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Administration stuck: Help or no help administration scrutinized

Staples High School

Cate Casparius ’19

In an attempt to please the students and parents of Staples High School, the administration seems to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

I have an incredible amount of respect and empathy for James D’Amico taking the role of head principal at a school recovering from a prior year of loss, sadness and shock. What I am able to do that others seem unable to do is acknowledge the efforts made by this new principal and staff to improve the school through making changes.

Maybe it’s because there is a new principal and I’m expecting some sort of ‘change,’ or maybe I am just paying closer attention to what is going on in school, but this year all I’ve been hearing is how everyone is “so stressed” and how the school doesn’t do “anything” to help the stress levels students endure.

High school is competitive because it’s what propels you to college. It is a stressful environment, and I think something would be wrong if it wasn’t. It is no secret everyone tries to pack their schedules with the hardest classes that will look most appealing to colleges in hopes of having a successful future, but for one to be successful working hard is required, and stress follows hard work.

What students and parents aren’t understanding is that if they sign up for too much that they can’t handle, then yes they WILL be stressed and they WILL be overwhelmed. It is inevitable. As a student who takes honors courses and participates in three seasons of sports, I can relate to the stress that other students may be facing. It is hard to manage the homework loads and sport events; however, I am aware that I choose to play these sports so it’s my responsibility to keep up and not complain.

When students go home I imagine, from what I hear in the halls, that they must be lamenting to their parents explaining how stressed out they are, “oh the workload is so much, it’s not fair” or “oh midterms are too much for me, it’s not fair.” The parents may think the the administration is not doing enough to make Staples a less stressed environment for their kids therefore leading the families to blame the school for the stress endured.

In an effort to reduce stress for students, D’Amico modified the midterm schedule implementing 30 extra minutes in between exams trying to provide students with multiple stress relieving activities and opened up the cafeteria. Many students did not like the change and complained.

I wonder if people are just innately opposed to change. I noticed that before students even gave the modified schedule a try, or tried to understand why D’Amico did this, many jumped to conclusions.

What I don’t understand is change was what people wanted, a change that made a clear effort to help reduce stress. Implementing these changes was an effort to reduce complaints and to help improve stress levels, but so many people were opposed to the new schedule before experiencing it.

Another change considered to reduce stress by D’Amico was block scheduling for next year. Although I do have to admit, 4 classes a day, each extended times, seems like it would be dreadful, it has been proven to be very successful and well liked at schools in the area that do use this alternative scheduling. Block scheduling is recognized as reducing stress due to the lessened workload because each class happens every other day.

When word got out of this potential idea, people started to grumble. No one wanted to give this new schedule a chance just like the midterm schedule. I even think the idea was later thrown out. I believe no one was open to it because they are scared/not open minded to change even though it’s what they originally complained for.

How is the administration ever supposed to implement innovative strategies when students and parents don’t give their efforts a chance? How is D’Amico supposed to make a beneficial difference if every time he gives it a go there is a negative reaction? I think students and parents should trust in the administration at Staples and let them provide the change they are looking for.

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