In a bid to address concerns over educational performance of its sleepy 6th to 12th graders, The Seattle Public Schools board voted Wednesday night to shift school start times across the district.
Seattle high schools will start classes later while most elementary schools will start the day earlier in a juggling act designed to keep the change from creating a significant increase in transportation costs.
Included in the elementary school adjustments were some surgical changes after parental push-back — including concern raised at Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementary over a proposed 9:40 AM start time for the 18th and Galer school that would have left working parents scrambling for new child care solutions.
Starting in the 2016/2017 school year, Garfield High School — the school most Capitol Hill public school students will attend — will begin its classes at 8:45 AM. Those tired Bulldogs currently start their sleepy mornings at 7:50 AM. The Central District’s Nova High will also feature an 8:45 AM start — only 15 minutes later than its current 8:30 AM first bell. Seattle World School on the Meany Campus on 20th Ave at Thomas will also start at 8:30 AM.
Stevens, meanwhile, will begin its day at 7:55 AM — rolled back from 8:40 — while E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary kids who currently start at 9:30 will clock in at 7:40 AM. Good luck with that, parents.
“We will become the largest district in the country to make this switch, and hopefully we will set a trend,” school board director Sharon Peaslee said in a statement on the changes. “This is a historic moment.”
You can view the list of start time changes for all schools here (PDF).
Wednesday, the board also approved a new framework for adjusting school assignment borders. SPS has characterized the changes to go into effect next year as relatively minor, aiming to “standardize tiebreakers and eliminate confusing (and sometimes conflicting) language.” Many parents are concerned how the new rules will lead to changes in how waitlists are handled, how students follow educational programs within the system, and “grandfathering” of students based on past attendance at a particular school. The Student Assignment Plan also deals with issues like how students get prioritized for certain special instruction programs. Students in all grades are initially assigned to a school based on where they live. Afterwards, students may apply to option schools that offer a variety of programs and instructional methods.
Board votes unanimously to approve 2016-17 Student Assignment Transition Plan.
— Seattle Schools (@seapubschools) November 19, 2015