New year brings changes, adjustments

After+arriving+on+the+first+day+of+school+students+will+soon+be+informed+of++several+changes+from+the+last+school+year+to+the+present+school+year.+%E2%80%9CIt%27s+hard+to+enforce+something%2C+if+you%27re+not+starting+on+the+first+day.+Take+this+year%3A+we+had+them+on+the+first+day+of+school+and+started+enforcing+on+the+first+day+of+school%3B+we+put+our+expectations+on+the+website+and+have+communicated+it%2C%E2%80%9D+Angela+Williams%2C+assistant+principal%2C+said.
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New year brings changes, adjustments

After arriving on the first day of school students will soon be informed of  several changes from the last school year to the present school year. “It's hard to enforce something, if you're not starting on the first day. Take this year: we had them on the first day of school and started enforcing on the first day of school; we put our expectations on the website and have communicated it,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

After arriving on the first day of school students will soon be informed of several changes from the last school year to the present school year. “It's hard to enforce something, if you're not starting on the first day. Take this year: we had them on the first day of school and started enforcing on the first day of school; we put our expectations on the website and have communicated it,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

Beau Brittain

After arriving on the first day of school students will soon be informed of several changes from the last school year to the present school year. “It's hard to enforce something, if you're not starting on the first day. Take this year: we had them on the first day of school and started enforcing on the first day of school; we put our expectations on the website and have communicated it,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

Beau Brittain

Beau Brittain

After arriving on the first day of school students will soon be informed of several changes from the last school year to the present school year. “It's hard to enforce something, if you're not starting on the first day. Take this year: we had them on the first day of school and started enforcing on the first day of school; we put our expectations on the website and have communicated it,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

Ivy Hansen and Ariana Moreno

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The bus entry doors swung open, making way for a flood of both bright-eyed and drowsy students to swarm into Main Street. The walls nearly burst with excitement and dread for the unavoidable: the first period bell. Yet, over the next couple of weeks, a flurry of new procedures rained down on the student body, ranging from a change in consequences for tardies to dress codes violates and not wearing student ID badges.

The high school year kicked off with a new principal, Maggie Wiley, along with fellow new assistant principals, Christopher Rose, Christopher Scott, Jillian Powell, from Cook and Dean middle schools. Striding in with fresh new ideas to improve the high school, the first step began even before the first day. However, it’s important to note these rules and regulations are not new; in fact, most have existed in previous years, but not necessarily enforced to the present degree.

Ivy Hansen
With a few extra minutes, Emma Anderson, sophomore, chats with her friends just as lunch is about to end. Anderson wears the gray lanyard associated with her House, which all students were expected to wear each day. Each house was given a specific color.
Principal Margaret Wiley met daily with the assistant principals throughout the summer to discuss the old policies and their current efficiency. A difficult process, they sought out answers beginning on the first day of school.

“The way a lot of it came about is that Ms. Wiley met with teachers prior to starting the year; I invited all teachers to meet with her during the summer. And what she was hearing was that there were too many kids roaming the halls, that cell phones and earbuds in the classroom were a huge problem,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

Teachers aside, Wiley met daily with the assistant principals throughout the summer to discuss the old policies. It would prove itself a difficult process of figuring out the most effective way to handle these issues without data or immediate results. So, using similar methods from their previous positions at Cook and Dean middle schools, they sought out answers beginning on the first day of school.

“It’s hard to enforce something, if you’re not starting on the first day. Take this year: we had them on the first day of school and started enforcing on the first day of school; we put our expectations on the website and have communicated it,” Williams said.

Reactions from the students ranged from furious to apathetic, but there remains a common understanding for why they’ve been imposed now.

Ivy Hansen
Robert Hinman, freshman, exits the lunchroom accompanied by an upperclassman, Brisa Rosas, sophomore. Entering from Cook Middle School, he’s already accustomed to how these procedures affect every aspect of student life, from tardies to dress code to lanyards.
“The students may think they’re silly or stupid rules, but they’re on board. We try to explain to them that it’s all about safety. The good thing is, kids see the reason and have an urgency to get to class on time. Students need to be in class from bell to bell, especially the students that struggle and miss the very beginning of instruction,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

“I understand why we have these rules, it’s just disappointing that we have to take so many safety precautions,” Jorge Villegas, junior, said.

Of course, all complaints of dissatisfaction have their worth as the year moves on.

“It’s my first year here and I feel as if the rules and regulations are a bit extreme, like the headphone rule. When walking to class we’re not completely oblivious, and two tardies equaling in a d-hall I find completely unfair. Classes can be far apart, and the halls get filled with all the students,” Christopher Gordon, junior, said.

This proves especially true, for the administration would need to address any issues within the application of the procedures. So, they determined to make adjustments based off the reaction and results, to find a middle ground between extremes.

“What we’re trying to do is find a middle ground that works for everyone. It’s easier to start tight, then ease up rather than start loosely and then try to tighten the grip,” Williams said.

Affecting every aspect of student life, from tardies to dress code to lanyards, these adjustments, while uncomfortable at first, have their benefits.

Ivy Hansen
With a smile, Kelly Dang, sophomore, chats with her friends before lunch ends and they must return to class. Around the table, the hallways turn quiet and empty of students right as the tardy bell rings.
“The end goal is for every student to graduate with a diploma and a plan. And if you start working backwards from that it means structure; it means being in class on time; it means being focused when you’re in class; it means less distraction for other students around you; it means being safe. And so, working backwards from that we have to have all those things in place to get that high school diploma: this is our ultimate goal,” Angela Williams, assistant principal, said.

“The students may think they’re silly or stupid rules, but they’re on board. We try to explain to them that it’s all about safety. The good thing is, kids see the reason and have an urgency to get to class on time. Students need to be in class from bell to bell, especially the students that struggle and miss the very beginning of instruction,” Williams said. “It’s actually helped us identify several students that weren’t supposed to be our campus,” she added

The procedures also serve as a means to ensure safety for the student body and faculty, who both must adhere to them for an optimal learning environment and preparation for the next stage of life.

“We want to make sure we know who was in the building at all times. That’s the intended purpose for any identification, for any job or career right now, you have to have some sort of identification to be in the building to be on the premises. Just like any small town, or just like any city. The goal is for everyone to follow the rules and procedures to make it a safe place. We want to make sure it’s conducive to learning throughout the day,” Scott said.

Neither is the high school special in the policy changes: in fact, it’s lagging behind compared to other schools in the district in preparing students for life by upholding the values of responsibility and time-management.

“This badge policy has actually been in place for at least five years throughout the district. And this year here at Jersey Village, we’ve decided to actively enforce it. It’s an expectation for both students and faculty members of the whole district to wear their ID badges,” Scott said. “So, it’s all part of life, because our main plan is to get you guys ready–to have a flight plan, so to speak– and not just a diploma but have a plan afterwards. To have that training as part of life; going on to college; going on to jobs; going to trade school; going on to the military, which is: always being on time anywhere,” he added.

The end goal: success for students’ post-graduation. As such, if the school body cooperated, it can approach the new year with graduation and safer hallways in mind.

“The end goal is for every student to graduate with a diploma and a plan. And if you start working backwards from that it means structure, it means being in class on time, it means being focused when you’re in class, it means less distraction for other students around you, it means being safe. And so, working backwards from that we have to have all those things in place to get that high school diploma. This is our ultimate goal,” Williams said.