School Start Time Advisory

    December 2019 Update

    At the December 9, 2019 School Board Meeting, Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent, announced that Lake Washington School District will not make any changes to the current school schedules (start/end times) for the 2020-21 school year.

    In looking at potential schedule revisions, the district considered the following factors: 

    • The original decision-making process that led to the current start/end times for schools. 
    • Current research on adolescent health. 
    • Impacts of the start/end times on current family schedules and potential for additional disruptions.  
    • The recommendations from the School Start Times Advisory Committee. 
    • Current program models, including the impact potential changes would have on transportation schedules and staffing needs.  
    • Space constraints and the impact on program flexibility as LWSD continues to grow. 
    • LWSD’s current transportation model and policy requirements for eligibility. 

    For more information about the decision not to change the 2020-21 school start times, please read the December 2019 Superintendent's message.

    A School Start Time Advisory group is continuing the work of looking at additional changes to start and end times. This group is comprised of staff and parents from preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels. Since any change in the start and end time at one level impacts other levels, it’s important to have all levels represented in the review and discussion.

    Engagement opportunities will continue to help us gather feedback from parents, students and staff about the impacts of the start time changes made in the 2018-19 school year. These impacts include:

    • Teaching and learning
    • Student health and well-being
    • Family and staff routines and schedules
    • Staff and parent access to meet for communication
    • Extracurricular activities outside of the school day

    As a result of this year’s work, the Advisory will develop and present their findings and recommendations to the Superintendent by May 2019.

    If additional changes are recommended, implementation would begin no earlier than the 2020-21 school year because of the required time to plan for staffing, transportation, and budget changes that may result from schedule revisions.

    Advisory meeting dates, notes, and survey links will be posted below.

    Background/History of the Work:

    • The College and Career Readiness Task Force spent two years researching and exploring strategies to increase student flexibility in meeting the state’s 24 credit graduation requirement.
    • The Task Force conducted community engagement opportunities including listening sessions and online surveys with staff, high school students, and community to gather feedback on various high school schedules including 4x4, 4x8, Trimester, and 7 period schedules.
    • The Task Force also reviewed research on later high school start times that report the benefits of a later start time for high school students, including improvements in memory and learning, mental health and well-being, and overall academic performance.
    • The results of an online survey administered to staff, parents, and high school students in June 2017 indicated conflicting opinions about moving to a later high school start time.
    • Starting in the 2018-19 school year, high school start times remained the same, 20 minutes was added to the end of the high school student day, and a seven-period schedule was implemented.
    • As a result of the additional time added to the end of the high school day, school start and end times changed for elementary and middle schools. This is due to the way our transportation system efficiently transports students to and from schools between all three levels. Any change in the start or end time at one level affects the start and end times at other levels.