In the beginning of the year, multiple changes were introduced to Warren Central, such as a new absence and tardy policy, a new superintendent, and an updated cohort model. Although some of these changes were incredibly successful, others require further adjustments for next year.
This year debuted a new tardy and absence policy. This policy eliminated the tardy room that students would go if they were late to a class. Another change was that and absences could no longer lead to a credit denial.
“I think we need to put a major emphasis on students being in class on time-all the time,” Warren Central principal Rich Shepler said. “We were all over the board during the documentation process [of the policy]. We never really seemed to get a handle on it, and I’ll own that. That’s the number one policy that we’re working to improve.”
Many teachers and students agree with this idea as well. While some students are able keep up with their grades and work despite their attendance, it led to too many loopholes and freedom for others. Many students have taken this policy as an excuse to be excessively tardy when they are already running late. Instead of hustling to class, students are more willing to take an absence or tardy because it no longer affects their ability to earn their credit, unless they do not make up their late work. Furthermore, teachers and administrators have been struggling with the documentation of the whereabouts of students as well as being able to keep all students accounted for.
Warren Central High School also debuted a new superintendent this year, Tim Hanson. Since the beginning of the year, Hanson has formed a superintendent-student advisory board and a new program called Journey of a Graduate.
“One thing that I really like about Dr. Hanson is that he listens, and he wants to hear your feedback. Not only from his cabinet, his administrators and teachers, but also from students, and I really greatly appreciate that. He’s a hands-on superintendent, and I love that,” Shepler said. “His initiatives are right on the money when it comes to getting everyone on board and the one thing that we’re all here for, benefiting the kids.”
Many Warren Central High School officials have seen an immediate impact behind the leadership of Hanson and enjoy this new change. Most credit the success to his hands-on ability and willingness to listen to everyone’s opinion. The students who were able to work personally with Hanson agree with these statements and like his initiative to invest in the kids who go through Warren Township.
Lastly, one of the biggest changes of the school that affected the students especially was the remodeling of the cohort system. School counselors and cohort administrators used to be distributed by last name, but Warren Central adopted a new system where a team of counselors and cohort administrators are assigned a certain grade level and cycle with this grade throughout high school until they graduate, after this, the team restarts at the freshman level.
“Back in the day when I was an assistant principal at Stonybrook, we went to that cohort model where I took the sixth graders all the way until their freshman year,” Shepler said. “But by the time they got to the second semester of their sixth grade year, it was like autopilot. We knew all of our students, and we knew how we could help them.”
Although the transition group of students may have been upset by this change, many others believe that it was an appropriate and great change. Administrators have also been happy with this new model, and senior cohort administrator Isang Jacob has already began forming bonds with the incoming freshman from the middle schools. He has recently been visiting the middle schools to get familiar with his new students coming in and getting background from these kids before their get into the high school.
“Well we wanted to get a head start on getting to know the students. I don’t want their first time to see us is when they first step into the building,” Jacob said. “I wanted to give them a look into what the high school is about. I love the new cohort model.”
This year had many successes such as the cohort model and leadership transition to Dr. Tim Hanson. However, the administration hopes to improve the absence policy and furthermore perfect a method to keep track of students. Although the year brought many changes and firsts to students, they continue to bare with the changes and take them professionally, accepting all that has been thrown at them and adapting.