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School Board Develops Plan to Motivate Notoriously Lazy Students

Brendan Lordan, '17, Staff Writer

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Following a major campaign to increase motivation in students, the school board has decided to enforce several changes to target areas where Strath Haven Students are lacking. They have decided to raise the failing level for several classes to a B+. All electives and the majority of core classes will follow this new standard, effective this following school year. Any student whose end year or mid-year average is below a 90 will be made to repeat the class and any grade in the A- range will result in the notification of the parents of the lagging student. Director of Student Motivation, Jan Michaelson, says that she understands the worry about this change, but believes that Strath Haven students are more than ready for the uptick in expectations. “The students already hold themselves to this standard,” said Michaelson in response to a question in a March school board meeting, “It’s just a matter of setting it as a firm rule.”

Strath Haven High School has always demanded excellence from its students in every form and, to many, this is seen as a natural conclusion. After all, students regularly state that they failed a test after receiving an 89 percent, so the school district is simply converting this community mindset into legitimized rules and on paper documentation. Now when students exclaim that their efforts on that essay are sure to get them a failing grade, they will be accurate and truthful instead of exaggerating. Michaelson cited a five-year plan in the same March meeting that she believes should “produce the type of success that every [Strath] Haven student has the potential for.” She noted the serious lack of extracurriculars that local high school students have taken part in and encouraged upcoming freshman to “get involved”, “have fun,” and “maintain a significant repertoire of college-credible activities that will make you more appealing in a professional and academic setting.” Freshman must immediately be made aware of the impact choices like joining chess club will have for them in the long run. Looking as far as medical school or graduate educations, these types of decisions on extracurricular involvement may be the difference between an Ivy League acceptance or deferral. Haven alumni recalls one of these influential moments stating, “If I hadn’t decided to join Speech and Debate I probably would not be attending such an amazing institution for my tenth year of posthigh school education.” The school has recently made it their top priority to identify how to increase this sense of awareness as early as possible. While currently freshman are experiencing the realization of more schooling and stress over applications, the school district hopes to incorporate the middle school into this enriching experience as well. Students are never too young to start preparing for their futures.

Addressing some major concerns that students had, Michaelson announced the creation of a sixth, seventh and eighth block where students can de-stress, study with friends, and slowly drown under a mountain of homework and expectations in a quiet, monitored setting. These blocks will continue into the night, letting students who wish to fail to return home for sleep while others can utilize the late hours to continue working. By 2020, the school hopes to cut down on productivity-hindering activities like talking, eating, and sleeping, as well as establishing a 25th hour of the day purely dedicated to student enrichment. “Just think of how much more we’ll learn together,” said Michaelson at the end of her presentation. The plan was received well and the school board approved the changes before addressing the issue of rising rates of depression and anxiety among students, the cause of which they could not determine.

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School Board Develops Plan to Motivate Notoriously Lazy Students