The Fairmont School Board on Tuesday heard from new high school co-principals Jake Tietje and Alex Schmidt, who described changes to the high school student handbook.
Tietje said a team met several times to go over the handbook. It included the dean of students, a social worker, a board member, two parents, two teachers, two students, a secretary and two principals. Tietje and Schmidt were not part of the process but studied the changes recently and added some of their own.
“With that, the first key change that you’re going to see is the addition of the huddle time that was 15 minutes per day and have that rolled into the regular day schedule,” Tietje said.
Classes had been 47 minutes but will now be 50 minutes.
Another change is that SOAR time is the new FAST time.
Schmidt said SOAR is an acronym for “student opportunities and academic responsibilities.” FAST was academic support time. SOAR will happen every Thursday. It’s an advisory time for students to meet with a teacher to go over learning and grade-level related matters. It will operate through a system in which a student will have a teacher for three years, then switch to another teacher for three years.
Board member — Mike Edman — was concerned about the school policy that asks students to keep their backpacks and bags locked in their lockers during the school day.
“When I hear from students and parents, especially the parents of female students who are entering the high school for the first time, the idea that they can’t have a backpack or purse with them is startling,” he said.
Edman believes more thought should be given to the policy.
Board member Nicole Green said the reason the board has kept the policy is due to fire safety concerns, because backpacks were previously all over the floor. She also said backpacks make it easier to carry around a weapon.
Board members encouraged the new principals to examine the policy, and change or keep what they think is best.
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