Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 12 February 2010 00:00
At the last Herricks school board meeting, the board met early, finished their routine business and then met with an extremely large number of high school students in the high school cafeteria.
The students assembled in a circle and then proceeded, one by one, to document what they would like to have the school board do for them.
The most requested item on the list, as it has been in previous years, was for the school board, in conjunction with high school principal Dr. Jane Modoono, to change their hours.
They came with scientific documentation that states, according to data they collected, that teenagers need more sleep than almost everyone else.
Further, they presented documentation that academic scores are higher if, in fact, students have more sleep. They did, however, mention that most students don’t go to bed until 11 p.m. or at midnight.
Other requests included that teachers adhere to test dates, and on this item, principal Dr. Modoono agreed with the students.
They requested that some of the boy’s bathrooms be closed until they are renovated because they are in such disrepair, and they would like to see the use of more mirrors in all the bathrooms.
A request was made to have new music classes for both the middle school and elementary school, and principal Dr. Modoono said she thought this would be a great idea to allow more students into the music program.
Some students said they would like the inclusion of some vegetarian foods on the lunch menu. Further, they requested a decrease in the amount, and, not necessarily, the addition of fries.
They discussed, in great deal, what changes would be made to the high school auditorium and whether or not the acoustics would be changed. Superintendent Dr. Jack Bierwirth said that change would be much too costly and that for now just the air conditioning is being installed.
Quite a few students complained that having to stop for a “late” pass in some case just made them late. They requested that they first go to the class and then at another time go for a late pass. However, it was explained that this would only confuse the main office since the names of those absent are sent there to be recorded.
Another set of students said that there has to be some adjustment to the heating and air vents in their classrooms. They said that in the summer there is heat and in the winter it blows cool air.
Further, there is a good amount of sun glare in some of the classrooms and there was a request that be addressed as well.
Another discussion centered around the new courses and workshops for juniors and seniors regarding essay preparation; plus there was a request for a college awareness workshop. It was pointed out that the curriculum council would be the one to institute these requests.
To that end, students requested they receive credit for attendance in the resource room or guided study.
The next discussion was on what the procedure was for the naming of the track and it was pointed out that this would be on the agenda for the next school board meeting.
Some students complained that there was no snow or ice removal on the path between Hamilton Drive and the parking lot and therefore it becomes very slippery. This, however, is being addressed for future snowfalls. Further, some wanted an additional security guard in the senior parking lot to direct traffic.
Another student wanted to know, since a new track has been installed, if there will also be new bleachers. Dr. Bierwirth answered with a simple, “no.”
A hot water dispenser was requested for the lunchroom. Further, there was a request to hold health classes in separate rooms.
Some of the students wanted to know just how stable the equipment was in the weight room and they also requested that a scale be placed in there.
All of the complaints and suggestions of the students, they were assured, will be taken under consideration with the hope that some of their suggestions and requests will be granted.
Their request to change the time of school opening will be a little more difficult to accomplish due to the fact that the buses must be coordinated with the middle school and grade school student’s opening times and there is no money in the budget to purchase another bus.
Prior to the school board meeting with the high school students, the regular meeting was held; and a member of the audience, a senior, wanted to know why there was no AARP Driver Education course listed in the Adult Education booklet for senior citizens for this year.
It was explained that the last time that item was listed there was really no interest in that course, so it was removed.
Further, the board accepted a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Summer in honor of their son Ray, in the amount of $2,000 to be awarded annually in the amount of $250 to a qualified graduate. The criteria for the scholarship is as follows: a student who shows a specific interest and ability in broadcasting. If there is no suitable candidate for broadcasting, than one who shows interest and ability in the theater. A student must demonstrate compassion and tolerance for all and the student must demonstrate a need for this scholarship. Further, an essay is requested to be reviewed by Mr. and Mrs. Summer in conjunction with the guidance office and the specific teacher in broadcast or theater.
Herricks school will be closed from Feb. 15 to Feb. 19 to celebrate Presidents week. The next school board meeting will be held on Feb. 25 at the Herricks Community Center at 7:15 p.m. and it will be both a regular and budget meeting.