For the past 14 years, Common Ground has been a big part of Thursdays at Hanover High School. Common Ground is a school wide program where students go to homeroom every Thursday during what is normally their activity period. The main reason for Common Ground is for students both in the upper and lower classes to socialize and get to know each other, while fostering student-to-student, and teacher-to-teacher relationships. Announcements are read, and some Common Grounds hold activities. Not all the students believe that the goals of Common Ground are being accomplished. Some believe their Common Ground doesn’t do anything but go over the announcements. Others believe there are simply no kids in their Common Ground they can relate to. That’s why recently the COI (the committee for common ground) and council have made efforts to discuss and bring forward ideas that would reform Common Ground.
That’s where Plan A comes in. In Plan A, the schedule would split the group so that the first week of the month 9th and 10th grade would have Common Ground while 11th and 12th graders would have a morning meeting in the auditorium. The meeting can have presentations, guest speakers, celebrations of student achievement, and other opportunities to share information and build community. The essential idea of this student run meeting would be to encourage student participation. The second week of the month would be a full Common Ground. The next week, the 11thth and 12th graders would have morning meeting, and the last week of the month would be a full Common Ground again.
According to Mr. Smith, it was surprising with how many people were protesting Plan A. He thought a lot more of the students would be for the change, as he has heard from many people that they don’t like Common Ground. Many students and teachers thought Plan A was not solving the problem of improving Common Ground. Others were willing to give it a try. Mrs. Wahrenberger says she is not in favor of Plan A. She explains that her Common Ground has activities and plans every week. She says that if the Common Ground was split in half it would be more difficult to plan and carry out team activities such as frisbee, wiffle ball, and bocce. Mr. Smith described one Thursday when the juniors were taking NECAPS and the seniors had a class meeting, which left only the 9th and 10th graders attending Common Ground. In this sense, it was a lot like Plan A. He got feedback from other teachers saying that they saw students who were normally quiet, socializing and interacting with one another and their teachers. Mr. Smith says that Plan A would change Common Ground, but not end it.
There are two additional solutions for the Common Ground problem. In Plan B, full Common Ground would meet every Thursday and a morning meeting would be held three Tuesdays a month as well. Lastly, there is Plan C, which is much different from the first two plans. In Plan C, Common Ground would take place on a Tuesday, and there would be a class meeting on Wednesday. The big change with Plan C is that it would make Tuesday and Wednesday a block schedule, where on Tuesday periods 1,2,3,and 4 would meet for an hour and a half, with Common Ground being in the middle of classes 2, and 3. On Wednesday periods 5,6,and 7 would meet for an hour and a half as well. There would be a class meeting that would take place between 5, and 6 and a break between 6, and 7. Plan B and C both need additional time to fully develop and, if passed, would not take place until next year.
The CG, committee, the COI, and Council, are all currently working very hard trying to come up with a plan that would best suit Common Ground’s original goals. For now though Common Ground’s future is undecided.