Hall.

For more information on updated start and end times and bus routes click here.

In addition to the new start and end times the district will be implementing a new care program called SHINE.

SHINE is a new program coming to SPS and will began at all school sites on Aug. 23.

The new program will also be administering scholarships funded by $3.4 million in the Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated through the SHINE fund.

Any student can attend SHINE and students who qualify for free/reduced meals can receive scholarships through the SHINE Fund that allow them to access academic support free of charge, either before or after school, depending on the site. Registration begins on Monday, July 26 and details are available at www.sps.org/shine.

“Registration opens for SHINE on Monday, July 26. This window gives our families a week or so to go on to the special web page we’ve created to learn about the program. We want families to find the provider that is assigned to your students school and then begin the process of applying for free or reduced lunch if that applies to you,” said Hall.

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