WSSD Sleep & School Start Times
Momentum is building in the region for high schools to delay start times to address adolescent sleep needs. There has been a national trend as well, where implementing later secondary start times has met with great success for student academics, physical health and mental well-being.
On May 13, 2019, the WSSD School Board voted to begin a study on adolescent sleep needs and school start times in our District. The Administration will begin this endeavor with background planning and research on the issues prior to the start of the next school year. There are many models to follow as school districts in our region begin similar studies, some of whom are moving to adopt later start times, but we are dedicated to ensuring that we fully recognize and evaluate this issue in our unique context.
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, we plan to convene a task force on the questions and the issues surrounding this study and will provide many opportunities for community engagement and participation so we can effectively consider all aspects of adolescent sleep needs and later start times. Frequent updates on the progress of the study will be provided through the WSSD website, school board meetings, and other public meetings throughout each stage of the process.
We hope that the task force can provide a recommendation by February 2020 so that if a change is made, it can be implemented for the 2020-2021 academic school year. It is important to note that no decisions have been made regarding school start times. We believe that with multiple voices, a carefully planned process, and a system for ongoing input and feedback, we will be able to reach a resolution on the study that makes the most sense for our community and our students.
Lisa A. Palmer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools