ARLINGTON >> Earlier this month, Arlington Memorial Middle and High School Principal Tim Stewart presented the results of a student survey about the climate at the school, in which students said they want to use their phones in school and that their parents want more communication.
Seventy-six students in grades six through 12 were polled during the process. The population of AMHS during the last school year was 213.
"There were a lot of comments about more hands-on learning," said Stewart, "I'm pleased to say that we have two more woodworking classes this year. As far as the (Southwest Vermont Career Development Center) goes, this year we have 19 kids attending the CDC, compared to six or seven last year."
He also said that many parents would have preferred to be let known sooner when their students are struggling, not when progress reports come out, which is often too late. Stewart said, to that end, teachers have been calling home more often this year. He added that the parent portal on AMHS's website also has a lot of good information for parents. "Clearly more information was wanted, and not always emails, more phone calls," he said, "We're working on that."
Questions about support services all came back very favorable, said Stewart. Even so, the school will be implementing some new policies for the guidance department. He said the department will now be responsible for "flooding" the school's website with information about college visits, scholarships, and more. Senior parents will also be able to set up meetings with the guidance office to discuss the future plans of their children.
"One issue that came up a lot that I will not be changing my mind on is the cell phone issue," said Stewart, "When we went from texting in between every class to only during break and at lunch, we saw a big difference in this school. I'm sorry to the people out there, but I've told students, we have phones throughout the school, we have phones in the office. Obviously if there's an emergency and you need to get in touch, parents can call the front office and leave messages. We will get them to them in a way that's not disruptive to class."
"A lot of people think they should be able to text their child when they want," he said, "but it's a distraction in the classroom."
"I want to keep doing the survey every year, because I really think there are valuable thoughts and comments that come from people," said Stewart, "Overall, I'm glad we did it."
Arlington School Board meetings are filmed by Greater Northshire Access Television, and recordings are available on the website, gnat-tv.org.
Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.