New year, new changes

        With the start of the new 2018-19 school year, students at Warren Central High School were introduced to a variety of new policies for before, during and after the school day. Because Warren Central is one of the busiest high schools in the state of Indiana, with over 10 thousand visitors every year, administration brought upon changes to better execute proper safety and security measures. 

        One of the changes brought about this school year is that it will be enforced for students wear their IDs at all times. Previously, students were asked to wear their IDs daily, but this policy was not enforced as much as compared to this year. Now, IDs are used for getting lunches, checking out books in the Mediaplex and admittance to after school activities such as dances and athletic activities. To help enforce this new procedure, deans will be conducting ID checks during English classes to make sure that students both have their ID and also are wearing it on their person.

        “It’s amazing to go out to the Commons every day and see hundreds of students, scanning, and finding out who does or does not belong,” Principal Rich Shepler said. “They really stand out and they will stand out even more with everyone complying with the idea of wearing their ID. It’s a way to let us know who is in the building and who shouldn’t be.”

        Another change brought about is the new 10-30-10 rule. During the first and last ten   minutes of class, students are not allowed passes out of class unless a teacher determines that it is urgent. By taking away the passes immediately after the first bell, there are more students in class directly after the bell and fewer students wandering the halls. 

        “The first 10 minutes are critical for those teachers to start class and utilize all 50 minutes of instruction,” Shelpler said. 

        In addition to the 10-30-10 rule, the tardy policy has been updated to reduce the amount of students out of class and increase the daily attendance of students. Warren Central High School is working with James Taylor, Warren Township’s director of student services, Reach for Youth, an association for assisting families and preventing juvenile delinquency, as well as other agencies. The purpose of these partnerships is to give families at Warren assistance for students who are chronically absent or tardy. 

        “The bottom line is for all kids to be in class on time,” Shepler said. “Some students might not value their education enough to get there on time every day, every period. They are going to get help and assistance in order to value education more.”

With the new policy, there are steps taken in order to get students to class in time. After the fifth absence or tardy, teachers are to make contact home via mail, phone call or email to find out what is the best way to help with the situation. After the fifth absence, it is to be turned to admin, and then the process is started to place the individual and their families with agencies like Reach For Youth who will then have meetings Saturdays or after school. However, if that does not work, the prosecutor’s office will get involved.

        There is also an 8th period that will take place beginning after school. Students will go home at their 2:20 dismissal or if they are staying after for an athletic or school sponsored activity, they will report to the West Cafeteria. Staff members have either meetings, time to collaborate with other teachers or time to catch up on grading and lesson plans. With placing all of the students who stay after 2:20 into one large area, the worry for supervision is greatly reduced from teachers or staff and is instead focused on one specific place. Students are offered after school meals in the cafeteria,  allowing them to eat before games or school activities and once a teacher, coach or sponsor is able to pick them up, the students are released. 

        Also brought about was the addition of the three tier bus system, there have been new start times across the district for all levels of schools. Prior to this change, school was released at 2:45 and when some students would go home, some students would wait for over an hour for a bus to arrive and take them home. Because of a shortage of bus drivers in the township and state of Indiana, there were not enough drivers to run the routes to take all bus riders home at 2:45.

        “When your child is supposed to be home 99.99 percent of the time they will be home at that time. The three-tier has allowed us to utilize those drivers a lot better and take care of our students in a timely manner,” Shepler said. 

Overall, the Warren Central administration views these changes as good decisions and think that overall, so far this school year, they are going well. 

         “We are very pleased that we started this year in the direction we are going,” Shepler said.