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    Bell Time Analysis and Implementation Timeline

    Research has shown that teenagers may benefit from later start times with more sleep, better health, increased academics and improved truancy rates.

    Part 1: The Feasibility Study

    November 2014 through November 2015

    The feasibility study was organized into three phases to answer three questions that could only be answered with extensive public outreach.

    Phases 1 sought to answer the question: Should the district change school start times to support later arrival for adolescents?

    From November 2014 through August 2015, the district reviewed sleep research, case studies of other schools and districts having studied or changed bell times (benchmarking against Council of Great City Schools), and conducted an analysis of District operations. Nearly 29,000 people responded to surveys in Phase 1.

    The Race Equity Toolkit was used to guide decision-making, and data was disaggregated for the purposes of an equity analysis.

    Key Findings:

    • Significant support for changing bell times, specifically the modified flip option
    • Primary concerns with before/after-school activities (e.g. childcare, athletics); this concern showed up more in the equity analysis as data was disaggregated

    Phase 1 information was presented to the School Board on August 26, 2015.

    The Board asked for a bell times schedule that met the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for later arrival times for adolescents (8:30 am), addressed equity concerns, and provided a cost neutral option.

    Phase 2 sought to answer the question: "Using Phase 1 information, what should the district-wide bell time look like for the 2016-17 school year?"

    The Superintendent’s Final Draft Recommendation was presented to the community for review and input September-October, 2015.

    This provided a “first look” at what a district-wide bell schedule might look like. Around 2,000 people responded, from community meetings and e-mails; 12 elementary PTAs and two community based organizations also participated.

    Approximately 40 school leaders and 20 central office administrators provided operational considerations.

    Key Findings:

    • Concerns over Title 1 schools starting too late in Tier 3
    • Concerns of Elementary and Middle School schools starting in Tier 3
    • Maximizing the number of schools in Tiers 1 and 2 should be a priority

    Phase 3 sought to answer "Using Phase 1 and 2 feedback, what is the best school district wide bell time schedule for the district?"

    The Superintendent’s Final Recommendation to the Board of Directors included the following planning assumptions: Meet AAP recommendation; prioritize Title 1 programs to earlier tiers to support equity considerations; maximize the number of schools in Tiers 1 and 2; be cost neutral.

    Phase 3 began October 13, 2015 with publication for the Operations Committee; final input was accepted through November 2nd.

    The District received 1103 unique emails from the public related to the proposed bell time change, as well as feedback from 40 Principals on a proposed 5 minute earlier shift of the proposed start/end times.

    Part 2: Implementation and Mitigation

    December 2015-September 2016

    The District will be engaging Schools, Community-based Organizations (CBOs), District departments/programs, School Board, City of Seattle departments and school communities to begin the important planning and analysis phase of implementation.

    With changes set for the 2016-17 school year, it is important the District review potential affects (positive and/or negative) to existing and proposed operations and programs to ensure a smooth transition to the new bell times and maximize schedules for students and school communities.


    January 2016 Phase 4: Developing the Voluntary Opt In List

    February - April 2016 Phase 5: Refine Impact and Mitigation Analysis

    April - June 2016 Phase 6: School Option Analysis and Mitigation Selection

    June – August 2016 Phase 7: Refine and Implement Mitigation Strategies

    September 2016 Phase 8: Implement Bell Time Changes w/ Monitoring and Remediation of Issues