Seattle Public School schedules could look very different next year, according to letter sent to parents this week by Superintendent Larry Nyland.
The tentative schedule will make the school day 20 minutes longer. Ten minutes will be added before and after the school day. Nyland said Seattle has historically had shorter school days than other neighboring districts. Over the course of the school year, this additional time will equate to two days of instruction.
The additional 20 minutes is designed to meet the needs of families across the current three-tier system, which has schools starting at three different times across the district.
However, Nyland said families in Tier 3 schools say they are experiencing hardships and challenges due to the schools' late start time of 9:35 a.m., and that parents have made requests to eliminate the third tier and only have two tiers. Nyland said this change to a two-tier system would also better align with American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association recommendations on school start and end times.
Nyland announced that while the school district's $50 million budget did not allow for the elimination of Tier 3, the mayor and the city are considering providing an additional $2.3 million to cover the shortfall.
Additionally, the school board will implement a consistent early release schedule to help with professional development programs and overall scheduling. Students will be released 75 minutes early on Wednesdays every week. This eliminates the current system of holding five, two-hour early release days per year.
While there are many variables in play, Nyland said in the statement the district is committed to notifying families of all official changes by June 16.