Published on Friday, September 28, 2012 by Jesse Baxter
As I walked into school, starting the tenth grade with nerves on edge, I noticed how many people were in the cafeteria. Then I saw the differences; a new principal, televisions in the cafeteria, and even more would be revealed later.
Unfortunately, one of the main changes I noticed is that students are now being herded to the cafeteria or to Gym 2 if they choose not to eat breakfast in the morning.
While I can understand this rule, it is still restricting, especially if a student wants to go in for tutorials. This creates a problem; if a student thought they understood a concept in class, and then they started the homework and were having trouble, they now can’t get help in the morning because they would be confined to Gym 2. I hope that a new system will introduced soon such as having more monitors watch the halls in the morning, so that there would be less trouble.
One of the biggest changes that upset me was going online to check my grades. They have replaced GradeSpeed with a new system called Home Access Center (HAC). This new system is confusing and hard to log into since they now mail parents the username and password, instead of users being able to create their own accounts. Instead of seeing all the grades in one convenient place, they are now spaced out and surrounded by a mass of irrelevant data. I hope that this system will soon be changed back to GradeSpeed or a similar system that is more user friendly.
I was shocked at how empty Blue cafeteria appeared with all the tables having been removed since they are no longer serving lunch there. To compensate we now have four lunches – all on Silver. Another change is that there are now four televisions in the cafeteria, which were showing differing shows.
The shows that play are mostly random, they range from ESPN, to Dora the Explorer to the Cartoon Channel. While I think it is a good idea to have televisions, it would be better to have subtitles on so that people can actually read what they are saying since the noise from 500-600 students talking in the cafeteria blocks the sound from the TVs.
When the bell sounded to change classes, I was surprised to hear music playing. I later found out that music plays during the first four minutes of the passing period, and there is a one minute of silence to serve as a warning. This is a nice change since students know when they still have time or if they really need to hurry to class. Introducing a committee to suggest music would better this policy, but overall it works well.
There are more policies that impact technology, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and My Instructional Technology (MIT), which allow students to bring their own electronic devices and use them when allowed to. I like it because students can take advantage of their technology for educational purposes and further learning. These programs allow teachers to use technology in their classroom however they see fit. Although some students may try to abuse this privilege, the MIT internet will still have the filter in place, and the teachers can confiscate devices if they are being misused.
Another big change is the new advisory period, for any schoolwork, or needed tutorials. This is really nice, as it gave me time to do some homework or read if I had nothing else to do. This time will help students who are struggling. Last year, there were some people who would miss eating lunch just to do their classwork, so this will hopefully put an end to that. My only hope is that students can use it well, and it won’t be taken away.
There have been many changes this year, most of them good. The school is showing signs of improvement and wants to help students learn. All the new changes will take time to get used to, but I think they will make school better in the long run.