Two new changes at could be a rude awakening to students who are habitually late for homeroom and students who see In School Suspension (ISS) as a slap on the wrist for disciplinary punishment.
Though school will start and end at the same times as last year, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the school has decided to "borrow an idea" from other Rhode Island schools to deter habitually late students. School officials at Mt. Hope, like other schools around the state, have decided to move the homeroom period from first thing in the morning to in between first and second period.
"Some students have the concept in their minds that it's comfortable to miss homeroom and come in a little late because it’s 'only' homeroom," said Principal Donald Rebello.
Beginning this year, students will be expected to be in their first class of the day at 8 a.m. If they are late to arrive to school, they will not only miss portions of the lecture, but will also receive detention.
"School is school," Rebello said. "Students are required to be here at 8 a.m."
Rebello said that he hopes that implementing this change will deter the concept that homeroom is not all that important.
Also, with this year's school budget challenges, which Rebello says "won’t go away," comes new shifts in classes and faculty.
While the school has made clear cuts in several elective areas including the and the , school officials recently announced that the budget has also forced cuts for in-school disciplinary actions.
As of this year, there will be no more In School Suspension (ISS). ISS, as utilized over the past few years, was a form of punishment for moderate disciplinary infractions, including using obscene language, plagiarism, cutting office detention, and leaving school grounds without a dismissal. ISS was enforced by allowing the student to attend school, but to solely do classwork in the "ISS room" where the student could not socialize with others.
But according to Rebello, in order to maintain other programs, they had to get rid of it because of budget restrictions.
"It was a tough choice but it had to be made," Rebello said. "We had to find a way to reduce the budget by reducing the impact in the classroom so we cut ISS."
Though there will now only be office detention and out of school suspension, Rebello said that the school will adjust the discipline by types of infraction.
"We may be using out of school suspension a little bit more," he said, "but we won't give a student out of school suspension for a minor act."
Rebello also notes that the school may begin utilizing the extended day program to enforce more extended periods of detention instead of ISS.