The new school year has just begun, ushering in several changes. Some of these changes include limited parking for students, increased graduation requirements resulting in less free periods, and an updated take on the dress code. Rumors are flying about some of these changes, and it has become difficult to tell fact from fiction. Therefore, we took the liberty of talking to Ms. van Putten to clear things up.
Some of the rumors that can be heard around campus are that senior parking has been abolished, there are no planners, and the dress code has changed. These rumors have left some students agitated and confused. Here are some anonymous student opinions on the above problems. “We all know the dress code, but we don’t know the dress code that van Putten and staff are enforcing.” Another student chimes in, “I already bought my own planner because I thought we weren’t getting them; I would have liked one.” Several people have strong opinions about the Senior parking problem “I don’t park there because I don’t want to pay the permit price.” “I have heard many things; I have heard that Senior parking has been diminished. I would definitely be upset if that was the case.” Other students are apprehensive about the new class and zero period policy “Students who have to take extra classes are not taking extra classes because they are interested in the subject, they are taking them because they have to.” Some underclassmen voice their concerns “I am confused, nobody has talked to us about this, does this mean I don’t get a free period Senior year?” “I want to know how many credits we need to graduate and if I have to take a zero period to get those credits.” These issues need to be investigated further which is why we went directly to the Administration Office to get some answers.
Upon entering Ms. Van Putten’s office we began by discussing the planner issue. Last year teachers took note of how many students used their planners, and the results were disappointing. The planners cost the Cougar Club $5,000 to make and distribute to students. When the school board found out that students were not using the planners, they decided that a change needed to occur. Originally Cougar Club only planned to distribute them to the incoming freshmen, but due to student protest planners are currently being sold at the Administration and Counseling offices for $3.
Another contentious issue is the dress code. Although many students claim the dress code has changed, Ms. van Putten assured us that there have only been changes in the way the dress code has been enforced. “I want to find a way to maintain a learning environment, while still honoring the student’s personal style,” states Ms. van Putten. However, this means a more vigilant approach to school dress code presently and in the future. The dress code states that “excessive exposure of the body (breasts, buttocks, midriffs, visible underpants, or bras) is not acceptable.” If the rules are violated a staff member will most likely notify you.
Regarding student parking, about twenty staff parking spaces have been cut due to construction, so student parking has been somewhat reduced. There is no declared Senior parking. The current rate of a parking pass is $20 per semester, which is $20 less than last year. All of the funds from the parking passes go to ASB. So if you enjoy dances you should buy a parking pass.
Concerning graduation requirements and free periods, Ms. van Putten was very clear. For freshmen the World Language requirement has increased from 5 credits to 10 credits, which will be closer to the University of California and private schools recommendation of 30 credits. The Visual and Performing Arts requirement has also increased from 15 to 20 credits so a full semester of both Practical Arts and Fine Arts are required. Apparently the SLVUSD Board policy that 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students take six classes minimum, while 12th graders take five classes minimum has always been in place, but has not been seriously enforced until this year. This measure has been taken to make sure that students have the opportunity to “enroll in all the courses they wish to take,” as Ms. van Putten phrased it.
We hope this article has answered some of your questions. Although change is hard, these changes were made with the students in mind, and might even make this year better than the ones before.
-Celia Hare and Katrina Luque