Monday, November 21, 2016

The Lake Washington School District is considering later start times, task force formed

 ' Night Owls' May Face Special Challenges
Credit New York Times
A study published in Pediatrics this month evaluated sleep patterns of adolescents, further documenting why students suffer from early start times. All the recent literature recommends start times no earlier than 8:30 am. 

Presently Redmond, Eastlake, ICS and Tesla STEM all start at 7:30 a.m. Lake Washington High and Everson High start at 8 am. And, it can take well over 30 minutes to arrive at school requiring some students to wake as early as 5:45 a.m.

In 2015 the CDC reported that adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight (1); not engage in daily physical activity (2); suffer from depressive symptoms (2); engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs (2); and perform poorly in school (3). However, insufficient sleep is common among high school students, with less than one third of U.S. high school students sleeping at least 8 hours on school nights (4). In a policy statement published in 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged middle and high schools to modify start times as a means to enable students to get adequate sleep and improve their health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life (5). AAP recommended that "middle and high schools should aim for a starting time of no earlier than 8:30 a.m."

Kathryn Reith, LWSD Communications Director, says a Task Force is underway to study the problem. The Seattle School District, Issaquah, Bellevue and North Shore districts raised their start times.  If you want to push for later start times, e-mail: or the school board at  

Bob Yoder, opinion


Chris, Tracy, Helena, Beth and Harris said...

Agree with the scientific findings, our kids need adequate sleep. I hope the district implements the science and adjusts the times to start later.

Rajesh said...

Children need to be part of social life otherwise we are pushing the children to bed by 7:00 PM in the evening in order to make the early school. Doesn't make any sense. Later start is always better for the kids. We already suffer from 8:30 AM itself. My opinion is that it should be no earlier than 9:00 AM.

Bob Yoder said...

Band practice, sports and other pre-class activities compete for sleep as well.