School administrators provide update on academic calendar and school safety

Trevor Menne, school principal, has been hard at work attending meetings about a new bell schedule, school safety, and creating a successful school culture.

Photo by Joseph Murphy

Trevor Menne, school principal, has been hard at work attending meetings about a new bell schedule, school safety, and creating a successful school culture.

On a Tuesday morning, district administrators, including Trevor Menne and Jocelyn McIntire, principal and assistant principal respectively, attend a meeting to discuss a revamp in the academic calendar.

District administrators have been working on constructing a new bell schedule after having students take a Panorama survey that gave feedback on how the current bell schedule is organized. McIntire has had several meetings regarding the district’s ideas.

“So right now, we’ve had a handful of meetings probably, seven or so, and we have a group of teachers and staff members from the district from both high schools,” McIntire said. “We’re looking at changing what kind of schedule we would have.”

The school district has required students to obtain 24 class credits to graduate, and has offered early and late periods, as well as summer school in hopes to create flexibility for students. For some students, earning the credits hasn’t been a timely issue, it’s been about staying engaged.

“So we want to give students opportunities to take a wider variety of classes because that way, they’re going to pick things that they really like and they’ll be more engaged in school,” McIntire said. “If you’re doing something that you like, then you’re going to come to school and you’ll find success.”

Last year, the school year was affected by a pandemic and classes were mostly taken online. Freshmen weren’t able to experience the school until last spring, and even then school was still limited by masking and distance requirements. Now, school administrators have been focusing on the incoming freshman class to get them on the right track.

“We definitely are focusing on our ninth grade success team,” McIntire said. “We have some support and interventions in place specifically for ninth graders because we know that’s one of the most important years making sure students get started on the right foot and not being behind in credits.”

However, the bell schedule meetings are still ongoing. Menne provided in-depth information on the process of discussing the bell schedule change.

“A group of administrators and a group of high school teachers that have been meeting fairly regularly, to talk about pros and cons, to talk about values, to talk about what would we want to accomplish with a change, and so no decisions have yet been made,” Menne said. “So nothing will be changing for next year.”

School safety has also been a priority for the school administrators. Students were asked during an academic seminar class to give their phone number to the school. This will allow the school to alert students of important information and emergencies with the school, through the program Synergy.

“Maybe the school building wasn’t necessarily safe to return so a message could go out saying, ‘hey, please,’ you know, ‘please do not return to campus it’s unsafe,’ or, you know, some kind of general message can be sent out,” Menne said.

Above all else, the administration hopes to build and maintain the school’s culture. Cooperation between students as well as teachers is needed to establish change in culture.

“We want to build a community where people respect one another,” McIntire said “Get along with one another, and see the positive pieces that everybody brings to the table.”