Tired Teens: District Committee looking at possible Later School Start times

Teens need more sleep. They’re always tired. School starts too early. These topics have been making headlines around the country in recent years.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District is now taking a deep look at whether it is possible to change the start times of schools across the geographically large district.

According to a district announcement, as part of the 2017-18 Strategic Plan, SVSD launched a School Start Times Advisory Committee this fall – comprised of parents, teachers, and administrators – to begin studying the potential benefits and feasibility of adjusting start times for Snoqualmie Valley schools.

The committee has been meeting twice a month since September, examining research on adolescent sleep patterns, operational and financial considerations, transportation logistics, implications for elementary schedules, and lessons learned by other school districts who have made changes to their start times.

In its last meeting on October 26th, the committee agreed to have VersaTrans, a bus routing system, begin evaluating the feasibility of using a three-tiered school start time sequence where elementary starts first, followed by middle school and then high school.

Currently the district uses a two-tiered start time sequence where middle and high school students start at 7:40AM and elementary schools start at approximately 9AM.

According to the district, the committee hopes to make a recommendation to the Superintendent sometime in early 2018, for possible implementation during the 2018-19 school year.

An  online survey will be sent to families after the Thanksgiving break, as the district seeks feedback on possible school start and end times solutions. .

SVSD School Start Times Advisory Committee will:

  • review the research findings regarding adolescent biorhythms and school success;
  • review the experiences of other school districts that have adopted later start and dismissal times or considered doing so but did not;
  • identify the implications of later start times and dismissal times for high school programming and activities and for school and district operations;
  • implement outreach strategies to gather feedback from school and community stakeholder groups;
  • consider the potential benefits to students, the input received, and the implications of later start and dismissal times;
  • determine whether there are feasible solutions to enact later start and dismissal times for secondary schools

For more info visit the School Start Time Advisory Committee website

Comments

  1. Edward Ritchie says

    Hi. This idea has been making its way around districts for awhile now. I think it is going too far to fix what is perceived to be a “problem!” I would ask what time does an adult have to get up to support a student? How much sleep does a parent need to fulfill all their daily responsibilities? Why can’t these students go to bed earlier? It would seem to me that this is a question of parenting, setting boundaries, getting involved in their child’s life enough to make sure they are getting enough sleep! To the person that is reading this, what time did you get up this morning? I am sending this message at 5:28 am. It is Saturday morning! I am 70years old! I drive a school bus for the Lake Washington School District. I get up at 4:30 am, drive to Redmond from Fall City to arrive by 5:30 am, pre-trip my bus and start my route by 6:15am! Fact. There is a critical shortage of bus drivers, nationwide. Fact. In order to service additional start times a district would have to increase its bus inventory, hire more drivers and spend more dollars that it doesn’t have. All for what? So some spoiled teenager can sleep in for another hour? What has happened to personal responsibility in our world. One of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard, with regard to child development is “Rather than prepare the path for your children, it is much better to prepare your children for the path!” Infinite wisdom. In a few years these kids will need to enter real world situations. I can’t imagine any company saying to their employees, “go ahead and sleep in”. The world can wait for your contribution to the economy and society as a whole. This whole idea stems from a growing trend of entitlement. There will surely be unintended consequences. Please! Give children goals and direction, not excuses for bad behavior. Teach them responsibility, integrity, persistence, service to others, honor, respect. Enable them to carry forward all we have given to provide them with a decent education. Again! Make them go to bed earlier! Yes, “MAKE THEM GO TO BED EARLIER!” It is called “Discipline!” It is not a “bad” thing! It is part of parenting. It has worked for several thousand years! May common sense prevail for we are lost without it!

    • Twin Falls mom says

      My middle schooler goes to bed at 830pm. He wakes up at 530am (the same time as you I might add!) to catch the bus for Twin Falls at 630am. What time would you prefer my child go to bed if he’s not being “personally responsible” enough to not be tired? And as his parent, I’m up at 400am (earlier than you!) to get my other children up and ready for he day and myself down to the bus so I can be to work on time. It’s not for the sake of terrible parenting or irresponsible children. can we just stop with the silly politically conservative drivel here? Your post doesn’t at all help and is insulting.

      • I don’t think your middle schooler is part of the “sleepy teen students” this change is meant to address. 9 hours should be sufficient sleep. The teens that are sleepy are the ones whose parents allow them to stay up until midnight, and thus get substantially less sleep than your middle schooler. From your description, you are doing exactly what Edward has suggested. Be a responsible parent. Congratulations!! You sound like a responsible parent and your actions are in agreement with what Edward proposed. Or don’t you see that?

  2. Whenever you hear “the research shows,” ……………grab your wallet.

  3. Hang in there Mr. Ritchie. I actually drove school buses and managed a transportation department once upon a time. It was a very enlightening experience.

  4. Speaking of school bus drivers-
    The local district is chronically short of drivers, and those that are there have been without a contract since September. The biggest sticking point is the fact that SVSD 410 pays their drivers 4 to 5 dollars less per hour than the two adjoining districts (Issaquah and Lake Washington), largely because of the no-longer-true notion that the cost of living is less up here. Ten years ago, maybe.They can change up the schedules all they want, but it’ll all be moot if there’s not enough drivers.

  5. On the money. They don’t have enough substitute teachers either. Wonder why. Perhaps the new school board should look into some very basic problems that could actually be solved fairly easily and cheaply. Econ 101.

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