Bellingham high schools begin the year with schedule changes, later start times

School is back in session, and high school students in Bellingham are now starting at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m. (KOMO News) 

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham high school students now have a little more time to sleep in before the school day starts.

School is back in session, and high school students in Bellingham are now starting at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m.

Research shows teenagers are better at staying up late than getting up early.

Educators say younger kids rise earlier easier. The elementary school day has now moved from 8:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

For the first time, all four high schools in the Bellingham School District are on the same bell schedule.

Their daily class schedules are changing now, too.

State requirements to graduate are up, which left students with little room outside their core classes taking six classes per day.

Now, instead of six periods, students are taking up to eight classes and can fit in more electives. The schedule is now four classes on "A" day and another four on their "B" day.

Teachers are hoping elective classes reduce stress.

Superintendent Greg Baker said the school district now has classes such as jewelry-making and forensics.

"I can now take more art and things that I've never really submerged myself in before," senior Kamryn Clark said.

Upperclassmen can also take classes at other schools if they aren't offered at their own school.

"If there's a student at Bellingham High School who wants to take AP physics and AP physics is only offered at Sehome High School, they can (do that) now," said Jessia Sankey, who is the director of wellness for Bellingham Public Schools. "Because the schedules are now the same they're able to go over to another campus for one period a day and take a course."

Educators say more opportunities prepare students for more options after school, whether they head to college or right into the work force.

Teachers are also adjusting. Some are picking up extra classes, but will also get an extra planning period during the day.

KOMO News is helping you and your children get ready for the school year. Need more tips about going back to school? Check out our back-to-school page.

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