To: Seattle School Board And Superintendent

Later Start Times for Secondary Students of Seattle

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Considerable research confirms the relationship between school start times, sleep deprivation, and student performance, truancy, and absenteeism, as well as depression, mood swings and impulse control. Mounting evidence about the biology of adolescent sleep, and about the impact of later start times, shows that starting school early not only undermines academic achievement but endangers health and safety. Data from later starting schools such as Nathan Hale High School corroborate national findings in demonstrating improvements in tardiness, absenteeism and performance. Saving money on transportation costs does not outweigh the damage done to the physiological and psychological functioning of middle and high school students. To improve the learning ability of students we call on the Seattle School Board and Seattle Public School District to schedule transportation and start times so that no middle or high school in our district start earlier than 8:30 am.

Why is this important?

Early start times jeopardize academic achievement, mental health and the safety of teens. The impact falls hardest on struggling students. We urge SPS to maintain the benefits to health and learning that have been gained by middle and high school students having later starts as of 2017, and not make changes to bell times that would have any secondary student start school prior to 8:30 am.