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For the fifth year in a row, the College Board named Lake Washington School District (LWSD) to its Annual AP District Honor Roll. LWSD is one of only 373 public school districts in the United States and Canada and one of four in Washington state to be honored. Lake Washington is one of two districts in the state to be a multi-year recipient of the AP Honor Roll Award.

At its December 3 meeting, Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD) Board of Directors passed Resolution No. 2259 to place a Capital Projects Levy on the April 23, 2019 ballot. This measure, if passed, authorizes a six-year levy totaling $120 million or an average of $20 million per year for six years. 

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    2018-19 Start and End Time Changes

    School start and end times will change for  the 2018-19 school year as a seven-period day is implemented for high school students. We acknowledge any change has an impact to families’ current schedules. We want to ensure families have ample time to plan for the change.

    This change takes effect starting on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. Families received a message from their school’s principal with school-specific start and end times for 2018-19 on Friday, March 9.

    A School Start Time Advisory is continuing work in 2018-19 to study the impacts of potentially changing high school start times to later in future years. The Advisory includes staff and parents from elementary, middle and high school levels. They will make a recommendation for any potential further changes to school start and end times. Further changes in the 2019-2020 school year may or not occur, depending on their recommendation. There will continue to be ample opportunity for families to provide input throughout the process. Any changes to the high school start and end times result in adjustments to middle and elementary start and end times due to transportation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Why are start and end times changing?

    Starting with the Class of 2019, students are required to graduate with 24 credits. In 2015, a Task Force of staff and parents convened to study, analyze and make recommendations to expand options for students to meet the 24 credits required for graduation. In April 2017, the Task Force recommended adding time to the end of the high school student day to provide a 7-period day.

    Adding time to the high school day results in needed adjustments to the start and end times of elementary and middle schools due to our tiered transportation system (the same buses transport students at the high school, middle school and elementary level).

    2. Why is a seven-period day needed and how does it benefit students?

    A seven-period day restores opportunities for our students that they used to have. Over the past several years, the elective opportunities and opportunities for additional exploration, acceleration and remediation have declined for high school students. This is due to the increase in the state graduation requirements.

    Specifically, in a 6-period day,

    • The Class of 2015 could take 6 electives, plus they had two additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 8 total opportunities.
    • The Classes of 2016-18 can take 4 electives, plus they had two additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 6 total opportunities.
    • The Class of 2019 and beyond can take 4 electives, but they have 0 additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 4 total opportunities.

    By implementing a seven-period day, we bring back opportunities for our high school students that previous graduating classes used to have.

    3. How is implementing a seven-period day connected to school start and end time adjustments?

    To effectively implement a seven-period day, the high school day must become longer. 20 minutes is being added to the student day at the high school level. The 20 minutes is being added to the end of the high school day vs. starting schools even earlier for high school students given research on adolescent sleep patterns and needs. Therefore, high school start times will remain the same in 2018-19 and high schools will dismiss 20 minutes later. The addition of time at the high school level results in needed adjustments to the start and end times of elementary and middle schools due to our tiered transportation system (see question 5).

    4. If additional instructional time is added only to the high school day, why are elementary and middle school start and end times impacted?

    Because of the nature of our tiered bus transportation system (see question 5), adding time to the end of the high school day effects the time of the routes and impacts start and end times for other levels as well.

    5. What is a tiered transportation system?

    A tiered transportation system means the same buses and drivers are used to transport elementary, middle and high school students. Our transportation system optimizes the use of buses, routes and bus drivers to maximize efficiency and costs. On a daily basis, Lake Washington School District transports over 8,200 students. In addition, we transport students receiving Special Education, Preschool, Elementary Orchestra and Band, and Highly Capable services. Our drivers first transport high school students, then middle school students, and the same buses and drivers transport elementary students to and from school.

    6. Why can’t all schools in the same level have the same start and end times?

    In order to transport students to and from school in a safe and timely way, we stagger our school start and end times to allow our transportation system to make the most efficient use of our buses and bus drivers. The buses used to transport students at one level are the same buses used to transport students at other levels. Having a range of start and end times helps ensure there is sufficient time to transport students between levels.

    7. How are school start and end times affected by our transportation system?

    When start or end times are changed at one level, high school for example, then start and end times need to be adjusted at other levels in order to maintain the same number of buses and drivers. The length of the high school day is increasing by 20 minutes. The length of the elementary and middle school day is staying the same. If start and end times at elementary and middle levels were not changed, the district would need to hire 50% more bus drivers and purchase additional buses which would cost several million dollars.

    8. How does this impact Wednesday LEAP Times (1.5-hour early release for students)?

    This change does not impact Wednesday LEAP Times. Students will still be dismissed one and half hours early every Wednesday.

    9. How is the district considering the impact of start and end times on the safety of students?

    As we developed potential options for school start and end times, student safety was central in our considerations. As one measure of safety, we considered “civil twilight” to gauge the amount of daylight students would be experiencing going to and from school. Civil twilight is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for objects to be clearly distinguished.

    10. What about a later high school start time as is happening in neighbor districts? Is that under consideration?

    The School Start Time Advisory will continue their work in 2018-19 to study the impacts of potentially changing high school start times to later in future years. See the answer to question 11 for more information. Information about the work of the School Start Time Advisory can be found on the School Start Time Advisory web page.

    11. Will there be further changes to school start and end times in future years?

    A School Start Time Advisory is continuing work in 2018-19 to study the impacts of potentially changing high school start times to later in future years. The Advisory includes staff and parents from elementary, middle and high school levels. They will make a recommendation for any potential further changes to school start and end times. There will continue to be ample opportunity for families to provide input throughout the process. Any changes to the high school start and end times result in adjustments to middle and elementary start and end times due to transportation. Information about the work of the School Start Time Advisory can be found on the School Start Time Advisory web page.