Update on school start times discussion

Update on school start times discussion
Posted on 01/03/2019
Student sleeping while studying

More than 1,300 students, staff and parents responded to the survey regarding possible later start times in 2019-2020. The school board discussed the results at a recent meeting. Overall, 71 percent said they supported a later start, 24 percent opposed and 5 percent were undecided or neutral. While many supported the proposal, others themes emerged such as:

1. Why can't we just flip elementary and secondary to allow elementary to start at 7:30 or 8 and secondary to start at 8:30 or 9? The challenge with this is transportation and after-school schedules. We need an hour between elementary and secondary start times to accommodate transportation. A 7:30 or 7:45 start would require some children to be picked up before 7, while an 8 am start time for elementary would mean a 9 am to 3:50 pm secondary schedule. Safety and family schedule considerations for elementary students and after-school commitments (athletics, activities, jobs) for secondary students make such a schedule untenable. This is why it's challenging for us to get to the 8:30 start time recommended by the American Pediatric Association for teenagers.

2. How do we support Fidalgo families that rely on the school's earlier start time to accommodate family work schedules? We realize that this is an important consideration for a number of Fidalgo families, and we aim to work with families to address this concern.

In related news, A Seattle Times story last week discussed the impact of Seattle moving to an 8:30 a.m. start for secondary. The research study published in Science Advances journal found that students are getting 34 minutes more sleep on average a night, a 4.5 percent increase in median grades and an improvement in attendance.

Here is a synthesis of our survey results.

All are invited to attend an upcoming community meeting to offer additional feedback or ask questions:

  • Wednesday, Jan 16 at 10 a.m. at the District Office - 2200 M Avenue or 
  • Thursday, Jan 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Anacortes High School Library - 1600 20th Street

The school board will consider all feedback before making a decision, likely in February or March.

Questions? Contact the Superintendent's Office at 360-503-1211 or tramsay@asd103.org.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2019 West Corporation. All rights reserved.