Welcome to Start School Later Issaquah, WA!
Bell Times Effective 2017-2018 School Year:
*The estimated start time for Grand Ridge elementary would be about 8:55 a.m. with dismissal time of about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday times will be similarly adjusted.
Start School Later Issaquah Chapter Leader Dea Barnett is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who understands the need for sleep. She is also a concerned parent, and has both professional and personal experience on how sleep deprivation negatively impacts physical and mental health, safety, and learning.
Start School Later Issaquah, WA (previously named Smarter Start Times for Issaquah Students) is dedicated to educating the local community and schools about the importance of sleep, and advocating for reasonable school start times.
The Issaquah School District serves the communities of Issaquah, Sammamish, parts of Bellevue, Renton, and Newcastle, WA. Washington state is home to five Start School Later chapters.
To find out more about our chapter or get involved, fill out the contact form on this page. Like our Facebook Page.
New Bell Times announced for the 2017-2018 school year
Superintendent Ron Thiele announced on November 10, 2016, that after receiving hundreds of emails and many months of community engagement, he has decided to implement the proposed bell time change (see schedule to the left) for the following school year. He believes that starting high schoools and middle schools thirty-five minutes later will benefit the health and safety of our students. He acknowledged the disappointment that some in the community voiced that the school district is not following the first scheduled proposed, which inverted elementary and secondary school schedules, and started our middle and high schools after 8:30, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, he believes that the new Bell Times "strike the right balance for our community and all of our unique geographic and traffic realities."
Click here to read his letter to the community:
Issaquah School District considered altering bell times as far back as 2003 because of concerns about teens needing more sleep. After studying the issue for over a year, the committee decided to not make any changes due to the expense of transportation.
Beginning again in September, 2014, following the publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Policy Statement on School Bell Times, parents in the District again voiced their concern. In April 2015, members of Start School Later Issaquah presented Superintendent Thiele and the School Board with a petition signed by over 1,500 people, requesting later start times for secondary students. In November and December 2015, Issaquah School District used the process of a Thought Exchange survey to gather information from the community regarding a new bell schedule. The proposed schedule involved flipping the elementary and secondary school schedules, with elementary 8:00-2:25, middle 9:10-3:35, and high 9:00-3:55. Unfortunately, this survey process did not provide any background information, and there was no process in place to educate parents, students, teachers, or the rest of the community regarding the science supporting the request for later start times for teens. It was clear from the responses that many people were unaware of the science and concerned about the impact of such a large (ninety minute) change in the schedule.
On March 1, 2016, Superintendent Ron Thiele announced that bell times would remain unchanged for the 2016-17 school year. He did agree, however, that our secondary start times are too early (7:25 for high schools), and planned to work with his administrative team "to develop a new proposal for community consideration that moves us closer to the recommended start times for secondary students with less impact to the elementary schedule. This alternate proposal must still be fiscally feasible and take into account our geographically large district with routes that require a minimum of one hour between elmentary and secondary bus runs."
Click here to view his open letter to the community about that decision.
He committed to having a new proposal ready by late spring of 2016 so that the community can provide input, allowing a decision to be made by early December 2016 for implementation in the 2017-18 school year.
In May 2016, Superintendent Thiele announced a more modest proposal, and followed up with three community meetings that included a brief presentation by a local sleep expert regarding the science of sleep and changes in teens' circadian rhythms. In October 2016 he reminded the community about the proposal and opened up a two week public comment period.
Click here for the Issaquah School District Bell Times Study webpage.