December 16, 2011

New Town HS moves to closed campus

New Town HS moves to closed campus
By Jerry W. Kram

It’s been one of the rights of being an Eagle upperclassman for ages. But with a unanimous vote of the school board, leaving New Town High School over the noon hour will now be a privilege that has to be earned. The new policy will go into effect when school resumes after the winter break.
High School Prinicipal John Gartner outlined a policy that he and the high school faculty created that would limit students to the high school building during the noon hour unless they meet minimum requirements. Gartner said his goal was to create incentives for students to improve their behavior and performance in the classroom to win back this privilege.
“Current policy is that anyone from freshman to seniors can leave the building,” Gartner said.
Gartner showed the board statistics about the high school that he wanted to change. In the first quarter there have been nearly 300 instances where students were tardy for class or skipped school. More than one third of high school students are failing four or more subjects. Gartner said something has to be done to change this situation.
Students would have to meet five criteria to have the privilege of leaving the campus at noon. First, they would have to be academically eligible – be failing in no more than one class. Second, the student cannot have been tardy more than five times in the past month. Third, the student cannot have served an in-school suspension for the past week. Fourth, the student can’t have had an out-of school suspension for the last month. Finally, the student cannot have been caught skipping a class for the last month. Students who leave campus at noon when they are not eligible will also lose future eligibility for the offense.
“Three quarters of our referrals this year are for tardys,” Gartner said. “Another 8 percent are for skipping school. That’s a huge part of our problems. We have to get kids back into class and understanding that they have to get here in the morning, if they leave school they have to get back in time and between the seven periods of class they have to get to their classes on time. It is a work ethic thing that is so important because if they graduate and still have these poor habits, they are going to have a hard time keeping a job.”

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