Students in Maryline Williams’ kindergarten class know they have a teacher who will help them succeed. The Henry David Thoreau Elementary School teacher is one of 16 Seattle Heroes in the Classroom to be recognized during the 2019 NFL season.
School Start Time Advisory
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.
- May 6, 2019 Board Study Session
- April 3, 2019 Meeting
- November 29, 2018 Meeting
- October 30, 2018 Meeting
- January 28, 2018 Meeting
- December 14, 2017 Meeting
- November 16, 2017 Meeting
- October 19, 2017 Meeting
- August 25, 2017 Meeting
A study session with the Superintendent and School Board took place on Monday, May 6. A subgroup of the Advisory shared key take-aways from our engagement feedback. These included:
- The impact of the later start and end times for elementary schools created unintended consequences, particularly for the schools with a 9:20 a.m. start time.
- The impact of changes in middle school start and end times has resulted in less disruption than those reported by elementary schools.
- High school students at all grades are divided as to the merits of a later start time compared to staying with their current start and end time.
- High school students with an 8:00 a.m. school start time reported more benefits about their current school start and end times.
The Advisory shared 3 recommendations, which included:
- The Advisory recommends that the district consider the range of Preschool programs and Elementary school start times to begin no later than 9:00 a.m.
- The Advisory recommends that the district consider the range of middle school start and end times to remain similar to the 2018-19 ranges.
- The Advisory recommends that the district consider the range of High School start times to begin no earlier than 8:00 a.m.
- The Superintendent will examine the recommendations to determine next steps and feasibility for any changes.
- Any revisions to the existing schedule would not take effect until the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Materials shared at the May 6 Board Study Session
At the April 3 Advisory meeting, the members reviewed the feedback from Elementary and Middle School principals on the impacts of this year’s start time changes. We also reviewed the feedback from 190 high school students that was gathered in student listening sessions which were held in each of our high schools. We ended the meeting with draft recommendations. A subgroup of the Advisory was formed to work on the draft recommendations to help develop a final report to the Superintendent and School Board.
The School Start Time Advisory held its second meeting of the year on Thursday, November 29. The Advisory spent the entire meeting reviewing the results of the staff and parent online survey. We received 987 parent surveys and 547 staff surveys. We had time to start the review of verbatim comments to help us identify themes. A subgroup of the Advisory is meeting in the week of December 10, to continue analysis of the verbatim comments. There will be additional information posted to this website page in the week of December 17.
The School Start Time Advisory held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 30. The Advisory reviewed the actions, timeline and focus for the 2018-19 school year. At this time, LWSD is not planning to make changes to the current start/dismissal times for the 2019-20 school year.
In 2018-19, the focus of the Advisory Committee will be to:
- Administer two online surveys, one per semester, to gather staff and parent feedback on start/dismissal time impacts
- Analyze survey feedback to understand the impact of start/dismissal time changes
- Use the feedback to determine how far and how fast we make any further changes to start/dismissal times in the future
In mixed member small groups, members shared how the change in start and dismissal times has affected their family and work schedule this year. Members also shared the changes they have observed in their schools so far this year as impacted by the start time changes. Advisory members reviewed the first draft of the first semester parent and staff survey questions. The group made suggestions for changes to existing survey questions and provided additional survey questions to consider. A School Start Time Advisory survey link will be included in Connections for parents/community and Focus for staff in the week of November 5th.
The School Start Time Advisory held its fifth meeting of the year on Thursday, January 18. The Advisory engaged in an school start time activity to help distinguish between competing interests and values. Based on the Advisory’s analysis and discussion of the various start and dismissal options from the previous meetings, Advisory members weighed in on the various options to help narrow the schedule priorities.
The Advisory reviewed next steps and a communication plan to help parents and staff understand the 2018-19 start and end times.
The School Start Time Advisory held its fourth meeting of the year on Thursday, December 14. The Advisory continued review of the quantitative results of the June 2017 School Start Time survey which was administered to K-12 staff, parents, and 9-12 students. At the request of the Advisory, our Transportation department developed another schedule option that was not included in the June 2017 survey. This option “flips” the times for elementary and high school level, creating a schedule where elementary start and dismissal ranges are earlier than high school times.
Working in small groups, the Advisory members analyzed and discussed the impact of the new schedule option, using an Options Analysis matrix to compare how well each of the schedule options met the interests of each constituent group.
The School Start Time Advisory held its third meeting of the year on Thursday, November 16. The Advisory continued review of the quantitative results of the June 2017 School Start Time survey which was administered to K-12 staff, parents, and 9-12 students. The group also reviewed the themes, or interests, that came from the verbatim survey comments. These interests included:
- An interest in a later start time for high school student
- An interest in a high school dismissal time that permits students to participate in after-school activities
- An interest in keeping the start and dismissal times close to what they are currently
- An interest in start and dismissal times for elementary students to accommodate before and after school childcare needs as well as family and work schedules
- An interest in start and dismissal times that support a reasonable commute time and family schedule for staff
Working in small groups, the Advisory members analyzed and discussed the survey results, using an Options Analysis matrix to compare how well each of the schedule options met the interests of each constituent group.
The School Start Time Advisory held its second meeting of the year last Thursday, October 19. This group, which includes members from the College & Career Readiness Task Force, was expanded to include more representation from elementary and middle level staff and parents. This was intentionally done to ensure that multiple perspectives and impacts are considered in discussions of changing school times, especially as any change will impact the start and dismissal times for all levels.
During the recent meeting, the group heard a “Transportation 101” presentation from Barbara Posthumus, Associate Superintendent Business and Support Services and Jeff Miles, Transportation Manager. The presentation was designed to help the group understand how our tiered bus transportation system works.
Following the presentation, the group identified key learnings and interests, including:
- An acknowledgement that the geography of our district and transportation coverage is itself a challenge;
- An interest in the safety and welfare of students when considering morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off times;
- An interest to maintain a tiered bus system as it is the most efficient way of operating a transportation system; and,
- An interest in retaining quality bus drivers by optimizing bus drivers’ daily schedules.
The School Start Advisory will continue their work at the November 16 meeting.
For the past two years, the College and Career Readiness Task Force has been studying the impacts of the new state 24-credit graduation requirements and the potential for a seven-period day for grades 9-12 and other creative ways to expand options for students in grades 9-12. In April 2017, the Task force recommended adding time to the high school day to create a seventh period in each of our high schools. This change would not take place any earlier than the 2018-19 school year. So, for the 2017-18 school year, high schools continue with six periods.
This Task Force has also been studying school start times. The research literature describes 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 achievement. In June 2017, we surveyed K-12 staff, parents, and high school students to gather feedback on four start/dismissal time options currently under consideration. The survey feedback is currently being analyzed for themes and patterns.
In September 2017, the School Start Time Advisory will convene and review the results of the June survey and determine additional information needed to make a recommendation for any change to current school start and dismissal times. Any proposed school start changes would not take place any earlier than 2018-19.
The School Start Time Advisory is made up of administrators, teachers, and parents and includes some members who also served on the College & Career Readiness Task Force.
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.
School Start Time Advisory Meetings
- October 30, 2018
- November 29, 2018
- April 3, 2019