By Jack Carter, Editor-At-Large
Following the roundtable discussion our editorial board had with members of district administration, the findings of which can be found here, I set out to cover the first official meeting between Dr. Dauber and a combination of the Student Council’s executive board and senior class leadership. Dauber opened the meeting by stressing the importance of transparency, informality, and flexibility of these meetings in order to create an environment in which student concerns can be brought up and addressed in the most comfortable manner for students and administration alike. The student body president Kirthi Chigarupati agreed with that sentiment and thanked Dauber for the immediate progress they had seen following similar meetings, including the installation of more trash cans in the senior parking lot, and the study hall monitors being given microphones in the theater in place of whistles. These changes arose from concerns conveyed by the Student Council, considered by and then acted upon by Dr. Dauber and the rest of the building administration. Following this exchange, the meeting progressed into the main agenda.
Perhaps the most intriguing topic of the meeting was one that every senior is very invested in: Open Campus. The idea as proposed by Student Council would allow seniors the opportunity to leave school when they have study hall immediately before or after lunch during 4th block. Note that this does not include leaving study hall at any point in the day, nor does it include 3rd or 5th block study hall. This proposal was strengthened by the current open campus setup at Princeton High School. Dauber’s response was measured and considerate: “It’s not something I’m opposed to…but please recognize that this is a bigger structural change that would need to go “up the flagpole”, so to speak” . This type of change, he emphasized, would need to be discussed with Ms. Cincotta, the principal at South, as well as Dr. Aderhold, the district superintendent. A change at this level might even require Board of Ed input. Dauber agreed to set up a meeting with Ms. Cincotta, and to help the student council set up a meeting with Dr. Aderhold himself. He emphasized that the proposal coming from students would need to be as realistic and constructive as possible, and that Aderhold does deeply care about students and would do his best to listen to and consider our requests. While a decision was not made, definite and significant progress has occurred and will continue to in the coming weeks, with more updates to follow.
Additionally, concerns were brought up about signing into Study Hall. The Student Council proposed a number of changes, including adding additional scanners in the study hall itself, media center, guidance department, and even teacher workrooms, to make it easier for students to attend their various meetings and obligations during study hall without the hassle of first going to study hall, struggling to sign in, and then trying to get out of study hall with a pass in order to continue with their day. Dr. Dauber appeared to be very receptive to these ideas. His main concerns consisted of the fact that Study Hall is now transitioning back into Lower Dining Hall. This will certainly cause its own issues, and so it seems to be best to wait until that transition is finished before changing things even further. Additionally, the placement of scanners in the teacher workrooms in particular would require extended time and consideration, and may even involve discussions with the teachers union. This would mean that scanners in the workrooms would almost certainly be placed after scanners in the media center and/or guidance offices.
The next subject discussed was college visitations, and whether or not these absences were excused. Fear not! If you have received an unexcused absence for a college visit, this will be fixed. Dr. Dauber will work in conjunction with Mrs. Kocher to figure out a way to correct this error in Genesis, but going forward know that college visits are excused absences and will be considered as such.
Student Council also brought up the issue of vegetarian and vegan lunch, an option which has been somewhat lacking of late. This is, as Dr. Dauber brought up, an issue that has been created due to the free lunch program enacted by the State Government. Student Council has set up a meeting with Sodexo to discuss this concern, so if you have personally been affected by this, be on the lookout for updates sometime soon.
Finally, an issue that has plagued students across every grade level: the constant signing out of our Google Accounts. For the select few not affected by this issue, many students have consistently been signed out of their Google account as frequently as every half hour, regardless of usage rate. This means that students miss out on email and Google Classroom notifications on their phones, causing serious issues in their workflow. This was the first that Dr. Dauber had heard about it, but now that he is aware, Student Council will be inviting Mr. Peter James, the Assistant Director of Technology, to our next meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve this issue.
These meetings are a great opportunity for students to voice their concerns and for administrators to help make their student’s experiences at High School North more safe, educational, and enjoyable. Personally, I am very grateful that our administration is taking the time out of their day on such a regular basis to sit down with students and enact real change with significant and immediate results. Be sure to check back in two weeks, when we’ll have another meeting to break down.
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