• School Start Times Advisory Committee

    As part of the 2017-18 Strategic Plan, the District launched a committee in the fall of 2017, to begin studying the potential benefits and feasibility of adjusting start times for Snoqualmie Valley schools — for possible implementation of changes starting the 2018-19 school year. A committee of teachers, parents, and administrators began meeting twice a month in September; below, see updates posted following the committee meetings. The review process will include opportunity for community input into this complex topic. Watch for an online survey in early December.


    The Charge of the Committee:

    • To review the research findings regarding adolescent biorhythms and school success;
    • To review the experiences of other school districts that have adopted later start and dismissal times or considered doing so but did not;
    • To identify the implications of later start times and dismissal times for high school programming and activities and for school and district operations;
    • To implement outreach strategies to gather the thinking of school and community stakeholder groups;
    • To consider the potential benefits to students, the input received, and the implications of later start and dismissal times;
    • To determine whether there are feasible solutions to enact later start and dismissal times for secondary schools; and
    • To submit findings and recommendations to the superintendent for consideration.


    School Start Times Advisory Committee members:

    • Mark Allen, CKMS Assistant Principal
    • Tanya Alter, CKMS Secretary
    • Selena Fassler, OES/NBES Teacher
    • Jim Frazier, CVES Principal
    • Jim Garhart, District Transportation Director
    • Jason Goldstein, Parent
    • Heather Hamerly, Bus Driver
    • Greg Hart, MSHS Associate Principal
    • Jeff Hogan, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
    • Julie Lagace, CKMS Teacher
    • Carolyn Malcolm, Public Information Officer
    • Daniel McCafferty, TFMS Teacher
    • Vernie Newell, MSHS Freshman Campus Associate Principal
    • April Pacholski, Parent
    • Rene Price, Parent
    • David Ramseyer, MSHS Teacher
    • Ryan Stokes, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations
    • Dan Schlotfeldt, Executive Director of Elementary Education
    • Nate Ziemkowski, SES Teacher


    School Start Time Advisory Committee

    School Start Times Advisory Committee


    Updates will be added chronologically below, leading with the most recent developments:


    Meeting #11 January 7, 2019

    The School Start Advisory Committee held their eleventh meeting on Monday, January 7, 2019. After reviewing the committee charge, group norms, and the decision making model, co-facilitators Assistant Superintendents Jeff Hogan and Ryan Stokes provided a brief recap of some of the work that has been undertaken by the committee over the course of the last 15 months, which includes:

    • Studying the latest on Adolescent Sleep Research
    • Reviewing SVSD students tardiness, absenteeism, graduation rates, and Healthy Youth Survey results
    • Exploring the implications of later start times on students (jobs, extra-curricular activities, traffic impacts, etc…)
    • Conducting two stakeholder surveys in conjunction with Hanover Research
    • Studying local school district trends (primarily East King County) on high school start and dismissal times
    • Reviewing the geographic challenges unique to SVSD and the differences between one tier, two tier and three tier transportation systems (SVSD has a two tier system)
    • An update on the regional shortage of school bus drivers
    • Updates to the school board
    • Maintaining an up-to-date web site on the work of the committee

    After the recap, a transportation update was provided regarding a question that surfaced at the previous meeting. The question revolved around whether the return to three middle schools in fall of 2019 (with the re-opening of Snoqualmie Middle School) might create efficiencies and shorten the turnaround time between secondary and elementary bus runs, making it possible to start secondary schools 20 minutes, or 8:00 a.m. without impacting the dismissal times at the elementary level.

    Unfortunately, the SVSD Transportation has indicated that this was not possible. The current dismissal times of elementary and secondary bus runs, only provides a 52-minute gap after pickup at secondary schools and drop off those students, before buses must make their way to the elementary school for pickups. Changing secondary school start times to 8:00 a.m. would push elementary dismissal times to 3:46 p.m., which many committee members were uncomfortable with given the stakeholder survey results.

    Committee members spent the next hour discussing the importance of trying to find a way to make a shift to later start times, while also agonizing over the seemingly insurmountable obstacles with transportation logistics, costs, and lack of clear direction from the two Stakeholder Surveys.

    Near the end of the meeting, a motion was made to recommend to the Superintendent “no changes” to school start times for the 2019-20 school year. After further discussion, the recommendation was amended to include that the District should continue to prioritize moving to later start times for secondary students in the future, in the event that solutions to some of the transportation logistics problems be resolved.
    Amended motion carried unanimously, and the meeting was adjourned.


    Meeting #10 October 10, 2018

    The committee spent most of the meeting reviewing the comprehensive results from the second school start time survey administered in the spring of 2018. Survey data indicates there is still significant community interest in moving to later secondary start times (if elementary start times and end times are not significantly impacted), but actual support for the two options presented on the survey, was fairly evenly split. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided to delay holding another meeting until the committee can gather additional information from the SVSD Transportation Department. The key information the committee is seeking is whether the return to three middle schools in the fall of 2019 will “shorten” the turnaround times between the secondary runs and elementary bus runs, which would reduce the impact on elementary start and end times. The School Start Time Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet again on January 7, 2019.


    Meeting #9 April 19, 2018

    The committee reviewed the preliminary results from the School Start Times Survey #2. The final, more detailed report is expected from Hanover Research by June. Similar to the first survey, the feedback in survey #2 was very mixed, with no clear favorite option emerging. In addition, there remains concerns about transportation routing challenges in the district as to whether feasible changes can be identified that will best serve all students. Consequently, the committee voted unanimously to make "no changes" to school start time schedules for the 2018-19 school year. The committee also voted to reconvene in the fall to review the final report from Hanover, to determine if additional information and the fact that the district will be transitioning from two to three middle schools in fall of 2019, may warrant further study or consideration.


    School Start Times Survey #2 – March 23-April 6, 2018

    The District worked with Hanover Research to launch the second School Start Times survey to solicit feedback on two potential options, from students, staff, parents and community members. The survey began Friday, March 23 and will close Friday, April 6.

    In no particular order, the two options include:

    • Elementary school: 9:25 a.m. to 3:46 p.m. -- Middle school: 8:00 a.m. to 2:54 p.m. -- High school: 8:00 a.m. to 2:39 p.m.
    • Elementary school: 8:00 a.m. to 2:21 p.m. -- Middle school: 9:15 a.m. to 4:09 p.m. -- High school: 9:15 a.m. to 3:54 p.m.

    For context, the current SVSD schedule is:

    • Elementary School: 9:05 a.m. to 3:26 p.m. -- Middle School: 7:40 a.m. to 2:34 p.m. -- High School: 7:40 a.m. to 2:19 p.m.


    Meeting #8 February 15, 2018

    The committee has since learned that a couple of the original options are not feasible, due to a combination of transportation logistics, increased costs, and more staffing needed. Therefore, the group focused this meeting on reviewing and finalizing a draft of a second survey to gather input on two potential options.


    Meeting #7 January 25, 2018

    The committee continued to review and analyze the results of the School Start Times Survey.



    Meeting #6 December 14, 2017

    A brief update on the three tier transportation modeling was provided by Assistant Superintendent Ryan Stokes. The VersaTrans consultant is hoping to have a preliminary report available by mid-January. The remainder of the meeting was spent reviewing the preliminary results of the Start Time Survey as provided by Hanover Research. It is anticipated that the final comprehensive report on the survey will be available sometime in January.



    School Start Times Survey #1 – November 28-December 12

    A survey was launched on Monday, November 28 to seek input from staff, students and parents regarding school start times. The survey will close December 12.

    For reference, the survey will ask people to consider four potential sequencing options. Please note that the exact times may not be final if selected, instead the examples are meant to get a sense of whether a change is desired, and if so, to understand the community's preference for sequencing of start times. In no particular order, the scenarios explored include:

    • Elementary School:  8:30a.m. to 2:51p.m. -- Middle School:  7:45a.m. to 2:39p.m. -- High School:  9:15a.m. to 3:54p.m
    • Elementary School:  9:25a.m. to 3:46p.m. -- Middle School:  8:00a.m. to 2:54p.m. -- High School:  8:00a.m. to 2:39p.m.
    • Elementary School:  7:45a.m. to 2:06p.m. -- Middle School:  8:30a.m. to 3:24p.m. -- High School:  9:15a.m. to 3:54p.m.
    • Elementary School:  7:40a.m. to 2:01p.m. -- Middle School:  9:05a.m. to 3:59p.m. -- High School:  9:05a.m. to 3:44p.m.

    For reference, SVSD school start and dismissal times currently follow: 

    • Elementary School:  9:05a.m. to 3:26p.m. -- Middle School:  7:40a.m. to 2:34p.m. -- High School:  7:40a.m. to 2:19p.m.


    Meeting #5 November 16, 2017

    Assistant superintendents Jeff Hogan and Ryan Stokes quickly welcomed everyone and provided a very brief review of group norms. Hogan recapped highlights from meeting #4 for those committee members unable to attend.  Together, they spent a few minutes comparing a “one-tiered” transportation system to a “multi-tiered” transportation system, to illustrate how much more efficient a multi-tiered system is. The District currently uses a “two-tiered”  system for secondary (grade 6-12)/elementary (K-5) transportation. They explained that a consultant from VersaTrans is currently attempting to use the District's transportation data to model a three-tiered system to see if it is feasible to separate high school and middle school to be able to stagger start times and model different levels that would potentially start at three different times. The group agreed to explore models based on the following order of tiered service:

    1. Middle → Elementary → High
    2. Elementary → Middle → High

    The rest of the meeting was spent reviewing a draft of the stakeholder survey on school start times and discussing minor changes. It is anticipated the survey will be launched with parents, staff and students the week of November 27-December 1.



    Meeting #4 October 26, 2017

    Assistant Superintendent Jeff Hogan welcomed everyone and provided a very brief review of group norms and the draft committee timeline. He explained that co-facilitator Ryan Stokes was preparing for a school board work session and was unable to attend this meeting.

    Hogan recapped highlights from meeting #3 for those committee members unable to attend. With the “urgency” to address adolescent sleep patterns (of middle and high school aged students), the committee had requested more information on what is best for “all” students (including K-5) around start times. The next 20 minutes were spent reviewing and discussing the Hanover Research around the impact of earlier or later start times on elementary school students.

    An update was then provided regarding the timeline for VersaTrans to assist the District in modeling a three-tiered bus routing system. Hogan then presented some of the draft questions Hanover is considering for the stakeholder survey, which the group plans to launch in late November. A full draft of the survey should be ready for committee review at the next meeting on November 16. A brief communication update was also provided to the committee.

    Hogan also shared a brief review of a few different data sets, which included comparisons with neighboring school districts around absenteeism and graduation rates. In addition, the group looked at some relative components of the Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) around adolescent sleep and behaviors, which was administered to SVSD students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 last year.

    The meeting concluded with a question: In order to get VersaTrans started on modeling a 3-tiered routing system (the District currently operates a 2-tiered system), what is the committee's preferred sequence for start times?

    1. Middle ⇒ Elementary ⇒ High
    2. Elementary ⇒ Middle ⇒ High
    3. Other?

    After a discussion, it was decided by consensus agreement to have VersaTrans begin evaluating the feasibility of 3-tiered start time by modeling a start time sequence that begins with elementary, then middle school, with high school starting at the latest time.



    Meeting #3 October 12, 2017

    A quick welcome and very brief review of group norms, draft timeline, committee charge, and decision-making model was conducted by co-facilitators Jeff Hogan and Ryan Stokes.

    Assistant Superintendent Hogan recapped highlights from meeting #2 for those committee members not unable to attend. 

    The next 30 minutes were spent reviewing and discussing the SVSD Research Brief that was put together by Hanover Research around school start times and the impact on adolescent students. Committee members were asked the questions: “Of the five areas summarized in the report, which do you believe is the most pressing reason to make the change to later start times for adolescents, and which is the least compelling reason for making a change?”  The five areas include:

    • Academic Outcomes
    • Attentiveness, Mood and Behavior
    • Student Sleep
    • Automotive Accidents
    • Attendance and Tardiness

    Hogan then provided a brief communication update, that included the launch of the committee website for stakeholders to stay updated on the work of the committee. The new website is located at: https://www.svsd410.org/Page/7212

    Assistant Superintendent Stoke, then discussed some of the geographic challenges around our transportation system due to the size of the district and the length of many bus routes due to the rural terrain. He shared some of the work happening behind the scenes to model different start times using the VersaTrans routing system used in transportation for bus routing.

    The meeting ended with a change to the meeting schedule. By consensus agreement, the November 9 meeting was moved to November 16.



    Meeting #2 September 28, 2017

    At the second School Start Time Advisory Committee meeting assistant superintendents Jeff Hogan and Ryan Stokes (co-facilitators) welcomed committee members, and asked new committee members to introduce themselves. The District's vision and mission were reviewed with the committee and then a quick recap of group norms, a draft timeline, committee charge, and decision making model was covered.

    The three phases of the study process were explored: information gathering, conducting research and gathering stakeholder input, and the final phase of developing recommendations. Hogan shared that Hanover Research will be utilized as a resource to help with the literature review and developing the survey. Hanover Research has extensive experience working with K-12 public schools and supporting processes such as the current School Start Time Review.

    The committee then discussed the noticing and wonderings that were collected from small group work during meeting #1. After the debrief, the committee broke into small groups and did a jigsaw read/review of a recent article in Phi Delta Kappan on School Start Times. Groups then shared out key take-aways. Discussion ensued around “key questions” to try to answer before considering shifting to later start times for adolescents.

    Other potential implications or unintended consequences of changing start times were discussed. The meeting wrapped up after short review of a "superintendent perception survey” that recapped eight different school districts' experiences after changing school start times. The Children’s National Medical Center’s Blueprint for Change Team conducted the study.



    Meeting #1 September 14, 2017

    At the first School Start Times Advisory Committee meeting assistant superintendents Jeff Hogan and Ryan Stokes (co-facilitators) welcomed committee members, and thanked everyone for their time to help with this important work. Committee members then introduced themselves. The District's vision and mission were shared with the committee. The committee charge was presented to the committee, along with a brief history of how this topic had emerged and received support through the Thoughtexchange community engagement process. Group norms were established, as well as the decision making process for any recommendations.

    The meeting schedule was reviewed and information shared about the three phases of the process. Phase 1 will be information gathering, including partnering with Hanover Research to help conduct research and create a community engagement survey. Phase 2 will be primarily focused on gather input/feedback on options. While Phase 3 will be the development of a final recommendation to Superintendent Joel Aune. 

    The importance of consistent committee communication was discussed, along with the plan to create a committee website to house all the work and resources, so interested community members can follow along with the process. Current SVSD school start times were reviewed briefly, and the meeting wrapped up with a review and small group discussion of some trends in later high school start and dismissal times in our region.

    To review the documents shared during the meeting, please check out the resources below: