To students who struggle to wake up at six-thirty in the morning to catch the early morning bus, the recent decision to add a late morning bus is life changing.
The bus arrives to school at eight-twenty so anyone who does not have a first block class can sleep in and arrive at school later. Designed for students who do not have a first block class, the bus arrives approximately an hour after the first early morning run. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, middle and high schools should attempt to open at around eight-thirty. This way, students can have eight to nine and a half hours of sleep, which is an appropriate schedule for adolescents. This causes a struggle as schools have to cram in student schedules into a shorter school day.
School nurse Shari Johnson said that a later start time to school yields many positive benefits for students. She claims a later sleep time can result in increased GPA and SAT scores. Eight-thirty start times would increase school attendance. Not to mention decrease in amounts of sports injuries, car accidents, and visits to the nurse’s office.
Without enough sleep, students do not make the best decisions. Later start times can better decision making regarding drug use, alcohol consumption, and irresponsible choices. Problem solving and motivation are also strongly affected by lack of sleep, ultimately impacting performance in class due to lack of desire to succeed in the classroom. As a result, grades and GPA scores can drop due to lack of sleep within a student’s schedule.
According to MD Judith Owens, forty percent of teens who get less than six hours of sleep are prone to exhibiting depressive symptoms. Furthermore, there are also more reports of alcohol consumption and obesity from those individuals.
Besides these negative impacts, there are also positive effects from students being able to start their school day later. Whether it’s doing last minute studying or finishing that dreadful pre-calculus homework, having some individual time before school can be just the thing to assure academic success.
Will Hulme ‘18 who rides the early morning bus daily said, “I like [the idea of a later morning bus] because it gives me an extra hour of sleep, making me feel more energized at school.”
Even Principal Jamie Chisum has realized the impacts of the late run. While not having a first hand account of its effects, Chisum said, “I can say my tenth grade advisory has been raving about it without even being asked.” He also stated that he believes the late bus makes the school less crowded during the opening hours, “I think it has had some positive impact on morning driveway congestion.”
Personally the new bus run has made some extraordinary changes to my schedule. My old school schedule required me to wake up around five am, but with this new schedule, I can wake up at six which allows me to meet the recommended hours for adolescent sleep. During the school day I rarely experience fatigue and feel much more alert and attentive during class. I’ve seen an improvement in my own grades and participation during wider classroom activities.
The only downside to this additional bus ride is that it wasn’t introduced sooner. Having scheduled a later bus schedule earlier in high school would have allowed me to experience the positive impact. Perhaps it could even have been introduced to the middle school. Being a senior puts me at the top of the school’s hierarchy and serves as the final hurrah for the Wellesley Public Schools. I’ll only get to enjoy waking up later in high school for one year. So let’s catch an extra hour or so, raise that GPA, and commend the transportation department for a phenomenal conception.