Seattle Public Schools New Bell Schedule For 2017-2018
The Seattle Public School system (SPS) has long advocated for the health of their students more than many other school districts across America. Initially, they did so by employing later start times after hearing recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, SPS is going a step further by implementing new bell schedules starting Fall 2017. Here’s why the switch is important and what you need to know before the school year begins:
How is this new bell schedule different?
For one, the school day for every student enrolled in SPS will be twenty minutes longer. This means that there will be more time for students and teachers to learn and collaborate together. Twenty extra minutes per day may not sound like much, but over the course of the school year those extra hours truly add up.
Of course, those extra twenty minutes have to come from somewhere. Previous school years operated under a three-tier bell schedule. This year, however, there will be a two-tier bell schedule, instead. By eliminating the third-tier, all students are ensured to begin school by 9:00 a.m., but no earlier than 7:55 in the morning.
Why the change?
Previously, Seattle Public Schools started at three different times (or tiers): 7:55 a.m., 8:45 a.m., and 9:35 a.m.
The problem was that working families found the 9:35 a.m. start time to be a significant hardship. Additionally, families with children in different schools with potentially 3-hours between school bells proved a logistical nightmare for many.
Family and student health is at the crux of the matter. Seattle School Board President Sue Peters noted that having three start times rather than two “may have been cost neutral for the district, but it was not cost neutral for our families.” With a $2.3 million grant from the city, the two-tier system will be a welcome change for many in the Seattle Public School system.
Other advantages of the change
Not only will twenty minutes be added to each school day, but each Wednesday students will be released 75-minutes early. This doesn’t negate the twenty extra instructional minutes each day, however. Rather, it gives both students and teachers the ability for more one-on-one time for students who want or need individualized instruction. Also, the extra time allows teachers more time with their colleagues for professional development, collaboration, and lesson planning.
There is widespread support for the change to a two-tier system. SPS surveyed more than 11,000 family members, teachers and staff, principals, and community partners who were quick to provide encouragement, feedback, and support for the new program.
What tier will my child or children be in?
Find a complete listing of finalized tiers on the Seattle Public Schools website. With just two tiers, your child(ren) will begin school at either 7:55 a.m. or 8:55 a.m. while ending at 2:25 p.m. or 3:25 p.m., respectively.
Are you in favor of the change? Let us know how it will affect you, for better or for worse. We look forward to hearing from you!