Earlybird/Latebirds in Albany Schools- Beneficial or Inequitable?

I am a new parent in the Albany School System and have been placed in the Late Bird schedule for my Kindergartener. Everyone seems to rave about Albany schools, but so far, in my experience, it feels unorganized (not unique to Albany) and inequitable. I have tons of questions and concerns and no one is available to answer them. All my emails have gone into a blackhole with a response rate of 0. Here is my perception of why the late bird schedule feels so inequitable- 

1. Late birds families have to pay 2x childcare- morning and after

2. Late birds don't get the free breakfast

3. Early birds get reading time in the morning when there is more focus and late birds get afternoon reading time when there is less focus

4. It seems like there is less opportunities for the parents and children to get to know one another during drop off since the majority of the class is already settled in and started (maybe there will be more opportunities later??)

5. The system favors the parents who are able to register early. 

In my option, the benefit of smaller reading groups doesn't outweigh the hardship and inequity. Does anyone have a positive experience with the late bird schedule? Are there benefits to the late bird schedule that I am unaware? 1:00pm -2:00pm dismissal is negligible, but 8:30-9:30 drop off is crucial. Is the assumption that each family has a stay at home parent? ...How is that possible with the cost of living in Albany? Has anyone had success pushing back on this policy? 

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Hi. I don’t have any advice or insight on how to change it, just wanted to say your post echos a lot of what I’ve been thinking. My kiddo is a late bird and I think it’s ridiculous to think 2-3pm is the right time of day to focus on reading for first graders. I registered for school in the morning in the first day you can register—so I don’t think the assignment is based on when you register. Thanks for putting these concerns out there, I agree wholeheartedly. 

Late birds absolutely do get free breakfast because it is the law. They get it at recess. Parents aren’t paying double for childcare, it’s the same number of hours just at different times. The children get to know each other in class, that has nothing to do with drop off and pick up time. You will just need to make an effort to get to know parents more. 

The real issue here is the large class sizes in California.

Good post! Came here for the same issue. 

The inequality issue is a concern to me too, not to be so quickly dismissed (by a representative from the school?) here. Especially since the waitlists and reassignments seem to be held by a gatekeeper in the office, not a list with any order. Ask parents who succeeded in getting into the before/after care programs, they will tell that you have to go in person repeatedly and be super persistent with one particular individual, who will then advance you against the other parents who have been waiting longer. Of course this benefits wealthy parents who don't work or have work from home arrangements, other paid caregivers, etc. Single parents and those with lower incomes who have to report to work at 8 or 9am (like most people in the world outside of the Bay Area, or non-tech people) are out of luck, scrambling for waitlists they have no chance of getting on because of the aforementioned nepotism. Unfortunately, I'm a lowly hard-laborer (construction) who has to show up to my place of work on time and makes just enough to not qualify for any benefits. Telling us to just quit our jobs (someone said that in a similar post) is not an acceptable answer. Also the dismissive answer of " You will just need to make an effort to get to know parents more. " does not address the issue the original poster has expressed. We really want to be part of this community, but it is definitely "exclusive". My late bird drop off is more transactional, less community.

I have also sent a few emails to the administrators and principle over the past few months and had ZERO response. That would be unacceptable in most lines of work. Go ahead and look up salaries at Transparent California and you'll be in awe at how much the leadership who don't answer emails get paid. 

The chef in charge of the breakfast program (who does pick up the phone god bless her) told me that late birds do not get breakfast, that they cannot staff that, and nowhere has it ever been stated to me as a parent that there is breakfast at recess for late birds. Does the chef not know about this either? Please let me know where to find that info. That is news to me and was never advertised or mentioned in any  communications that I have received. Perhaps if anyone there responded to my polite emails that information over the summer (still waiting) would be shared with me, but alas, I suppose I have to take a vacation day to visit in person like a stay-at-home mom to get such an answer to a simple question. 

Class size is not the only issue here. Seems like practical solutions like hiring a few before/after workers to monitor the school yard for an hour before and after school would be a start. Like every other school I know of outside of our privileged area. Then lower and middle income families wouldn't get the squeeze. The awkward one-hour space between free breakfast and late bird drop off presents a real challenge, since there is no chance of getting into the before-care program that is oversubscribed and requires some kind of special handshake or personal relationship to get into. 

I know someone at a different school who's teacher was concerned about the afternoon concentration and succeeded in getting some students into an early bird program. Doesn't seem to be a priority here in Albany, where the attitude just seems to be "suck it up" 

TBH I don't think everyone raves about Albany schools--when we were considering whether to move, multiple Albany friends cautioned me about the lack of full-day kindergarten, and also about the disruptions of the renovations process that was then underway. At the time, Late Bird families did pay more for childcare because of the way the programs were structured, even though it was the same number of hours--though maybe that's improved. They had not heard of much success requesting that kids be switched to Early Bird schedules. There were also many pros, of course, but ultimately those factors contributed to AUSD not being a good fit for our family.

I have heard you can switch from LB to EB by talking to the teacher and maybe the principal.

The poster saying it is the same number of hours is assuming that before care/ after care is via ACC. YMCA, Friendship club, El Cerrito Martial Arts, Su Yun, CPC do not have before care so you would have to pay separately which is technically more.

Also - I think AUSD is solving before / after school for low income families or kids with learning needs. Once you hit above a certain income level, you are beholden to market forces.

By now, your kid's teacher should have sent a parent directory for the class. You can organize a weekend play date based on that list. It is more work so I feel your pain.