Frequently Asked Questions: Start and End Times

General/Process Clarification

  1. Why are you looking at changing school start/end times now?
    The district is considering changing start times because the latest research on the adolescent brain shows that our students should be starting school at a later time. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that time should be after 8:30 a.m.

  2. What factors are you considering when making a decision?
    A number of key elements will be considered when making a decision regarding start and end times. The key elements to be considered are student learning and engagement, student safety, impact on families, operational efficiencies and transportation, as well as after school sports and activities.

  3. When can we expect a decision on the change of start times?
    Our School Start and End Times Team is currently studying the impact of the change of start times for our district. The team plans to make a recommendation to the school board in winter 2020.

  4. When would a change in times be implemented?
    The earliest a change would be implemented would be for the 2020-21 school year.

  5. Will changes affect all CK schools?
    If we decide to make a change of start times it may indeed impact all schools across our district.

  6. What was behind the decision for the current start times? Why do they start and end so early now? Why don’t high schools start the earliest?
    The current school start and end times were determined well before any research into appropriate start times for students. The times were likely based on transportation-related considerations.

  7. Why do some elementary schools start later than others?
    Some elementary schools start earlier than others because we are on a three-tier bus schedule. This schedule allows us to more efficiently accommodate transporting students to and from our schools.

  8. Can we switch the schedule so elementary schools start early and middle/high schools start later?
    We will be looking at the schedules for all our schools. Our goal is to make the best school start/end time decision for students of all ages.

  9. Can we do year-round school?
    Any decision to do year-round school would not be made by this study team.

  10. Can we stop doing early release?
    Any decision regarding early release Thursdays is not part of the work of this study team.

  11. Why can’t schools all start at the same time?
    We cannot transport all 8,000 students who ride our buses every day on one single start time.  We need to transport our students at different times because of the number of buses and routes that run for the school district.

  12. Why can’t you just start/end all schools one hour later?
    Starting all schools later is one of the possible options the committee will consider.

  13. Will the new CKHS and CKMS start at the same time like Klahowya?
    The new CK High School and CK Middle School will continue to start at different times. This staggered-start schedule is necessary in order to accommodate the shared spaces that are part of the building’s design.

  14. Will any changes affect Food Services?
    Our schools will continue to serve breakfast and lunch regardless of school start and end times. It is possible that the meal times could be adjusted based on a new start/end time schedule.

Child Care Considerations

  1. Will before/after school care programs adjust their hours to accommodate new school start/end times?
    Yes; we will work closely with our before and after school care providers to ensure they are able to accommodate new start and end times. They currently operate from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Those hours would remain constant.

  2. If elementary and middle schools end at the same time, will a safe/supervised place be made available for the children in families with kids at both to wait?
    During building hours, we always provide safe, supervised areas for the students in our schools. At the end of the day, our middle schools are generally open with supervision for 30 minutes after the last bell. This should provide enough time for middle school students to meet their rides. Our elementary schools will work with families on an individual basis to accommodate student pickup needs.

  3. Have you considered how this will affect families with older siblings who care for younger ones?
    The impact on families and older siblings caring for younger ones is one consideration as we work on school start and end times.

  4. Does the county have enough affordable, easy access childcare options if the new start/stop times prevent older children from caring for their younger siblings?
    We continue to work with local childcare providers to be sure they are aware of any changes and the possible impact to families. 

Opportunities for Middle and High School Students

  1. Will new middle/high school end times allow my child the option to play on local recreational teams outside of school?
    We expect any change to start/end times to still allow for students to play on recreational teams outside of school. We will be communicating and working with community programs regarding any change to our start times and end times that may impact their schedules.

  2. Will our times align with Running Start and West Sound Technical Skills Center classes?
    Currently students from a variety of districts with different start and end times attend Running Start and West Sound Tech. We would work with both to make sure any start time will work with their current schedules.

  3. Are you accounting for students who volunteer for Honor Society, play sports and have jobs? Starting later might prevent them from doing all the things they'd like to do.
    This team will consider after school activities like these as they analyze the impact of changing school start/end times.

  4. How does changing the school schedule affect valuable zero hour courses that are beneficial to students and that we want to keep?
    A change in the start time for the high school is not expected to impact whether the school district offers zero hour classes.

  5. With the recent changes in graduation requirements, are there any plans to increase the current school day from 6 periods to 7 periods? Currently, students are unable to take extra courses to help with college admissions and make them more competitive, while students who struggle academically have no "wiggle room" for passing classes.
    The scope of this team does not include consideration of extending the current school day from six to seven periods. However, the district is looking at ways to support students obtaining additional classes within the six period day environment.

  6. How will later start times affect working parent's drop off times? Many middle school parents are in the habit of dropping off kids early when they go to work. Is there or should there be some kind of accommodation for this? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of starting school later?
    The impact on families is a consideration the team is looking at as they study start and end times. If we do start school at a later start time, we do hope students would be able to sleep in more. However, we understand there may be needs that we accommodate, and we are considering this during our study.

  7. If schools start later, will there be an opportunity for after school and extra-curricular activities to occur before school rather than after?
    Activities that currently meet after school will most likely continue to meet after school. The intent is to allow teenagers more time to sleep in the morning; it would be counterproductive to schedule additional meetings or practices before school.

Impact on Athletic Programs

  1. How will a change affect sports, including practice times and competitions?
    The impact on sports and activities is a consideration the team is looking into while making this recommendation to the superintendent. It may mean starting activities and sports later in order to accommodate school end time.

  2. Will changing start times result in students missing more classes in the afternoons, especially for away games?
    It is possible that students will miss additional class time if sporting events do not change their start times. This is one of the factors the team is considering as they study start and end times.

  3. Will sixth graders have more after school sports options?
    Middle schools are always looking at ways to increase participation in extracurricular activities. This team will not specifically look at ways to increase those activities.

Student Health/Sleep Factors

  1. Why are older kids starting so early? How is this beneficial to their physiological and education growth?
    The latest research shows that  adolescent students should be sleeping in later than what our current start time schedule allows. That is a central reason for convening this team and examining start and end times across the district.

  2. Are early start times healthy for middle school students? Shouldn’t they start a little later and the high school students start earlier?
    The latest research shows that adolescents have a difficult time falling asleep before 11:00 p.m. That is a central reason for convening the School Start and End Times Team. Our hope is to align our start/end times to better match the latest research.

  3. If the data shows that high school kids would benefit from later start times, why wouldn't middle school kids?
    The latest research indicates that a later start time for all our secondary (middle and high) schools would be beneficial.

  4. Won't this mean that students will just stay up later in the evenings because school won't start until later in the morning?
    Research does not show this happens. A University of Washington study found that Seattle students slept 34 minutes more on average when they shifted start times. View more information on these findings.

  5. Why can’t teenagers just go to bed earlier so they can get up early?Research shows that adolescents need about 9.25 hours of sleep per night. Also, research shows there is a shift in sleep cycles due to developmental changes signaling the brain to feel sleepy. As a result, teenagers are generally unable to fall asleep before around 10:45 p.m. Their brains remain in a sleep mode until about 8:00 a.m.

  6. Are you basing the start times on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation?
    We are using the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation along with other research articles to guide our work.

  7. What does the research show for elementary aged students and sleep?Elementary students need between 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Their circadian rhythm allows them to go to bed and fall asleep earlier than the adolescent brain allows. Therefore, they can fall asleep early and get up early and still feel rested.

  8. Studies show teens need more sleep than they get. What can we do to help with that?
    The work of this team could be one means of helping teens get more sleep. Educating students and families about the benefits of sleep, as well as providing good sleep habits for students at home, are other ways we can help teens get the sleep they need.

Safety Concerns

  1. Klahowya sixth graders share a bus stop with seniors, out in the dark on many mornings: How can I ensure my child is safe around older children when I cannot be physically present?
    Safety will always be our district’s top priority. Educating our students about being safe at the bus stop (no matter the time of day) is one way to help keep students safe at bus stops. Communicating any concerns to your student’s principal or assistant principal also helps us provide safe school environments.

  2. Sixth graders are now going to middle school one year earlier than before. They are now walking to school and bus stops in the dark and often on top of that there are adverse weather conditions. How are you planning to keep them safe—especially as this is the time when most folks are rushing to work?
    Safety is our top priority at all times. To help keep students safe, we provide a list of safe walking routes on our website, and we ensure that our bus stops that are in safe locations for our students. 

Transportation Changes

  1. If you change the start time, will you broaden the bus route availability to accommodate parent work schedules that will now be impacted?
    If we do change the start time, our bus route timing will also change. This will allow us to transport students to and from school at the appropriate times. Any change to our bus schedules will be communicated well in advance in order to accommodate parent work schedules that may be impacted.

  2. Would you consider having all grades on buses so you'll have less location pick-ups?
    Due to logistics, we are not considering putting all grades on buses at the same time.