Privileges for Sanborn Students...Coming Soon?

This article recently appeared in our school newspaper, the Sanborn Voice:


I would like to start a privilege system at Sanborn next year. I often hear the complaint from students, parents, and teachers that we have a lot of rules and restrictions at Sanborn. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a system whereby you could earn the right to have certain privileges? I think such a system would help us improve our school culture and climate. It would give students something to work hard for, and it would provide a reward to students who have earned the right to have some privileges.

Of course, to start this process, the first logical question is, what should we put in place for privileges at Sanborn? I’ve spent time this fall talking to a lot of students and student groups. Here are the most popular responses I always seem to get. Please keep in mind that at this point, these are student-generated ideas. We haven’t turned these into a formal list of privileges yet. In fact, I haven’t even taken an official opinion yet on any of these:

1. Allow students to have a “free block” off in the middle of the day. Currently, free blocks are only allowed for seniors and only for blocks 1 or 6. With a potential free block in the middle of the day, students could be allowed to work with a teacher of their choosing, go to the library, or go to the cafeteria.
2. Allow for open campus, especially during lunch. This is always a popular response. Students want the ability to be able to leave for lunch. I have a hard time with this one only in that lunch is so short and it may cause students to speed or be late to their next class.
3. Offer preferential parking. Some students would like the opportunity to have an assigned parking area close to the gymnasium, the exit, or in the front of the building.
4. Offer study halls. Students generally would like to have an opportunity to work on things during the day, especially if they have busy after-school schedules with work, clubs, or sports.
5. Create a senior “lunch lounge” with couches, tables, perhaps a big-screen television, and a pool table.
6. Offer discounts on admissions to dances, plays, and sporting events.

The next logical question in this process is, how do you get these privileges? We will need to work as a community to answer this question. It stands to reason that the logical answer is that it should be based on both academic performance and a demonstration of good behavior. There should be benchmarks set for each privilege that we want to offer. Some privileges may have lower or higher benchmarks than others. There should also be a system for the school to be able to suspend and reinstate privileges for students during the year if the student has a bad academic quarter.

I am excited by these discussions. I do believe it will help us improve our school culture for all. Speaking of school culture, next month I will be asking each of you to take a quick school climate survey on computers. This survey is being conducted as a way to identify what students like and don’t like about our school. There will be opportunities for YOU to have a voice in how we work to improve our school. I hope when the time comes you help me by providing me appropriate feedback on this survey. Together, we will work for a better Sanborn.

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