Seattle Public Schools embarks on a new year with new start times for students, while the state Supreme Court is tackling a major education issue with its hearing on the McCleary school-funding case.

Share story

Seattle Public Schools’ middle- and high-school students should be a little more rested when they walk into their classrooms this year.

The state’s largest district started a new school year Wednesday with later start times for most middle and high schools. Elementary-school students will be leading the charge with an earlier bell.

The Seattle School Board approved start times of 8:45 a.m. for middle and high schools and some K-8 schools. Most elementary schools will begin at 7:55 a.m. A handful of elementary and K-8 schools will start at 9:35 a.m.

The new times were adopted after years of pressure from parents, teachers and sleep scientists to make the change, with the argument that a later start time better aligns with teenagers’ biological clocks. Seattle Times reporter Paige Cornwell talked to a sleep expert about how students and families can prepare for the new start times.

A number of other area districts started school Wednesday, including Federal Way, Auburn and Shoreline. Lake Washington schools started Tuesday. Bellevue, Highline, Issaquah and Kent schools began Sept. 1.

Seattle schools first day wasn’t the only significant education-related happening Wednesday. The state Supreme Court began a hearing on the McCleary school-funding case at 9 a.m. The Seattle Times is providing live coverage of the hearing.