School changes bring safety and slumber

By Henry Pastorino

Staff Writer
 
Parkrose High School welcomes an improved school safety policy and a later start time for the 2016-17 school year


 This fall, Parkrose High School students started class at a new 8:25 a.m. time and entered the school doors using a new security system.

From last year’s start time of 7:50, first period now begins 35 minutes later, a welcome change for many students. School now ends at 3:20 p.m. instead of 2:45.
Parkrose students and staff have also noticed an improved school security system. Outside doors now are locked the majority of the time, and doorbell buzzers with cameras into the front office are used to allow students and visitors into the school.
The district started looking into a new security system two years ago. According to Principal Molly Ouche, Assistant Superintendent Michael Lopes took the lead and worked on the logistics last year, communicating to parents, staff and administrators with the roll out this year.
With multiple incidents of strangers being inside the high school, some believe the change to be an important one.
The new system helps ensure security during incidents such as the lock-out at the assembly the first week of school. A lock-out is when something is going on in the local area and the school needs to be secured for student safety.
“I think that was an excellent example of why a system like that is important,” English teacher Jennifer Newton said.
The other change — a new schedule — reflects studies showing that teenagers, depending on their age, need at least eight to nine hours of sleep. However, studies have also shown that teens only average seven hours of sleep.
“I think [the school time] benefits the students who stay up later so they can do homework. But it also lets them sleep in later if they go to bed earlier and give them extra energy for the day,” freshman Mychal Van Horn said.
Many Parkrose High School students agree with Vanhorn. Others, like senior Sarah Bonilla, have said that the 8:25 start time makes it harder to do things later in the day. Sports, extracurricular activities and homework all extend the length of the school day.
“I don’t really like it just because I want to start my day earlier so that I get out and have to do things,” Bonilla said.
Many teachers appreciate the new start time.
“That half and hour really makes a difference,” Newton said. “Kids are more awake. I am not seeing the tardiness I was, and it certainly is making a positive impact on my upperclassmen, especially those who have jobs. As a morning person, I am able to get more done in the morning, not having to get up at 5 a.m.”

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