An Open Letter to SBRHS Administration

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An Open Letter to SBRHS Administration


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Dear Administration,

I would like to write to all of you about the culture change that has been called for as both editor of The Breeze and president of the senior class.  Before I begin, I would like to make clear that this letter is not against the culture change. Rather, this is a constructive piece that would like to give a suggestion on implementing the change. More specifically, this letter will be addressing why there is resistance in the student body against the culture change that can be erased if correct action is taken.

For the four years that I have attended this school, the students have always had an us-versus-them mentality when thinking of administration. This mindset is the only reason why there is any resistance to the proposed adjustment. The cause of this mentality, which is obstructing changing the culture, can be linked to ineffective communication.

The cycle of dislike of the students is fairly uniform.  It starts with a policy instituted by administration, often times with little warning, but generally for a good reason.  Students, not knowing the reason for the change, get angry about the change which leads to a belief that the administration only acts on its own behalf, which fuels the students’ dislike for administration.  This has been seen a variety of times. An example of this was the outrage over the shutting of the windows last year. Most teachers only really open the windows a few days each year. What caused resentment over this change was the fact that the sealing of the windows happened suddenly, with no reason or warning.  This incredibly frustrated the students, with complaints such as “we can’t even open the windows in our own school” going around. It is not just windows, however. Outrage followed the issuing of chromebooks, the parking pass fee, the question of where penny pounds went last year, the changing lunch schedule this year, and perhaps more recently the change in Case Rally script rules.

This process has already taken place with the culture change.  Students find the change to be sudden, do not understand why it was put in place, and do not know the extent of the change.  The cycle of dislike for administration is currently happening once again with this adjustment due to lack of information.

In some cases, communication is present but does not take the best approach of sharing its message.  The email sent about chromebooks shows this. This emails reiterated the rules and stressed the punishment of breaking the rules surrounding chromebooks.  Although the reinstatement of the rules was necessary, the emphasis on punishment was likely not the best approach. Instead, an emphasis on unity: that we are all Blue Raiders who attend this new school and that it is all of our responsibility to maintain our beautiful school and its materials (chromebooks), not only for ourselves but for future Raiders as well.  This is not to say there should be no punishment, but rather that the email could have been an opportunity to promote school unity and carry a greater motivation to adhere to the rules.

I have recognized this problem for a while and I have tried to help out.  With the windows, I interviewed a number of people and was able to find and share the reason why the windows were shut.  I also learned that the teachers were warned about the change and given a reason, but the students were not. I write for The Breeze specifically to cover issues like this in the school and I am surprised how many people read the articles and enjoy the insight.  What I have learned though, that despite the general mentality surround the school, administration acts to do what is right for the school, and people are less upset when they learn the reason for the changes.  However, I am only one person and I can only write so many articles. So what I ask is to actively communicate with the students and keep them in the loop about changes in the school and why they are put in place.  The most recent Raider Read was a step in the right direction, clearing up rumors about Case Rally. If communication like this continues, I promise that as a school, we will be able to make a positive impact on the culture of our school.

 

Sincerely,

Ryan Silverman

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