Alarm clock

The largest school district in Washington may soon move the start time for most of its schools to 9 a.m., one year after testing later start times for its older students.

Under the proposed plan, all middle and high schools, and most K-8 schools, at Seattle Public Schools would start classes at 9 a.m. The first bell at most elementary schools would ring at 8 a.m.

The changes, if approved, would be implemented in the 2017-18 school year.

This year, the start times are 7:55 a.m., 8:45 a.m. and 9:35 a.m.

Seattle's school board last year approved the 8:45 a.m. start time for most of its middle and high schools and some K-8 schools.

Early data show that the later start times for older students have led to increased attendance and less need for discipline.

A district-appointed task force studied the issue for seven months prior to last year's decision. It ultimately recommended an 8:30 a.m. start time for high schools, an 8 a.m. start for most elementary schools and a 9:40 a.m. start for middle school and K-8 students.

Seattle Public Schools, which serves about 55,000 students in its nearly 100 schools, is one of the largest districts in the nation where teenagers start classes later than 8:30 a.m.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends middle and high school classes start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to combat teenage sleep deprivation. 

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