19 November 2015

Congratulations to Seattle Public Schools for opting to START SCHOOL LATER

The Seattle School Board voted 6-1 last night, November 18, to push back start times for middle and high schools.

This was a complicated problem for the district, which had to consider the major costs involved in making it happen from a busing logistics standpoint.

Seattle has a three-tier busing system which some say is outmoded, but breaking down that three-tier system into a two-tier one, a move favored by many and which would make changing bell times for teens easier to accomplish, would cost at least $8 million to execute.

Instead, the board approved a compromise which moves most middle and high school start times to 8:45 and most elementary start times to 7:55.

Seattle is one of the largest districts in the U.S. to take on this task, and has found itself in the national spotlight as a leader in the movement toward changing the way our schools operate so that teenaged brains can get more sleep in order to learn more effectively, to be safer and to be healthier... all goals which support the mission of American public education.

SHC wishes to thank the many sleep health activists, physicians and educators as well as the parents and children who spoke out in favor of this major new change. It will take some doing to implement and it's not a perfect plan, but considering the complexity of the school district's three-tier busing system, it's a fantastic first step toward the sleep our teenagers sorely need.

And a special thanks goes to the Seattle branch of the Start School Later campaign; some really hard work went into this effort and many people deserve a huge amount of thanks for their time, passion and perseverance, as this took nearly 4 years to pass.

Read the full story here at the Seattle Times.