By Annette Whelan
Is the Northshore School District high school start time of 7:10 a.m. too early?
NSD currently has the earliest high school bell time of any district in the region. , not to mention higher incidents of teen traffic accidents. These problems have been proven to be mitigated by later start times. Parent Advocates for a Later Start (PALS) was created in response to the very early start times of high schools in NSD. After studying the issue over the last three years, PALS has submitted several proposals to the school board demonstrating that there are ways of making modest transportation adjustments to achieve a later high school start time, all with very little or no additional cost. However, at the board meeting on March 27, the NSD school board voted to table discussion of later high school start times indefinitely.
Neighboring school districts, such as Lake Washington and Issaquah, have later high school start times between 7:30 – 8:00 a.m., and these districts have higher SAT scores than NSD, all the extracurricular programs and activities that NSD has and more, as well as students who succeed academically. With the current NSD high school start time of 7:10 a.m., our students have to get up at 5:45 or earlier in the morning; much earlier than students in neighboring districts. Could our NSD students achieve higher SAT scores and more if their high school start time was similar to Lake Washington and Issaquah, instead of the current start of 7:10 a.m.? Published studies show that they can.
Since the March 27 board meeting, PALS has had discussions with the school board. PALS feels a high school start time of 7:30 a.m. (20 minutes later than the current 7:10 a.m. start) may be within reach for the 2012-13 school year, with a goal of an 8:00 a.m. start in the future as things in the district fluctuate. However, the board wants to see overwhelming support from the NSD community on this change.
Please visit the PALS petition site at: http://www.change.org/petitions/northshore-school-board-start-high-school-later?share_id=kqhGNQKOEM&pe=d2e. If you support this later start, please sign the petition, and in the add a reason section please write: “Yes, I support a 7:30 high school start time for the 2012-13 school year, with the goal of an even later start in the future”. Students (13 years of age and over) are encouraged to sign the petition as well. For more information, please visit the PALS facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/112424038826467/