What Woodland Thinks of Earlier Starting Time

When I walk through the doors of Woodland, I am relieved to know that I have at least fifteen minutes to run “errands,” hang out with friends, get work done, relax, and just get my brain ready to function for the day. I see it every day when I walk through the halls: people socializing, talking with teachers, yawning while staring down their noses at a screen or a book. Naturally, I almost fell out of my chair when I heard rumblings that those precious fifteen minutes might be taken away so that the middle and elementary schools will have a better bus schedule.

“The plan” was officially announced during advisory by some student government representatives one day. The main idea of “the plan” was to have class starting fifteen minutes earlier than usual, meaning that students would have to go to class as soon as they walked in the door. “The plan” was considered because some of the buses for the lower grades fall behind in the afternoon, dropping the students off at their houses too late. Theoretically, by setting this plan in place, the Board of Education and the Superintendent hope that it would fix the bus schedules in the lower grades.

Personally, I was upset to discover that I might lose my “happy time” before I started the day. Others must be upset, too, I thought. Then I realized that it would be very interesting to see what the rest of Woodland felt about the matter. After a few days of planning and editing, a survey was out and  the results were in.

Personally, I wasn’t very shocked at the amount of people who wouldn’t want to start school earlier. About 230 people replied “no” (to having school earlier), which was almost 68% of all the surveyors. However, I was surprised that over 50 people, which was just under 16% of all the surveyors, responded “yes”. The amount of people who were on the fence about whether school should start earlier or not and the people who just didn’t care (responses “indifferent” and “maybe”) was, together, practically equal to the amount of people who said “yes.”

Not many people said “yes,” but those who did had good reasons. Such reasons included that “it would help with the bus problems at the lower grade schools” and that “the person gets to school way before 7:15 anyways,” so it “wouldn’t mess up their schedule.” Most students that responded “yes” were, in fact, seniors. However, the senior response was limited; out of the 320 students that took the survey, only 40 of them were seniors. The lack of senior response could be because they won’t be students at Woodland next year. Quite opposite to the senior demeanor, the class of students with the highest amount of responses was the sophomore class with 114 respondents.

In their response, most people said that it was unnecessary and a hassle, and that teenagers’ brains are meant for functioning later in the day, so it would be a step in the wrong direction to make students start even earlier. Most people brought up common reasons for saying “no,” like that they need the time for socializing, completing work and other tasks, preparing themselves for the day, and relaxing.

However, some people brought up very good points. They pointed out that it may not affect underclassmen, but seniors could drive to school and they sometimes wake up later to get there just before class starts. This would cause seniors to wake up earlier and possibly be driving in the dark and when there is more traffic. Also, some of the buses arrive at around 7:15, which wouldn’t give those students a lot of time to get to their lockers and to class before the bell rings.

They also mentioned that the sports teams would be waiting to start practice later. This is an important one. A LOT of people at Woodland do at LEAST one after-school activity, either sports or a club. If class gets out earlier, it doesn’t change the time practices start; the coaches’ schedules are still the same, so students will have to wait for an extra 15 minutes for their coaches to arrive. Students’ after-school schedules will be all messed up if school gets out later.

Class may begin earlier next year, the year of 2018-19. Some people are for the new plan, and other people are against it. Some people argue that it would help younger students and will allow high school students to get out of school earlier. Other people argue that they need the time in the morning for personal reasons. The fate of this decision is in the hands of Superintendent Michael Yamin and the Board of Education for Region 16.