No More Sleepless in Seattle? District adopts later starting times for high schools

No More Sleepless in Seattle? District adopts later starting times for high schools

Board approves revised schedule designed to let teenagers sleep later

The school day will start later next year for high school students and most middle school students in the Seattle School District.

The Seattle Times reports that the city's school board has approved a revised schedule for schools that sets the start times for high schools and most middle schools at 8:45 a.m.

The district decided to look at altering school start times in light of findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that too many high and middle schools start classes too early, which results in students' not getting the sleep they need to maintain their health and optimize their academic performance.

Seattle joins the Fairfax County (Va.) district among the nation's larger school systems that have adjusted start times in response to research about sleep patterns and student performance.

The Seattle board's decision comes after a district task force studied various options for changing start times to improve learning conditions for students. The Bell Times Analysis Task Force evaluated possible changes focusing on four issues: student learning, school engagement, health and equity.

"While no schedule exists that will work perfectly for everyone, a conclusive body of research indicates that adjusting school schedules to capture peak learning times for all students, and to lessen chronic sleep deprivation in adolescents, offers substantial, tangible benefits," the task force said.

The task force also looked at how schedule changes would affect school bus operations, teacher and staff schedules, budget, before- and after-school activities, and community involvement in schools.

The schedule adopted by the board, which will be put into place for 2016-17, has high schools, most middle schools and some K-8 schools starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending at 3:15 p.m. Most elementary schools, four K-8 schools and one middle school will start at 7:55 a.m. and end at 2:05 p.m. Some elementary and K-8 schools will start at 9:35 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.

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