Ambivalent atmosphere surrounds new changes

Editor In Chief, Eric Han

Much controversy and frustration surround the school as students, teachers, and even parents struggle to understand the rationale behind several changes that have transpired, ranging from the schedule to the handbook system.

The new handbook system is one of the more irritating changes implemented for students; with it came the unfamiliar student discipline cards and hall passes. “I believe that students should be allowed some leniency,” senior June Park remarked. Students have a limited number of discipline cards and hall passes that decrease with every successive quarter. Discipline cards are used to mark tardiness, incomplete homework, non-compliance, and laptop misuse; too many of one will result in a detention.

Hall passes work more or less in the same manner; however, once depleted, a student does not receive detention, but they are no longer allowed to visit the nurse, restroom, or locker during class time.

The very fastidious system on which the handbook lies creates problems for students. Hoy Lee, a junior, acknowledged that it could present students with a dilemma. “It’s almost as if they’re living on an island and are trying to save everything for when they really need it.”

Mr. Thomas, the secondary assistant principal, explained, “Any change that the principals, the Head of School, or the administration decides on is always to protect the mission of the school and to protect student interest as much as possible.”

The hall passes are used to monitor the students. Since there are always classes taking place, no matter the time of the day, rowdiness in the hallways can cause disruptions and hinder student learning. In that way, the passes minimize ruckus in the hallways and help teachers know where students are, remarked Mr. Thomas.

It is important to note that the handbook is not the only renovation that the school has undergone. Plenty of other matters have been attended to as well, all of which have faced some criticism, this includes the new block schedule.

The schedule set up different time distributions for lunch, breaks, and classes which has resulted in a more complex block schedule, which undeniably perplexed the school for the first few weeks.

There are both numerous supporters and detractors of this new system. Some prefer the new schedule to the old one, pointing out lunches now last for a full hour, morning breaks have been introduced, and classes are slightly shorter. “Although going five blocks without eating is pretty hard, I love the hour-long lunches,” June declared.

On the other hand, some dislike it for other reasons, such as the complicated rotation schedules or separated lunches. Jamie Kim, a senior, complained, “For the first two weeks, I had nowhere to go [for extra hours] because they didn’t have my name.”

The new timetable had its own set of good intentions as well. “Again, this is all put in place to protect your learning,” he reassured. “One of the reasons the schedule is complicated is because we want to offer students as many classes as possible so they can really learn what they’re passionate about.”

When asked whether or not any change will be reverted or implemented, Mr. Thomas responded, “One of the great things about my job is that the principals can change back [the policy] if we see a system that’s not working as we had planned.”

In fact, this has already happened. It was announced near the beginning of the year seniors would be taking their IB DP Mock Exams in mid-December and not during the initially scheduled February/March months.

However, the administration reversed the exam schedule as angry students and parents voiced their displeasure at being given almost no notice prior to the end of the previous school year.

Some who have voiced annoyance at having to cope with such modifications to the school system understand the rationale behind them. “Well, considering the fact that the school hasn’t been around for that long, I think that the school’s just trying out new things, which I don’t think is bad,” Hoy noted. “If it becomes a common complaint…that should be taken into high consideration.”

Mr. Thomas want students to “understand that the administration is always looking at decisions based on how it impacts the students; if it’s something that’s going to benefit the students, we’re going to do it. If it’s something that’s going to harm the students, we’re going to fight for not doing it.”