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    2017-18 School Year Schedule Update
    Posted on 05/15/2017

    2017-18 School Year Schedule Details

    Key Calendar Dates

    Sept. 6, 2017 First day of school
    Sept. 11, 2017 Kindergartners first day of school
    Dec. 18, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018 Winter break (no school)
    Feb. 19 – 23, 2018 Mid-winter break (no school)
    April 9 -13, 2018 Spring break (no school)
    June 22, 2018 Last day of school

    The Seattle School Board adopted the 2017-18 school calendar at the June 7 board meeting. You can see the all school year calendarl dates on our 2017-18 School Year Calendar including the first day of school, last day of school, and school breaks.

    Longer School Day and School Schedules

    For many years, the length of the student school day in Seattle has been shorter than our neighboring districts. Starting next year, the school day will be 20 minutes longer, which will support more time for student learning and teacher collaboration. This change will result in the equivalent of two additional days of instruction for students.

    Three-Tier School Schedule

    With the addition of 20 minutes, school start and end times will change. Family feedback on preferred start and end times for 2017-18 was mixed.

    In general, families with students attending early start schools wanted 20 minutes added to the end of the day. Families with students enrolled in schools with later start times (i.e. Tier 2 and 3) wanted the additional time added to the start of the day.

    Because our transportation department needs a minimum of 50 minutes between start times to serve nearly 100 schools, accommodate for traffic congestion and the limited number of buses available, the 20 minutes has to be added consistently across all schools. The School Board adopted a schedule that attempts to balance multiple needs, starting 10 minutes earlier and ending 10 minutes later.

    Two-Tier School Schedule

    We have heard that many families in Tier 3, schools with the latest current start time (9:35 a.m.) want the district to move to a two-tier schedule. Although our $50 million funding shortfall did not permit the district to make the requested change, the Mayor and City of Seattle heard our families’ request. The city is currently considering whether they may be able to help with the required $2.3 million in funding.

    We are extremely grateful to the City of Seattle for their consideration. City support would allow us to eliminate Tier 3, which has been a significant hardship on some students and families, and better aligns school start and end times with the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association recommendations. 

    Next Steps for School Schedules

    In the next couple weeks we will be taking a number of school schedule actions to the School Board. If the city funds a two-tier school schedule, the School Board will need to accept the grant and the district may make some slight adjustments to the two-tier start and end times to help maximize high school instructional time.

    We know that families and care providers need school schedule information as soon as possible in order to plan for the coming school year. We are committed to notifying families and providers about the final schedule by June 16.

    Consistent Weekly Early Release

    Currently, we have a variety of early release days during the school year to support staff professional development. Next year, students will be released early on a consistent weekly schedule. This schedule change supports teacher collaboration and instructional planning. The quality of classroom instruction is the single most effective strategy to eliminate opportunity gaps and accelerate learning for all students. Teacher collaboration is one of the most important strategies we implement to ensure this happens.

    The school year calendar is negotiated between our labor partner, Seattle Education Association (SEA) and the district. We have come to agreement on the 2017-18 calendar PDF icon (page 5) which includes the weekly early release day.

    Early release days are recommended for Wednesdays and students will be released 75 minutes early. A 75 minute schedule will eliminate the current five, two-hour early release days providing more consistency and predictability for families and community partners. The final calendar, which includes the early release days, will be introduced to the School Board on May 17 and as previously mentioned, voted on at the June 7 School Board Meeting.

    Regarding our decision-making process

    In October we surveyed staff, families, and community partners about schedule change preferences, not knowing in advance what stakeholders might prefer. Overwhelmingly staff and families agreed that early release was preferred to a late start. In regards to the early release day, families preferred Fridays and educators (i.e. teachers, school staff, and principals) preferred Wednesdays. In further review of our data we found that Wednesdays are better for teacher collaboration time and maximizes educator participation.