Principal Kimberly Boldon and her leadership team have created Patriot Time in addition to Homeroom for this school year to enhance students’ social and emotional well-being in an environment of people they trust.
The first Patriot Time was on Oct. 15, and it focused on physical and sexual abuse. The main parts of the presentation talked about how to spot abuse, and what to do in a situation of abuse. Junior Yuvi Singh thought that the presentation wasn’t anything that he hadn’t heard before. “I already knew all of the information that they gave us. We learn about that stuff in health class,” Singh said.
The new concept of Patriot Time is designed to replace the unsuccessful wellness initiative of Homeroom in previous years. “Homerooms were supposed to be a similar structure for using the time to focus in on social and emotional [well-being]. But, we kept hearing from students and staff that it just wasn’t working well for a number of reasons,” Boldon said.
The reasoning behind this change was to allow for a stronger relationship between the teacher and the students in order to tackle some of the harder topics. “We wanted to do it in a more organic way where students already know their teachers… to make sure students felt comfortable in some of the topics that we would be discussing,” Boldon said.
While Patriot Time is taking over a major aspect of the previous Homeroom times, it is not entirely replacing the time-old tradition. “This year it’s an administrative homeroom. So, there are different times in the year where we’re required to hand out report cards, we’re required to give you information that is needed in a specific period of time, so the homerooms are designed to take care of all that administrative stuff,” Boldon said.
Patriot Time is set to place take at least twice a month and will be attached to second period. While the topics can deal with overarching wellness ideas, the administration is prepared to spring into the conversation whenever need be in response to an impactful event. “We need to be responsive to how some big events sometimes happen in our community that we’re able to say ok here we’re going to go into Patriot Time and have a lesson around this,” Boldon said.
The general opinion with students seems to be consistent with what the administration has been observing. Senior Taylor Geier expressed her gratitude for more of an open environment compared to the previous closed off ambiance. “I think it’s better to attach it to a class because we see those people and teacher everyday so we are more comfortable opening up and talking about how we are doing,” Geier said.
Not every student is as on board with the new situation, though. Junior Dylan Horkan conveyed his disbelief that Patriot Time will be any more effective than Homeroom. “I don’t understand how Patriot Time will actually be any more successful than Homeroom. Not much has changed in order to warrant a significant difference,” Horkan said.
Despite the doubts, the administration is hopeful that Patriot Time will be a success. One of their main priorities is to support their students and they believe this is another illustration of that ideal. “I hope that it will also allow students to know [that] we are here to support because school and life can be challenging…. [We want] to give some really practical resources that students can go to,” Boldon said.