Family Engagement Survey - February 25 to March 24, 2020 - Learn More

Overview:  (I) Bellevue Deputy Superintendent Eva Collins welcomed committee members.  (II) Eva, Mercer Island Director of Transportation Todd Kelsay, and Bellevue District Director of Athletics and Activities Jeff Lowell provided information requested at the last meeting.  (III)  Jeff shared information about KingCo athletic competition and practice times, and the committee discussed how best to gather input from KingCo.  (IV) Eva shared resources related to collecting stakeholder input.

Learn more about the High School Start Time Steering Committee
Learn more about our High School Start Time Initiative


Bellevue Deputy Superintendent Eva Collins welcomed committee members.  She told them she has been in contact with other districts in the area that are also looking at the start-time question: “It’s good to share resources.”

Eva introduced a member of Bellevue’s communications department who will support the committee’s work, and the committee members briefly introduced themselves.

Facilitator Dick Withycombe asked committee members to review the minutes of the December 10 meeting, which they approved as submitted.


Eva reviewed a handout presenting Bellevue information requested at the last meeting:

  • high school enrollment by school;
  • the numbers of juniors and seniors with open first periods, including those taking two-hour, zero-period CTE (career and technical education) classes (which masks their first-period attendance in the student information system), students in Running Start, and students who are taking six rather than seven classes and have the first period free;
  • the number of middle school students taking courses at a high school; and
  • the number of reported suicide attempts and ideation incidents among high school students.

She provided some anecdotal information from one high school regarding student employment after school, but concluded that the committee would need to conduct a survey to get useful data.  Similarly, there are no available data about how students are impacted by changes in start times when they move from middle school to high school.

Director of Transportation Todd Kelsay reviewed Mercer Island’s bell times by grade level.  This information is attached.

Jeff Lowell, Bellevue’s District Director of Athletics and Activities, analyzed student participation in sports programs by Bellevue high school and by season.  These spreadsheets are attached.


Jeff provided the attached spreadsheets displaying KingCo Conference competition and practice start times.  He noted that:

  • some sports are affected by the availability of daylight (e.g., golf and tennis),
  • the last quad basketball games now go to 11:00 p.m. so a later start would shift some games to Saturday,
  • some changes may increase school districts’ transportation costs,
  • some changes may cost schools with a single gym either practice time or facility rental expense,
  • some other KingCo school districts are considering later high school start times, and
  • community field use is an issue because it represents a revenue stream for school districts.

The committee had originally considered inviting a panel of KingCo representatives to a future meeting, but decided tonight that a better approach would be for Jeff to ask for time on their agenda to conduct a focus group.

A committee member requested a “dummy calendar by season” that would help committee members line up the different factors that would come into play in both districts if the athletic practice and competition schedules were changed.


Eva shared a handout she prepared with the assistance of Bellevue’s director of research and accountability.  This preliminary framework lists stakeholders, identifies alternative methods of gathering input, and suggests a sequence of activities over the spring months.

She also distributed copies of a summary of “benefits” and “challenges” prepared by the Saint Paul Public Schools, which convened an 18-month committee to study the start-time question.  Eva offered to ask June Han, who developed the research summary for the committee earlier, to draft a set of similar bullet points for the committee’s review and eventual posting on the districts’ start-time websites.  The committee agreed that June should be asked to prepare the overview bullet points and also to help post research findings on the start-time websites.

Eva also suggested committee members visit Saint Paul’s “phenomenal website” at and provided a mock-up of Bellevue’s start-time website.

The committee held a preliminary discussion about gathering input, a topic they will address in depth at their next meeting.  A committee member who conducted an informal email survey of colleagues in his school will compile the results and share them with the committee.  Dick suggested that other committee members who choose to collect data tell people there will be other opportunities for input, to avoid confusion.