Pushback on better school start times

sleeping teen

The good news is the Seattle Mayor’s office is recommending support of a shift to two school start times. The bad news is there’s pushback.

Please send emails to key people listed below in support of a shift to two start times next year. The Mayor of Seattle is recommending to the Levy Oversight Committee and the City Council that one-time funding of $2.3m be allocated to Seattle Public Schools to implement this change.

It will mean start times that support the sleep needs of all students, as shown by countless research studies. Elementary schools will start at 8:00 am, which is what families have requested and the Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee has recommended. Middle and high schools will start at 9:00 am which aligns with research findings and health professional recommendations.

Pushback is coming from people who want earlier start times to accommodate sports. But most of our teams now play in Seattle’s Metro League. Practice and game schedules in this league can and should be adjusted so that all students can benefit from adequate sleep. Athletes need it as much as everyone else!

Less than 20% of our students are on sports teams. More than 80% are not. All students need adequate sleep and we can adjust sports schedules.

Currently students are being dismissed for sports as early as 12:45-2:30. This can be mitigated in two ways. One is by changing Metro League practice and game times. Another is by changing mentorship times. Some high schools have mentorships in the middle of the school day. Others have them at the end of the school day. If there were a district-wide shift to end-of-day mentorships students leaving for sports would miss less academic classroom time. More lighting is being added to sports fields for later practice and games. These are better ways to accommodate sports schedules than to stay with three start times.

If we do NOT shift to two tiers, next year start times will be 10 minutes earlier for all students, and end times will be ten minutes later.

Please send the following message to the Seattle School Board, high school principals and City Council Members. For greater impact please personalize with your own spin and subject line. (Email addresses are listed below.)

Dear Seattle Principals and Board Directors,

Please make the health, safety, and well-being of our students highest priority and shift to two start times next school year. I want our children to be able to get adequate sleep and elementary students to walk safely to and from school. I also support sports and encourage you to adjust practice and game schedules so that all students, including athletes can benefit from later school start times.

I support the Mayor in recommending that one time funding of $2.3m be allocated to SPS to implement a district-wide two-tier bus schedule in the 2017-18 school year. I hope you will support this initiative.

Thank you,

Seattle parent

Send your email to these addresses:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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