News

Homeroom changes on the way

Ms. Nora Seager (Social Science Dept.) and Ms. Barbara Smith (Classified) tally the teachers’ ballots.

By AISHEE DAS
News Editor

Homeroom will be 15 minutes attached to the end of an undecided class period next year after a simple majority vote from staff.

100 out of all 118 certified staff – teachers, counselors, librarians and administration – voted on the ballot.

The staff members voted on the frequency, duration and student make-up of the Homeroom program.

Homeroom will either be attached to second or third period next year for 15 minutes. Assemblies will remain for 35 minutes on Fridays, taking time from Homeroom and 3 to 4 minutes from other class periods.

This is a major change from how Homeroom was run as a 35 minute period separate from any class.

A ballot was drawn on May 28, and the results are as follows: 53 staff members voted to continue Homeroom while 47 voted to discontinue it completely. 56 staff members voted to attach Homeroom to a period while 44 voted to continue to group students by grade level. Finally, 57 staff members voted to shorten Homeroom to 15 minutes while 33 voted to keep it 35 minutes long.

Two years ago, 65% of the staff voted for the addition of a designated Homeroom.

Concerning the small difference between the majority and minority, Dr. Kevin Astor (Principal) said, “I trust that our staff will support what the school as a whole has chosen…100%.”

This vote took place two years after the implementation of Homeroom. However, there is not a prescribed cycle of years of voting on Homeroom.

“We always want to be able to question what we’re doing and if it meets our students needs,” said Astor. “We’ll make sure this structure will best serve student needs.”

The Leadership Team, comprising all department chairs, the English Language Coordinator, Librarian, Activities Directors, Athletics Director and Administration, discusses school issues regularly and has worked on the various forms of Homeroom to vote on since January.

As a newcomer to the school, Astor wanted to understand as many components of the school programs as possible. Through staff conversations, it became evident that “the Homeroom experience” was different from Homeroom to Homeroom and “the staff conversations were about what different options might best meet the needs of our school.

“I knew there were kinks to work out, so I knew we would not continue forward with the exact same format.”

Ms. Dana Kramer (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) has a Homeroom of sophomores this year and enjoyed the past two year’s structure.

“Homeroom felt like a different class because before, Homeroom just felt like a way to disseminate information,” Kramer said.

“It felt like there was no differentiation between class time and Homeroom time. With this Homeroom this year, when there was an activity or a poster contest, it felt like the kids really wanted to participate. [Previously], it felt like I was pulling teeth to get students to go to Election Convention.”

Other teachers like the change. “I think that Homeroom really should be with kids you know well, and I think it’s hard for teachers to be with kids that they don’t have in their classes every single day,” said Ms. Nicole Bradshaw (Math Dept).

“I love my Homeroom, but I think it might just be easier for teachers to make a better connection if the students they are with are the students they already have.”

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