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Group Spreads The Word About New School Times With Flyers In Different Languages

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition
An infographic in Spanish about bell times for Southeast Seattle public schools

School starts Wednesday in Seattle, and for the second year in a row, bell times are changing.

The nonprofit group Southeast Seattle Education Coalition has created flyers in Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese and Spanish to let families know about the changes.

Last year, Seattle Public Schools shifted its hours in an effort to let teenagers start school later to let them get more sleep. This year, the district is changing hours again to add more instructional time.

Another thing that’s new is that kids will get out 75 minutes earlier on Wednesdays to give teachers time for collaboration and planning.

Mindy Huang, with Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, said her group handed out information about the new bell times at a back-to-school event last month in Rainier Valley. Huang said they discovered that some parents didn’t know about the change.

“They were just really surprised,” Huang said. “Some of them were confused about why, and some parents were concerned about child care.”

So her group got volunteers to translate flyers about the bell times into four languages. Huang distributed those flyers via email to different community groups so they could spread the word.

The district said it has taken a number of steps to let parents know about the changes, such as through social media and on its website, which can be translated into different languages, as well as the individual school websites.

The district has also sent direct messages in the top five languages spoken among Seattle school kids. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.