Thursday, September 13, 2012

With the New School Year Come New School Policies

As we all have heard and know, with this new school year came new school policies for secondary students. Our school and administration have revised several policies of our school, the major three being the new tardy, language, and D-policies. Now every time you are either late a total of three times to class, or speak a language other than English a total of three times or receive a D within the quintile, it will result in that student having to attend Saturday school for three hours on a Saturday morning. According to the new policies, if you are sent to Saturday School more than once, it can lead to a meeting with the student’s parents.

At first, the students’ initial reactions to the ideas of these new policies were fairly negative and many students had issues and complaints about them. However, after the meetings held to further explain the details of the new policies and the whole purpose for all the changes that were made, there was a little bit more of an acceptance of them.

In past years, the D-policy was the main policy that was enforced, and had the most controversy. Therefore, one would think that this new, even stricter D-policy would bring up the most issues and complaints from the student body. However, in talking to students it appears to be the complete opposite. Almost all of the students that I talked to seemed to say the same thing, that although the new D-policy is a lot stricter than that of the D-policies of previous years, they all agree that it is fair and a needed improvement to the old D-policy. In fact, the real issue that most of the students had was the new tardy policy.

Most of the students agreed that the tardy policy was too strict and that three times is definitely not enough chances before Saturday school is given, especially with breaks in the afternoon classes being only 3 minutes long; it can be a struggle not to be late even for those who are not dragging their feet and socializing in the halls.

One high school student really summarized what most other students also said:
I find that there are certain cases in which the policies are too strict; one of the advantages of an international school is that we are in contact with other cultures and when learning a language it can be useful to practice it with native speakers. Yet I do understand why the ban on languages was put, in some cases native speakers constantly talk to their peers only in their native language slowing down the process of their English-learning. I find that Saturday school is an unjust punishment for those who are tardy and it would be much better if students were just kept after class or during break. For the D policy Saturday school makes more sense and I understand why it was included

The only thing that the students were not in total agreement on was their opinion of the new Language policy. Some students said that it was too strict and unnecessary, others said they didn’t particularly like it but that they understood why it was made, and some others said that they strongly supported it.

Mr. Blaho, Secondary Director of Instruction 
However, when it comes down to it, no matter what the students think or feel about these new polices, they were all put in place for students' benefit to make sure that they get all they can out of their education while here and making sure that they are doing the things they should, in order to be prepared to take that next step after high school. In fact, that was one of the main points made by Mr. Blaho, when talking to him about these new policies. He stated that the whole reason for these new policies and Saturday school is to ultimately help the students become more successful in the class room.

Recently, one of the new policies, the tardy policy, has been changed and now instead of only three tardies per term before Saturday school is given; it is ten tardies per term. After talking to Mr. Blaho I found out the reason for this change. Originally administration worked with the teachers to come up with these new policies, and therefore the policies we have now are the results of this. However, after the school year started administration asked the teachers again and they all came to the unanimous decision to change the number of tardies. Ultimately the reasoning behind it came down to the vast amount of possible times in which a student could be tardy in a term. Mr. Blaho stated, the first term is 74 days and with 9 periods in a day, that’s over six hundred periods in which a student could become tardy and receive Saturday school. Therefore, with the unanimous agreement of the teachers they ultimately decided that this was a necessary change to the tardy policy.

- Timothy Roby