High School Late Start -updated February 12, 2016
At the regularly scheduled board meeting on February 11, 2016, Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano announced the following:
Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, the high school will start at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesdays only and the instructional day will end at 2:50 p.m. Plans are in place to use MISD transportation to transport high school students to and from school on Wednesday. METRO will continue to provide high school transportation on the four remaining days of the school week.
The high school schedule for the remaining days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) will remain at an 8:00 a.m. start and a 3:00 p.m. end to the instructional day.
High School Late Start –updated January 22, 2016
The High School Start-Time Committee provided its report to the Superintendent and shared findings with the school board on June 11, 2015. The Committee did not recommend moving high school start times forward for 2016-2017 school year but did recommend studying whether or not early-release Wednesday could become a late start Wednesday for the 2016-2017 school year. Superintendent, Dr. Gary Plano, accepted the Committee’s report and recommendations.
The school board continued to study the issue last year at its June study session and again on October 22, and November 12, 2015. The decision to move to a later start remains the Superintendent’s decision, as acknowledged by the school board, given the complexity of program impacts (e.g., music; extra-curricular activities, etc.).
Based on community feedback, there is strong support for moving early-release Wednesday to a late-start Wednesday (8:45-2:50). The district is working out logistics with transportation and with high school staff to confirm the feasibility of this plan.
The Superintendent will continue to study the issue of beginning high school at 8:30 a.m. or later in subsequent years, but he needs to assess program impacts more thoroughly before moving the plan forward. Staff, students and parents will be consulted again in late 2016 and early 2017 for a decision on the bell times for 2017-2018.
High School Start-Time Committee
The superintendents of the Mercer Island and Bellevue School
Districts have charged the High School Start-Time Committee with conducting a study
of the potential benefits and implications of changing high school start times.
The committee’s membership will involve parents and staff
members from both school districts in a collaborative feasibility study and in the
development of recommendations to the superintendents. Click here to see the members of the committee. To provide input to the committee or have questions, please email HSstarttime@mercerislandschools.org.
The major components of the study process will be:
- to review the research findings regarding adolescent
biorhythms and school success;
- to review the experiences of other school
districts that have adopted later start times or considered doing but did not;
- to identify the implications of later start
times for high school programming and activities and for school and district
- 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 times;
- to determine whether there are feasible
solutions within either district to enact a later start time for high school;
- to submit findings and recommendations to the
two superintendents not later than June 30, 2015, for possible implementation
in September 2016.
The anticipated study process comprises three
Phase 1 (December 2014 through
February 2015): The committee will focus on gathering information (e.g., educational and child
development research, experiences of other school districts, feasibility
Phase 2 (March and
April 2015): The committee will solicit and record input from various school
and community stakeholder groups.
Phase 3 (May and June): The committee will consider everything they have learned,
summarize their findings, and develop recommendations.
An organizational meeting was held November 19. Phase 1 meetings will take place in the
Mercer Island School District board room (7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) on December
10, January 28, February 11, and February 25. Subsequent meetings will be held in the Bellevue School District at a
location to be determined (3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) on March 18, April 1, April
22, May 6, and June 3. Meeting minutes
will be posted on both school districts’ websites.