Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lake Washington School District evaluating course schedules and later start times

Weeks ago, Matt Manobianco, a Lake Washington School District superintendent e-mailed his "family" this video explaining a district task force's work to achieve 1) later start times and 2) increased flexibility in the high school course schedule. As you'll see in Mr. Manobianco's video the process is complicated, especially with the geographic challenges of our District.  So far, the District's been able to come up with three scheduling options all with 8:00 a.m. high school start times. 

Of interest, recent literature recommends "middle and high schools should aim for a start time no earlier than 8:30 a.m."

1)  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."

2)  A study published in Pediatrics about five months ago evaluated sleep patterns of adolescents, documenting why students may benefit from later start times. 

The Seattle School District, and I think Issaquah, Bellevue and North Shore districts have already implemented later start times.  If you didn't get Mr. Manobianco's e-mail and you or your neighbors want to give the District feedback, you can e-mail the school board at or message them at 425-936-1257. 

Bob Yoder

Note:  I'm not a member of the school district's "family" and stumbled upon Mr. Manobianco's e-mail on a Facebook post.  I personally think it would be best practice for the district to be all inclusive with their constituents on these matters.   

1 comment:

Bob Yoder said...


Please write a 4th option to study the impact of 8:30 a.m high school start times on scheduling flexibility. All the recent literature recommends high school start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for health and attendance reasons. Please aim for 8:30 a.m. or later start times.

Start times for Option 1 & 3 are: 8:30 a.m. for elementary, 9:00 a.m. for middle schools, and 8:00 a.m for high schools.

My wife differs, but of the three options, I prefer option 3 because the middle school start times are at 9:00 a.m. Studies have shown later start times benefit middle schoolers, as well -- and I believe five classes per day is more conducive to learning. The 100 minutes of homeroom time might give parents more flexibility for their schedules.

Option 3 Features are:  Adds 30 minutes to the high school day  School year divided into 3 trimesters  Provides for 5 classes per trimester  Provides students the chance to earn 7.5 credits per year, with 30 credits over 4 years  Provides for 130 instructional hours per credit  Provides schools with the flexibility to include up to 100 minutes of homeroom/tutorial time in the weekly schedule.

Option 1 is my second choice. Several of my neighbors with children feel the same.

Option 1 Features:
 Schedule Benefits/Opportunities
 Adds 25 minutes to the high school day
 Creates a 7th period
 Provides students the chance to earn 7 credits per year,
with 28 total credits over 4 years
 Provides for 135 hours of instruction per credit
 Provides schools with the flexibility to include up to 100
minutes of homeroom/tutorial time in the weekly

Thank you for your consideration.

Bob Yoder
Redmond Learning Community