FAQ

Bell Times Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out my school’s new bell times?

Schools’ start and end times will change for the 2016-17 school year for all Seattle Public Schools. Some schools may change as little as 5 minutes while others may change by more than an hour.

Bell time and transportation revisions can be found on our bell times schedule page.

The district is working with community partners to help increase awareness about these changes and the resources available for families in advance of the 2016-17 school year.

Why are the bell times changing?

The change in school start times is designed to improve academic outcomes for secondary students.

Research has shown that teenagers benefit from later start times resulting in more sleep, better health, reduced discipline and improved truancy rates. Meet American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended start time for adolescents. Read more on the AAP website.

During the district’s community engagement process, most feedback from the community also supported earlier start times for our younger students.

Additionally, research has shown no negative effects on elementary students when school begins earlier.

Additional information on the bell times analysis process and community engagement can be found on our bell times analysis webpage.

How will the bell times changes effects child care for our school?

It depends on how much of a change your school will be experiencing. The district recognizes the challenges families face as they restructure their schedules, including potential effects on before and after school childcare, after school activities and nutrition programs. The district has identified resources to help families address these challenges.

How will the bell times changes effect athletic competition and practices?

As a result of later school end times many athletics and extracurricular activities will be affected. Families should accordingly for childcare and transportation needs.

Updated game time schedules are available on the Athletics webpage 

Will my school’s breakfast and lunch schedule change?

Breakfast and lunch will continue to be served for all students. An updated schedule will be available on each school’s website in the near future.

All students who qualify for free or reduced price meals receive meals free of charge. Visit the free and reduced price meal information webpage for instructions on completing and submitting your application.

Where can I get more information about the Walking School Bus?

Check out the website for resources for teaching students safe ways to navigate their neighborhoods such as the Walking School Bus approach. Visit the Seattle.gov webpage for Walking School Bus.

How can I make sure my student will be visible while walking to school during the twilight hours?

As we look ahead to next fall when many elementary students are coming to school earlier in the mornings, safety reflectors will be made available for students to wear for increased visibility.

The district is pleased to be expanding our partnership with the City of Seattle’s Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) Program to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school. Visit the Seattle.gov webpage for Safe Routes to Schools Program information.

Some of our school community has families that have limited English, how can we help make sure they are aware of these changes and resources?

The district realizes that this may be a challenge and we want all families informed about the changes. Therefore we are working with community partners to help increase awareness about these changes and the resources available for families in advance of the 2016-17 school year.

For additional information, follow the district’s social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) for the latest updates throughout the summer. Families should also feel free to contact their school principal with any questions.

How does bell times effect our student’s transportation?

Most families will not notice a difference in transportation support. The Seattle Public Schools Transportation Department provides yellow bus, door to door, Metro, and cab service to a variety of students attending Seattle Public Schools and Head Start.

It is anticipated that the largest change will be for secondary students that use Metro as the timing for routes may change the number of other riders on Metro. This may be particularly noticeable as students leave school. The district is working with Metro to ensure our students have seats as they leave school.

Please follow the links below for the most current transportation schedules and updates:

Seattle Public Schools Transportation Webpage

King County Metro Trip Planner

King County Metro

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