Will the New Homeroom Rules Fix Absence Issues?

Nicholas Howe, Contributing Writer

In early July, Principal Smith sent out an email announcing that the administration would be “changing the content and structure of CMs next school year.” Students haven’t seen homeroom as a necessary class, and due to this lack of accountability, homeroom is set to become pass/fail—and failure to attend homeroom will now be punished with a detention.

While the changes try to solve the issues with homeroom—such as the frequent absences and lack of accountability—in the end, they’re just not going to be enough to make students go. As the summer progressed, more questions began to arise as students wondered what homeroom would be like in the 2018-2019 school year.

When asked about the new homeroom rules, Principal Smith stated that the rules were meant to resolve the issue of the amount of students in the hallways and off campus during homeroom. Principal Smith also mentioned that all of the new rules would not be implemented until early October.

Principal Smith’s reasons for the new rules are understandable, as a lack of attendance leads to a lack of funding, but will these new rules really help increase attendance? I think that there are definitely pros and cons to the new homeroom rules. However, I think some critical issues with the current state of homeroom were not addressed.

In my homeroom, the teachers have to force us to speak.”

— Tori Thompson '20

While the new rules offer a reason to not skip homeroom, there is still no good incentive to go to homeroom. Simply put, students still do not see the purpose of homeroom. “For me, homeroom is about doing homework; discussions in my homeroom are always dead,” says junior Laura Luna. Luna’s experience isn’t uncommon; many homerooms have trouble getting students to participate in lively discussions. “In my homeroom, the teachers have to force us to speak,” adds Tori Thompson ’20. The administration’s idea to incorporate suggested discussion topics doesn’t sound appealing for many, as for lots of students the idea of discussions in homeroom is synonymous with awkward silence.

Trying to get students to interact and bond in homeroom will inevitably fail like it has in the past—to get kids interested in homeroom, the administration will have to come from a completely different angle.  

One such angle was introduced in the email as well: Opportunity to Improve goals, or OTIs, which will be implemented on Thursdays and Fridays. During these periods, students can go to the library, meet with teachers, and essentially use the time how they feel best fit.

“I like that idea,” says Mikayla O’Connor, a sophomore. “I need CM to do my homework!” The OTIs represent a new idea for homeroom which is much better received by students, as many think that it’s what homeroom already sort of was: a chance to do what you need to do. I think that students being able to use the fifteen minutes to do what they need for the rest of the period is what homeroom should have been.

Having small breaks in between your classes is really a lifesaver, as when students have only a four-minute break between one hundred and sixty minutes of class, students can start to fade and end up missing important information. I think that the OTIs will be really beneficial for students when the rules take full effect in October, and think that the new rules represent a good change for homeroom.

This piece also appears in our September 2018 print edition.