Council Update: December 2013
It’s been a very busy fall for the Council! The first every J-Comm election to be open to the entire student body was a success, providing the school with a wise, judicious group of students and teachers ready to serve anyone who feels she has been unjustly punished. Since the election, the committee has selected Liesel Robbins as its chair and gone through training to make sure its members are well-versed in our school’s rules, procedures, and ethical expectations.
The motion to give 9th graders off-campus privileges during fourth quarter eventually failed after extensive research by the Student Life committee showed that most parents were not in favor of changing the current off-campus policy. When responding to a survey, parents said that they didn’t want to jeopardize the existing program. They also said that they think that keeping 9th graders on campus gives them a valuable opportunity to mature and become integrated into the school community.
Rupert Barraclough moved to make the weight room available for student use after school. There was not enough money in the athletic budget to officially pay for an adult to supervise, so the motion was failed and brought back as a motion to allocate funds to the newly formed “weight room club.” The weight room is open several week days after school from 3:00 to 4:00. Talk to Rupert or Mr. Berube if you have questions.
The responsibility of updating the Student Handbook was moved from the Student Life committee to the Admin committee because they work more closely with Mr. Campbell and Mr. Smith. Since this motion passed, the Admin committee has been working on creating a more user-friendly, condensed version of the handbook that will make it easier for all students, and particularly freshmen in Civitas, to access important information about the school’s policies.
Council voted to approve the updated acceptable use policy that was revised by Ms. Patten and the technology committee to address in further depth issues relating to social media and the increasing number of personal devices used at school. The new policy states that students may use social media and their personal devices in school as long as this use doesn’t interfere with others’ productivity or make others feel disrespected. Teachers have the right to tell students to stop using their devices. Consequences are vaguely outlined in the policy to reflect the wide range of misbehavior the policy covers.
The x-period motion to make x-period attendance a matter of teachers’ discretion is still in the committee-work phase. Any decision on the motion was postponed until an adequately functional solution is found that would allow the administration to feel comfortable with kids not checking in to their x’s. It’s likely that this solution will come in the form of a new attendance code on the portal that teacher’s could enter to indicate that students were excused for an x-period.
The “3-Test Motion” came in mid-November. It sought to give student’s the right to defer taking a test if they have more than three tests on one day. In the original motion, the teacher had the right to not let a student postpone a test. An amendment was made to make the motion more concrete by not giving teacher’s this right, and stating that whichever teacher of the three was last to schedule there test has to let the student postpone tackling the assessment. This amendment failed, and eventually Council decided to refer the motion to an ad hoc committee specifically created for researching this issue. They hope to come up with a more accurate description of a test than “an assessment meant to be completed in one class period,” because as we know, some assessments don’t take long to complete but cover a lot of subject matter. If you wish to contribute to the evaluation of this issue, contact Max Greenwald.
The Environmental Club brought a motion to stop the practice of sending paper report cards home with every student. The motion was amended slightly by the Council, and from now on a Power School alert system will send a PDF of students’ report cards via email to students and their parents, and parents may print out a copy if they wish to keep a physical copy on file.
Council member and Dresden School Board Representative Kelsey Smith has also been asked by the Strategic Planning Committee to distribute a survey to all students concerning the value they place in extracurricular activities like athletics and music. As it is crucial to collect as much input as possible in order to prioritize and preserve the vibrancy of our school’s many programs, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey. It can be accessed through the HHS or SAU 70 websites, and will be open just until the beginning of the holiday break. Feedback will be used to determine the direction of our school for the next five years, and possibly as material on which to redraft our current mission statement.
As always, if you have any questions or ideas regarding Council business, talk to your common ground representative, grade representative, or anyone else on Council! You can also reach Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.