STANWOOD, WA. August 25, 2023 – The Stanwood-Camano School District (SCSD) has agreed to provide transportation for YMCA School-Age Care (SAC) students for the 2023-24 school year, reducing the amount of time children spend on buses and making it more efficient for families to drop-off and pick-up their children at sites close to home.
The YMCA School-Age Care site at Utsalady Elementary School also serves students at Elger Bay Elementary on the south end of Camano Island. Last year, due to high enrollment numbers and reduced staff, the Y was unable to provide multiple bus runs and relied on district support in the afternoons. The drive from Elger Bay to Utsalady took over 45 minutes every afternoon.
“We truly appreciated the district’s partnership in shuttling more than a dozen students to our program at Utsalady last year, but a 45-minute bus ride impacted getting children to our after school program in a timely manner,” said Janelle Vital, School-Age Care Program Director, Stanwood-Camano YMCA. “The long bus ride also led to some behavior issues, among other things, and parents were understandably frustrated. This year, we hoped for a new solution to the transportation challenges and the district solved the problem before we even met to discuss last year’s issues. In short, the district worked out the logistics to make the Y program at Utsalady the first drop-off, eliminating that long bus ride. We are so grateful that our partners at the SCSD office were receptive to the concerns of their school families and the Y.”
The changes will alleviate transportation concerns for Y SAC students, but it also benefits the school district. With this year’s boundary changes, many families at Cedarhome Elementary School were moved to Utsalady Elementary School, lengthening commute times and subsequently causing stress to families. The school district had a solution to help these families needing before or after school care who are now at a school farther away from home.
“We don’t have the means to transport Utsalady Elementary students who reside in Stanwood, but we do have space in our programs,” said Vital. “We will be enrolling children at our Cedarhome location for before and after school care and the district will transport them to and from Utsalady Elementary.”
Families will save valuable time by having their children at sites close to home and won’t have the additional minutes of driving from Stanwood to Camano Island and back again – twice every day.
“We are grateful for the support of school staff and the Superintendent who believe in our programs and recognize that partnering together improves quality of life for families in the Stanwood-Camano School District,” said Vital. “We can continue to provide high-quality, impactful care for these students and we don’t have to worry about transportation concerns that can be a huge barrier for families.”