See new West Seattle public-school ‘bell times,’ just finalized by the School Board

The Seattle School Board has approved the final revised list of “bell time” changes for next school year. First, the announcement, followed by the current and future times for all schools in this area:

The Seattle School Board voted 6-1 Wednesday evening, to adopt a Transportation Service Standard that would revise arrival and departure times for the 2016-17 school year. The changes to bell times will authorize the superintendent to implement the cost-neutral plan as recommended by the Board, allowing minor modifications as necessary for implementation. Additionally, the district reviewed recent community feedback and made the following adjustments:

· Change #1: Adjust all tiers 5 minutes earlier
· Change #2: Add a modification that allows the Superintendent to decrease the number of 3rd Tier schools if “actual routing during spring 2016” can adjust schools while maintaining the no cost option. We will be asking for schools to volunteer to be considered (through the principals) as we realize this may be considered disruptive by school communities and they may not wish to go through this process. Any changes would be announced prior to the end of the school year.

The recommendation reflects Seattle Public Schools’ extensive community and stakeholder outreach over the past year. This is in response to a resolution approved by the School Board in March of 2014 in response to ongoing discussions between School Boards and Superintendents since 2008, around the benefits of shifting to later start times for adolescents.

“We will become the largest district in the country to make this switch, and hopefully we will set a trend,” said Board Director Sharon Peaslee. “This is a historic moment.”

The Resolution directed the Superintendent to determine feasibility, costs, impacts and logistics of shifting to later start times for adolescents, for implementation in the 2016-2017 school year, while continuing to simplify the transportation standards and align them with the Student Assignment Plan. The Bell Time Analysis is the outcome of this directive.

Transportation costs will increase in 2016/17 due to enrollment growth, boundary changes and Special Education program service updates. That amount is estimated to be $182,500.00.

It’s a big change for many local schools. From the citywide list in the last pages of this district document, here are the West Seattle times, now and next year (note that these are the actual start/end times, not the bus arrival/depart times that bookend them in the doc, and also remember that “this year” refers to this school year (2015-2016), while “next year” refers to next school year):


Chief Sealth International HS
*This year – 8:40-3:10
*Next year – 8:45-3:15

West Seattle High School
*This year – 7:50-2:20
*Next year – 8:45-3:15


Denny International MS
*This year – 7:50-2:20
*Next year – 7:55-2:25

Madison MS
*This year – 7:50-2:20
*Next year – 8:45-3:15


Louisa Boren K-8 STEM
*This year – 9:30-3:40
*Next year – 9:35-4:05

Pathfinder K-8
*This year – 8:40-3:10
*Next year – 8:45-3:15


*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

Arbor Heights (at Boren this year, new building next year)
*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

*This year – 9:30-3:40
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

Fairmount Park
*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

Highland Park
*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

*This year – 9:30-3:40
*Next year – 9:35-3:45

*This year – 9:30-3:40
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

*This year – 9:30-3:40
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

Schmitz Park
*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

West Seattle
*This year – 8:40-2:50
*Next year – 7:55-2:05

It’s been four years since a district transportation-plan change pushed Concord, Lafayette, Roxhill, and Sanislo to 9:30 am start times; we covered Sanislo’s fight against it. Now, three of the four will be moved to the district’s near-universal 7:55-2:05 elementary schedule – all except for Lafayette.

56 Replies to "See new West Seattle public-school 'bell times,' just finalized by the School Board"

  • candrewb November 19, 2015 (5:56 am)

    Apologies if this has been answered to death, but I have never paid attention. Why are the start times so different between the same type of schools in the same district?

  • john November 19, 2015 (7:02 am)

    This makes no sense what so ever. My middle schooler goes an hour later and my elementary schooler an hour earlier! Our school board is whacked.

  • bsmomma November 19, 2015 (7:29 am)

    I am so disappointed with this.

  • AmandaKH November 19, 2015 (7:46 am)

    There are studies that show high schoolers should start later, but are there studies that show elementary schoolers should start earlier? This is how I became a latch key kid at 8 years old.

  • Tomas November 19, 2015 (8:09 am)

    Up until now the start time at Arbor Heights was going to be 9:45 or so, now it’s going to be 7:55…Denny Middle and Chief Selth only change by 5 minutes…. Clearly this has more to do with transportation costs than benefit to the kids.

  • Mark November 19, 2015 (8:18 am)

    I think this is a big win for kids. There is a mountain of research that shows that this is the right direction. This will obviously send ripples throughout peoples schedules and lives, and many will need to come up with new ways to work with this.

    But we’re tough and smart and resilient, and we’ll find a way. We always do.

    That said, I think you Lafayette peeps have a legitimate beef, and I’d rally the troops and see what can be done. There are other elementary schools in the same boat, so be sure you pull them into the conversation, as the many is stronger than the few.

  • Bonnie November 19, 2015 (8:18 am)

    candrewb, the reason some of the start times are different (STEM, Lafayette) is because of busing. In order to save money the school district has a 3 tier bus system and some schools get the raw end of the deal and have a very late start/end time because of it.

  • Scott November 19, 2015 (8:21 am)

    The Seattle School Board dropped the ball on this. I say we as parents make our own start times. Lets just drop them off at what we think should be the start time. Call it a time strike. Why in the world would them make my next year 1st grader start at 7:55 a.m. that is just ridiculous. Do you know at what time I would need to start getting him up and putting him to bed. What research would ever state this is the best time for a kid that age.

    I say revolt, stand up, and revolt. If we want change we need to make it ourselves.

  • NotOnHolden November 19, 2015 (8:58 am)

    Oh boy, our highschoolers and middle schoolers get one hour but still early. STEM kids won’t be getting home until about 4:30 or so. That blows. Woah, actually looked, so Denny and Sealth got the shaft on that later start time that is oh so important. This is total bs and the SPS Board only used this study to screw around with times and move money around re buses.

  • Laura November 19, 2015 (9:20 am)

    Yes! Mom of two and I love this research based improvement!

  • Lafayette Dad November 19, 2015 (9:34 am)

    Does this “research based improvement” explain why Lafayette Elementary gets pushed back to 9:35am when all the other WS elementary schools start at 7:55am? Where is the logic or consistency? Where is the consideration of working parents and their expense to deal with before school programs? This change has little to do with helping these kids and everything to do with transportation logistics and money.

  • Huindekmi November 19, 2015 (9:37 am)

    The new bell times save no money and don’t even achieve the goals from the “mountain of research”, which in reality is a handful of contradictory studies. This whole boondoggle has been a waste of funds that could have been better used to fund more teachers and keep class sizes down.

  • Margo November 19, 2015 (9:42 am)

    I’m having trouble believing that this is “research” based, when the American Association of Pediatrics states that middle school shouldn’t begin earlier than 8:30, yet Denny starts a whopping 5 minutes later, at 7:55. Frustrating.

  • but what about other research? November 19, 2015 (9:47 am)

    Hey Laura and any other parent who supports the conclusions of the Board:

    I am curious what your take is on the vast, vetted scientific literature establishing a relationship between blue-light computer-screen exposure and interrupted sleep cycles? How will the students deal with the sleeplessness from the computer exposure? WIll the school be installing protective software or screens?

    Because this schedule, ultimately, is a hella big disruption for zero gain.

    Thoughts? Conclusions? Other Research you can point to? TIA

  • D November 19, 2015 (10:05 am)

    The District acknowledges that earlier start times benefit elementary school students so they’re changing all the elementary school start times. That way all kids will benefit from a better learning environment. Except for children that attend Lafayette. As a lawyer, I’d take that case.

  • sam-c November 19, 2015 (10:08 am)

    This is so ridiculous. I thought the whole conversation about changing start times was based on studies that showed late middle and high school age student should sleep later. But the (2) high school start times only changed by 5 minutes. Clearly the sleep thing was really the school board’s red herring for reducing costs for transportation services…

    • WSB November 19, 2015 (10:46 am)

      This is a change for West Seattle High School, starting almost an hour later. Chief Sealth was already starting later because of the co-located campus – if you weren’t here for all the controversy that preceded the building of Denny/Sealth, one requirement for reasons including traffic was for the two schools to have some separation in start times, and that’s how it worked out.

  • Admiral mom November 19, 2015 (10:35 am)

    What a mess. My two elementary school kids will have to cross the city to get to school at 7:55 while my high schooler will need to get to school 50 minutes early so her middle school sister makes it on time. I don’t even want to think about it.

  • Scott November 19, 2015 (10:58 am)

    Again I say lets REVOLT. Lets protest and bring our kids at a normal time not the ridiculous times the School board thinks. If the majority of parents did this they would have to change. If teachers can strike to get what they want than parents should be able to do the same thing.

  • sam-c November 19, 2015 (11:11 am)

    Oh, hah you’re right. F for me on reading comprehension. I was looking at Chief Sealth and Denny mainly, I guess

  • shihtzu November 19, 2015 (11:14 am)

    Well I love the new schedule. Of course Lafeyette and STEM should be earlier, but I for one am thrilled to start earlier!

  • NotOnHolden November 19, 2015 (11:22 am)

    It’s okay, I missed it at first an actually thought Sealth and Denny were getting a benefit of this study and changed times…this is such complete garbage.

  • nate November 19, 2015 (11:26 am)

    It is a complete joke to have Lafayette E.S. starting at 9:35.
    Without before-school care, working parents cannot get to work before 10:00am. Where else in the country is that acceptable?

  • Bill November 19, 2015 (11:38 am)

    What a bunch of micro-managed complete BS — what ever happened to 8:10 am to 3:10 PM — was that way all the way through K-12 years ago when the kids actually learned real stuff instead of a bunch of psycho-babble and touchie feelie stuff that used to be left behind in Kindergarten. Too many ‘administrators — researching and researching – next year they will have research telling them to do the opposite of what they are doing this year. The school system seems to be run by complete fools!
    On second thought: Get rid of busing — a total waste of diesel fuel –

    Then on third thought – just buy every kid a new I-phone every year and just tell them all to stay home!

    • WSB November 19, 2015 (1:29 pm)

      SPS – Blanford was the no vote, according to Melissa Westbrook’s site
      Bill – (a) they don’t do nearly as much busing as they used to. (b) You joke, but there are good online options … if your kid is something of a self-starter. Our kid did 7th and 8th grade online before going back into SPS for high school, and it was the ultimate schedule solution … he is an extreme night owl and during those years slept extremely late and started his schoolwork in the afternoon. – TR

  • steve November 19, 2015 (11:50 am)

    Coming from someone who was just in these areas of schooling in the past couple decades. I would say that most of these start times are agreeable to me.

    Scott: I highly recommend not dropping your kids off late, nothing is worse than being a truancy child. If you think that these start times will be a problem then talk with the school district and/or get people to sign petitions; but don’t do something that is going to affect your children.

    Admiral mom: Your highschooler/middle schooler should be able to find their own ways to school by now, instead of you driving them?

    These are all pretty relaxed starting times in the end scheme though. My middle school (not in this city) started at 7:30 while my highschool started at 7:10. All I can say is just give it a try, it may impact parents but it could be beneficial for your children and parenthood is about your children not yourself. After skimming through comments and reading some of the problems some of you have explained, there’s easy ways around them. Just imagine some of this as practice getting your kids ready for college where commutes actually are a Pita.

  • Spsucks November 19, 2015 (12:25 pm)

    Middle finger emoji to you Seattle school board thanks for making it harder on working families with these late start times for K8 stem and others that have these rediculos schedules. I’m with Scott I’ll be dropping my kid off at school early as protest. Who voted against

  • lovey911 November 19, 2015 (12:36 pm)

    As the parent of a 4th grader and high schooler I feel K-8 children need just as much sleep as teens. If you think teens will use this new found time wisely and get more sleep you are kidding yourself, they will just slide their schedules a little later. Every generation before now survived high school just fine without a later start. In addition, I don’t appreciate SPS gambling with my child’s safety and health by creating a situation where they will now have to walk home alone in the cold and rain because I will not be able to pick them up. Unhappy mom.

  • Scott November 19, 2015 (12:38 pm)

    “nothing is worse than being a truancy child” My child will be in first grade and therefore, would not be a truancy child. Really you are dating yourself when you say truancy.

  • Damn November 19, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    As a Lafayette parent, I was concerned. Then I was bummed. Now I am angry. They are messing with people’s lives here in a big way.

  • WSMama November 19, 2015 (12:57 pm)

    Those of you complaining about STEM having such a late start time why not go back to your neighborhood school? You chose STEM.

  • Mom4 November 19, 2015 (1:09 pm)

    While I am happy for the high schoolers that need more rest these little kid elementary age are going to be lucky to make it to school dressed & with breakfast in their bellies on time! Almost an hour earlier is more than going to ripple. While great for working famies these little kids aren’t awake yet!! You say they will adjust but mine already go to bed at 7/7:30 and get up at 7/7:30……I feel in the long run this is best for a small group and not all. It’s also based off busing and cost savings not what’s good for kids and families. BOO!

  • Westseamom November 19, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    With a middle schooler and high schooler in our household, I’m thrilled SPS made this change. The late start time is the right move for my kids and their biology. They are responsible for getting themselves to school and now they have a little more time to do it.

  • David November 19, 2015 (1:29 pm)

    I guess I will have to find a job that fits around my children’s school schedule. Perhaps with more rest they won’t need groceries, a place to sleep or transportation on a dark cold windy afternoon.

  • disappointed November 19, 2015 (1:34 pm)

    Absurd. We’ve all been teenagers and getting up in the morning is tough. More entitled BS with the stamp of approval from pediatrician and parents. 15 minutes doesn’t make a difference. Maybe if the public achools were more interested in educating the kids I’d feel better.

  • sam-c November 19, 2015 (1:41 pm)

    I can understand the frustration of school starting at 9:30ish- that would be difficult for our family to manage. We do not go to Lafayette, but in regards to all of the extreme comments on here about Lafayette… Lafayette is only changing 5 minutes. Don’t people ALREADY have to make that 9:30ish time work? It’s not like it’s switching from 7:50 to 9:35. Were there hopes that Lafayette was going to be revised to an earlier time through this change? Not trying to argue, just trying to understand the anger over 5 minutes if you have to deal with a 9:30 time already.

  • Jon Wright November 19, 2015 (1:55 pm)

    Glad to see we’re making steps in the right direction of setting school start times that are appropriate to the physiology of the different age groups. The unfortunate constraint was keeping transportation cost neutral. Let’s work on figuring out how to fund whatever additional transportation expense would allow the district to eliminate the compromises they had to make like the late starts for Lafeyette and STEM.

  • nate November 19, 2015 (1:57 pm)

    WSMama – really, what is your point? Parents shouldn’t choose STEM because?

    I have a concern that parents will be dissuaded from enrolling their children at STEM due to the logistical challenges of a 9:35 start time.
    I appreciate the value that people educated in STEM bring to our society, and I like being in a school district that encourages this course of study.
    Every time that I drive across the West Seattle Bridge I’m appreciative of civil engineers.

  • Admiral mom November 19, 2015 (2:04 pm)

    @Steve, thank you for the suggestion, I will look into that.
    I realize it is hard to make everybody happy, this just sucks.

  • Westside November 19, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    Personally, I think this is great. I am a little confused by the people commenting about Lafayette and STEM like this is a huge mistake. Aren’t these essentially the existing start times for those schools? If the status quo had been maintained, would there still have been this discontent? Or is it the fact that everyone else got changed and they didn’t?

  • Jay November 19, 2015 (3:15 pm)

    The potential cost increase estimate is one thing that makes me incredibly angry. When I saw a US school bus for the first time a few years back, I thought it was a collector vehicle. It is absolutely crazy that a school bus, carrying our beloved children is not only ancient (and that’s an understatement) in technology, they are absolutely unsafe by any standard as well. The typical school bus in the 21st century in any part of the world is much better advanced and energy/emission efficient than those yellow soot slinging, diesel eating sheet metal trucks with 2nd world war technology. And they have the audacity to tell us about an increase in transportation cost…?As it is typical in our Country, always look at the problem itself, but never at the root.

  • Lafayette Parent November 19, 2015 (3:27 pm)

    Lafayette parents are upset about the change because our kids already start ridiculously late. Five minutes later may not seem like a lot to some people, but my wife is already pushing the limits of how late she can get to work every day and now we have to look into the possibility of adding before-school care next year. I still cannot understand why the school board decided to push Lafayette start times back even more when EVERY OTHER elementary school in WS starts at 7:55am! Where is the logic or consistency around these choices? Where is the concern for working families that have to adjust their schedules and pay for additional before-school care (as well as after-school care). I think the board put way more thought into transportation logistics and financial concerns than into what is best for our kids.

  • WS Mom November 19, 2015 (4:44 pm)

    What time do your elementary kids go to bed? My kid goes to bed around 8:30 and gets 10 hours of sleep which I hear is appropriate for his age (8).

    Just curious…

  • not the same November 19, 2015 (5:05 pm)

    It’s pretty obvious from these comments and if you stop to think about someone else but yourself — that families have different situations and different needs. There is no one-size-fits-all. Impossible for the school board to please everyone.

    I have had two children at Lafayette and I’m a working mom. I personally am fine with the late start time. For those that work full-time, you either pay for morning care or pay for afternoon care (or both for that matter). Work starts at 8:00 for a lot of people — that means a drop off at 7:00 or earlier if you have to drive through traffic. So I don’t see how moving the school start time to 7:55 would really help in that situation.

    In the end, it’s the same number of hours per day that your child is at school and you have to find a way to cover the rest of your work day.

  • NightOwlMama November 19, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    While it will be tough for me personally to adjust to getting up 45 minutes earlier to get my 3 elementary students (and myself) to school at 7:55, I gotta say I’m excited to gain some afternoon time. This will make it easier to fit in afterschool activities or sports practices (maybe in the daylight???) as well as a family meal at the end of the day. I know I’m lucky that I work school hours, for the most part, and am able to cover the afternoon hours myself with my kids. And that I have early risers. My kids wake by 6:15am 7 days a week, so this will not impact their sleep. I am sorry for tier 3 schools though, I wish SPS would insist the state fully fund education so that they would perhaps not feel the pressure to skimp so much on transportation.

  • Frustrated mom and teacher November 19, 2015 (9:03 pm)

    If it’s really about the research, its probably best that all kids start around the 8:40 start time so why not put the funding into the bussing to make that happen and make cuts in the salaries of the people making these decisions for us. We pay them enough in taxes to mismanage our money.

  • staff November 19, 2015 (10:29 pm)

    I totally get that change is hard. Especially when it’s forced on you.
    Our elementary school currently starts at 9:30 this year and gets out at 3:40. The best part of a kid’s day is first thing in the morning and so when they have been up for two hours waiting for school to start, that’s two hours of prime learning time they’ve lost. I am very excited to start at 7:55. I am interested in whether or not this will affect academic progress for our students.
    In my opnion elementary school aged children should go to bed by 8:00 PM. This means starting the bedtime routine by 7:30.
    Scott – Truancy is a current term
    used in educational institutions everwhere and yes, first graders can be truant. But worse, they become stigmatized when they disrupt the instruction day after day by coming to school tardy.
    I feel for Lafayette and STEM. How is it right that research shows the times should be changed, but not for them?
    WSB – Why is it that STEM is starting 5 minutes later next year and dismissal is 25 minuts later? Do you have the times right?

  • Rick November 20, 2015 (5:01 am)

    My studies show that studies show that studies have shown that all forms of social engineering are necessary. If you don’t believe my self-righteous sanctimonious self you are to be shamed. Time to hobble off to the salt mines to support those who have spoken. And this ain’t just about schools. Aaahhh, better now.

  • Bonnie November 20, 2015 (7:24 am)

    The extra half hour for STEM is because they are now a K-8 school and they have a longer day.

  • Scott November 20, 2015 (8:35 am)

    Again a first grader is not truancy and there is not a stigma. We are talking about a first grader not a MS or HS. Get real.

    Again parents I say if you want change we must take our own action and strike to get what we want. If teachers can strike we can do it to get what we want.

    Seattle Schools is a joke and the people they have are too. And you wonder why they have budget problems and other problems.

  • The thing is... November 20, 2015 (9:44 am)

    Here’s the issue many at Lafayette have. Yes, we already start late and it’s “only 5 minute later” for next year. Most workplaces don’t really care what works for you. They care about having employees who can get the job done when it is needed. It’s already tricky to get to work by 10am with our current schedule. Even a mere five minutes is going to exacerbate that problem. For many, this creates the need for both before and after school care. We really don’t have a choice. It’s our neighborhood school assignment.

  • FullTimeWorker November 20, 2015 (1:55 pm)

    Everyone just stop assuming all families are in the same situation, please. I’m particularly irked by the comments about appropriate bedtimes for the elementary kids. Have you considered that there are homes with parents that BOTH work full-time (shocking!) and that maybe they don’t get home from work until 6 or 7 pm (the kids are in afterschool care)– then would have to make dinner, oversee way too much homework, spend some quality time with their kids — all before 8:00?? Forget about an 8:00 bedtime or even any afterschool activities for that matter. There are not enough hours to do all that. For those families, a later start time sometimes works better. Just one example of how all families are not all the same. Try to consider that before preaching. Thank you.

  • Momof8yearold November 20, 2015 (5:40 pm)

    We are at STEM and both my husband and I have to be at work at 8am – similar to many other working families. The 9:20am start time was already hard, and we were thrilled to learn that in the draft proposal of the bell times STEM would be moved back to 8am.

    24 hours before the vote we were told that we would be switched to Tier 3, and our start time would remain the same or be later. That gave us no time to mobilize or to explain the impact on our families.

    Most of our kids are elementary kids. They are up between 6-7am. And, now they don’t start school until 2 1/2 hours later, and get out at 4:05pm? They won’t get home off the bus until just before dinner time? That’s absurd!!

    I agree – using the “bell time studies” to make these busing changes was just a red herring to save money.

  • AmazedbySelfishness November 24, 2015 (11:03 pm)

    People, it’s not about YOU and the changes you will have to make (oh the pain!). It’s about what is best for our students. Adjust! You will be fine!

  • NoLongerAamzedByIgnoranceAndSelfSDelusion December 3, 2015 (11:14 am)

    Amazed, I bet you are amazed by many things. like shiny ‘science’ that says High School kids’ brains start an hour later.

    But I doubt many if any people care about the change to times to the high school schedule. Except high school kids, few of which I imagine are happy about getting out later.

    How could anyone look at these changes though and not be outraged by the earlier start times for young children? Unless you have a stay-at-home parent or are wealthy enough to afford a nanny, than you are totally screwed by this. I thought from the beginning this was the result of a childcare lobbying group.

    Our options are 1. Move. 2. wife quits her low-paying job, sabotaging her career development. 3. we go into deeper debt to afford the extra child care.

    And the impact will be that much worse once one has a child in elementary and one in a middle school that starts an hour or more later.

    Only an amazingly selfish and privileged parent would not be reeling from the impact of the change.
    How dare you.

Sorry, comment time is over.