School schedule mishaps


Lily Teran, Editorial Editor

Aug 17 marked the first day of school throughout Poway Unified School District (PUSD);  and a new bell schedule is causing some problems with the traffic getting to school. 

Originally rolled out in 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed and passed Senate Bill 328, which mandates all Calif. Public high schools start at 8:30 a.m. so students can be more productive and attentive first thing in the morning, while also maintaining a healthy amount of sleep each night.  

In PUSD, most middle schools are starting at 8 a.m. while high schools are starting at 8:35 a.m. (with the exception of Abraxas High School). The one and only middle school that does not start at 8 a.m. is Twin Peaks Middle School (TPMS) and it is a mess. 

This is a major inconvenience for many students, especially those who are driving. Going East on Twin Peaks Road from Midland Road or Community Road brings you directly to the heat of the traffic at TPMS. It was already a struggle trying to get to school going up Espola Road before the bell, but now a commute that was calm is now chaotic. 

Director of Transportation Services, Anton Lotter from the PUSD office said that the issue is reliant on the start times of Tierra Bonita Elementary School (TBES). When coming up with a new bell schedule for Poway Schools, it was important that TBES and TPMS maintained a 45 minute start time separation to limit traffic congestion. 

Rancho Bernardo High School (RBHS) and Bernardo Heights Middle School (BHMS) also require a similar separation in the scheduling. “A similar separation between TPMS and PHS start times would require a 9:00 a.m. start for Twin Peaks, which would cause a conflict in the release times for these two sites, and would disrupt the Twin Peaks schedule for families entirely,” Director of Transportation Services Lotter said. 

While I understand that this traffic issue is based around the scheduling between TBES and TPMS, the traffic is more of an issue. Principal Richard Nash had one main tip for driving Titans, and it is to get here earlier. But, doesn’t getting here earlier defeat the purpose of a pushed back schedule anyway?

This, for many students, means shifting their schedules by roughly a half hour to an hour so they can get here on time. While I do not hate the idea of getting an earlier start to the day, for some students it can be hard because they would have to wake up earlier just to beat traffic. One of my closest friends said that instead of driving on Twin Peaks and Espola, she goes all the way around, down Pomerado Road, and through Green Valley in North Poway. This takes her roughly between 15 minutes. 

However you get to school, be it the bus, a carpool, or driving yourself, the traffic is terrible. Twin Peaks should be starting at 8 a.m. with all the other middle schools in the district. The traffic would be lessened that way, and students would not have to stress about leaving earlier or if they are going to be late to class.