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At Mt. Hope High, In-School Suspension Is Out, Stricter Start Times Are In

Two significant changes may impact student discipline at Mt. Hope High School.

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. 

Esther Trneny August 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Don't kids get detention if they're late for homeroom? What happens in homeroom that's so much more important than what happens in a lesson, that this new plan justifies kids missing part of a lesson?
Antonio A Teixeira August 18, 2011 at 02:22 PM
It is too bad that the Homebuilding Program that existed for nearly 40 years and the Playschool that served a great purpose as alternatives for students are no longer options. I do understand that there a need to bumps up mathematical skills but much of that could have been accomplished through those two disciplines. The students would gained multiple skills that could be used as life skills, instead of focusing on classroom math - the staff is there.
Giordano Bruno August 19, 2011 at 02:19 PM
I disagree with this new policy. Just enforce the detention policy for those that are not at school for the 8 o.clock start.Keep homeroom at the beginning of the school day!!
Sue Moreira August 20, 2011 at 05:39 AM
I too, can't understand why you are cutting the Homebuilding Program! This program has been very beneficial to graduates of Mt. Hope High School over the years and I have seen many students of this program use these skill for their permanent income as well as using these skills to survive in a time when it is difficulty to find any job. These are craftsmen equal to the electrician, plumber, (carpenter), etc. Can you shingle a roof, install drywall, install cabinets, insulate a house, install hardwood floors, frame a house, completely build a house or a garage? Let's not short change the value of these craftsmen and in actuality, hurt us financially?? When these carpenters become short in supply, our prices for these skilled people will go up considerably. They are a vital part of any construction job!!! Think of the people who would be unemployed if we didn't have these people. Most craftsmen from past generations had parents and/or grandparents who taught them, but they don't have many of these people available now to teach them. This is just another loss to Rhode Island of skilled people.
Diana Campbell August 22, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Just to clarify: The school district does not take the cutting of any program lightly. The Homebuilding program was cut after much deliberation and analysis. In the spring, there was a meeting with the program's Advisory Board (which is separate from the school) and it was determined that the program would be held in abeyance for a year, since there was a decline in student enrollment. This low enrollment has been the case for the past three years. Since the district is responsible for 3/5’s of the teaching position, it could not justify running the program with so few students. Should enrollments and interest go up, we will reconsider this decision.

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