The wheels on the buses go round

Students throughout the district adjust to new start times


Hillary Currier

On Monday Sept. 27. bus route 42 arrives 20 minutes late to school.. The new district schedule allowed high school students to sleep in and for buses to pick them up later. Staffing shortages in transportation led to late bus arrivals.

By Shayla Nguyen, staff writer

The recent district-wide schedule change makes it so high schools start at 8:55 a.m. Middle schools start at 8:30, and elementary schools start at 8. 

     The district office had heard various complaints about the schedule for years and decided it was time to take action when distance learning threw off everyone’s old routine.

     “The old schedule made it so students had to wake up early and arrive at school when they didn’t necessarily need support, and it created a lack of supervision… so all of those factors kind of played into our decision,” Director of Secondary and High School success Amber Fields explained.      

     For all the problems of the pandemic, continuous distance learning did allow the district an opportunity to think about what was working and wasn’t with school schedules. At the high school level, the students enjoyed logging in from home at 10.

     The schedule change was a collaborative process with the community. The district office offered videos and presentations about the options.

     “We made adjustments [to the schedule] based on feedback from the videos and everyone’s different experience with the adjustments.”

     At the high school level the change made sense based on well-being and transportation.

     “One reason why we changed the arrival time for school is because research shows that high school students do better when they have a later start,” associate principal Tyler Davila said. “The other reason had to do with transportation, by adjusting the time we were able to get kids that rode the bus here quicker.”

     This sentiment was echoed at the middle school level. 

     “Bus transportation is more efficient now, and students and teachers are able to leave school earlier than usual; this is good for kids who have sports, chores or homework,” Andy Van Fleet, principal of Fowler Middle School, said.

     While middle school starts earlier than before, it was only moved up 25 minutes. 

     “Research says, 8:30 a.m. or later is an appropriate starting time for middle schools and high schools,” Fields stated.

     Elementary students, who are usually up early anyway, had their schedule adjusted 20 minutes earlier. Fields, who has two students in elementary school, explained how her kids have not noticed any difference at all, and for her and her husband, the change helped them get to work earlier.

     Is the new schedule living up to its expectations with the students of Tigard High? Work schedule changes, sports, mental health and time management skills can all be factors that lead to the reason why students still aren’t getting enough sleep, even with the new schedule. 

     “My sleep schedule doesn’t really fit with the new schedule, but it’s better than the old one ever would, and my dance schedule accommodates the new school schedule as long as I do work diligently during class,” freshman Lisa Cannon said. “I feel like I have enough time to finish everything and I manage it okay.”

     “I do year-round sports, and practices are usually after school, so it really does push me back on time to get homework done,” junior Mia Dodson explained. “I think the new schedule is really not effective at all, because no matter how early I go to sleep I’m still exhausted when I wake up in the mornings.”

     “[The new school hours are] a really big change and there’s a lot of balance that needs to be done,” junior Brooke Baxter expressed.

     Maike Pierce, a parent in the TTSD district, has two kids in high school and two kids in elementary school. She is able to see the effects the schedule change has on her kids. 

     “Generally the schedule change has been working for my family but buses have been late and picking [high school] kids up 7 minutes before school starts is not enough time since the campus is so large. My children arrive late to class on a regular basis and that is not acceptable in my view. It has resulted in added stress.” 

     The elementary experience has been smoother.

     “The elementary bus has been good and the high schoolers really enjoy not having to wake up as early as in the past,” Pierce said. “But I hope the school district can work out better bus schedules in the future.”

     Javis Gomez, the head of the transportation department in the district, is currently trying to solve the late bus issue, but there’s currently a staffing shortage across the nation so transportation staff is limited. This makes it difficult to solve. Because the high school routes start the latest, they feel the brunt of the shortage. Despite the fact that some students feel like the new hours at Tigard are not working for them, others like freshman Fatimah Haswarey, feel that the recent change had a significant impact on her well being. 

     “I like not having the feeling of being rushed in the mornings; I think that it’s really important for teenagers to get enough sleep since it helps our mental and physical health.”