Students, staff offer advice for improvement

As year 2017-2018 at WGHS comes to a close, students and staff reflect on the mistakes of the past and look to improve them for the future.

Students describe the 17-18 year in one word:

Junior Deanna Simon said, “boring.”

Senior Marcus Thompson said, “bittersweet.”

Junior Charlie Richardson said, “stressful.”

Senior Grace Behrle said, “exasperating.”

An anonymous student said, “Long. (There has) been too much homework nonstop.”

Another said, “Progressive. We have a school district equity statement and committed school towards equity.”

Teacher in the English department, Emily Pott, said the biggest problem at the school to be addressed are “cell phones. They need to make their phone work for them rather than working for their phone… Students need to challenge themselves to think in the moment.”

Counselor Ken Winingham said the school needs to improve “Communicating expectations consistently…One teacher expects something totally different from another teacher, and it’s hard for the kids.”

“To the adults who say we are too naive, too idealistic, too inexperienced and that we will not get this done: we would like nothing more to be in our classrooms right now,” Elliot Williams said to the students who walked out to protest gun laws and the administration who watched to make sure everyone is safe on Wednesday, March 14. Photo by Riley Mullgardt

From a student perspective, on the other hand, senior Lidia Goben said, “When we do walk-outs or protests, and we have discussions with the principals, they’ll say…‘yeah we’ll fix that; we’ll get on it’… but they never change anything.”

Similarly, sophomore Hannah Brown said, “Things are not taken seriously…Bullying is not taken seriously. I think the administration needs to stay more on top of things instead of pushing everything to the side, saying they don’t have evidence.”

Assistant principal John Raimondo said, “We are not only addressing (issues) when they happen, but (asking) how do we prevent them? How do we educate our students and our staff to make sure that you know we are doing a lot of stuff upfront that would make this a welcoming, inclusive school?”

Students were able to share their opinion anonymously on an ECHO survey. The questions asked about problems that need to be addressed to improve the school.

Two anonymous students think the most significant problem in the school right now is racism.

One student said, “I think that we need to talk about it more, just have conversation. Also, non-minorities need to (speak up).”

Another student who discussed racism said that addressing this problem will “make WGHS feel like more of a community instead of chopped up cliques.”

Multiple students said a substantial problem at school is safety(of students).

The respondent said, “I feel safe at Webster, but it’s concerning that so many people can sneak in and out of the school. I feel like anyone can just walk on in. I like the buzzer system idea.”

Assistant principal John Raimondo said, “This year we are really focusing on making sure that the school is as safe as it can be… We have developed a written plan… improving and updating it, making sure doors are locked/who’s checking them… We already have (a system) for adults… They have to run their driver’s license through to make sure they don’t have any previous arrests or anything like that.”

Whether improvement or not, there are many staff changes being made for next year. Dr. Jon Clark will retire from his position as principal, his place being taken by former Lafayette High School associate principal Dr. Matthew Irvin.

In addition, Dr. John Raimondo will retire from his position as assistant principal.

Dwight Kirksey, former interim assistant principal, will take his place as assistant principal.

Clark expressed, “I always worry about keeping WGHS a safe place for everyone.  In saying that, I want to make sure students feel safe and supportive of each other.  Respecting our diverse student body is essential—we learn from everyone, and it is my hope that we hear all voices.”

Despite the need for improvement in our school, Clark said, “I’ll always love WGHS and the WG community.  I’m very proud of the amazing staff, students, and community. It’s a very special place for me. The best things about WGHS are the relationships that we have built with each other.”

Josie Krueger – Entertainment Editor

This is Josie Krueger’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized for her work by JournalismSTL and MIPA.

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