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Ridgefield High Schoolers Propose Open Campus

An open campus would allow students to leave and return to campus during unassigned periods of 90 minutes or more -- currently, students are allowed to arrive late or leave early from school if they have free periods at those times.

Principal Jeffrey Jaslow said the idea of an open campus has been floating around for a while, but it's always died out before the complete Board of Education approval.

So this is as far as it's ever gotten.

Students, teachers and members of the administration stood before the school board Monday night to propose officially the open campus, one in which high school seniors would be allowed to leave and return to the school when they have a free slot in their schedules.

The board seemed conducive to the idea, and the details provided by student representatives Sam Gravitte and Allie Schiffer proved thorough and comprehensive.

School Superintendent Deborah Low commended the students' efforts.

"The students and faculty have done an excellent job in putting together the proposal," Low said, "no matter the outcome."

The board didn't vote Monday but discussed the possibility of an open campus.

"Every year," high school Principal Jeffrey Jaslow said, "students ask, 'What about open campus?'"

"I tell them they need to come up with a thoughtful proposal, and it hasn't gone very far," Jaslow continued, "but this year, the students followed through."

An open campus would allow students to leave and return to campus during unassigned periods of 90 minutes or more -- currently, students are allowed to arrive late or leave early from school if they have free periods at those times.

Student President Schiffer said the additional freedom would encourage responsibility and accountability, as well as maturity and independence.

"We see this as an opportunity to encourage responsibility," Schiffer said, "not to encourage negative behavior."

The permission for open campus privileges would depend on a number of factors, including parental approval, a minimum GPA of 2.5, senior status and a minimum number of tardies and unexcused absences.

"There will be clear protocol and consequences," Gravitte said. "We need to treat each student on an individual level rather than apply blanket policies."

Student Life Coordinator Emily Kilbourn supported the students' efforts philosophically.

"This moves us from a punitive model to an incentive model," Kilbourn said. "Students meet a certain standard of excellence and get something in return."

Members of the Board showed concerns for the "worst case scenario" of a student getting hurt or in trouble off campus, and supporters of the cause assured that careful records would be kept students would always be accounted for.

The Board of Education will likely vote on the matter in the middle of May during the next scheduled meeting.

Christine E. April 26, 2012 at 03:20 AM
You assume I used my time unproductively. So, tell me...did you ask your school to give you more work at 17? Probably not. When you were in college, did you take extra classes even though you met your credit requirements for gradution? Probably not. So please, spare me the "you only did tthe bare minimum" stuff. And, out of curiosity,. why do you .think that teachers just sit there? Free periods arent supervised study halls
Christine E. April 26, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Slm... How old do you think i am... 12?
sebastian dangerfield April 26, 2012 at 04:57 AM
lynn--are they mutually exclusive? you cant have higher test scores and an open campus. So--a closed campus has drugs and, according to you, an unsatisfactory test score result. So, you want to keep it the same. Great idea. And simnrc and responsibility--there are lots of free lectures and seminars at the library and around the community---can I conclude that you go to each and every one of them? Because attending 6 hours of classes a day is not enough, --they should be taking advantage of all resources , like you all do? This concept of treating students with a totally hypocritical attitude is troubling. Lynn just wants to vent at what she sees problems in the school---thats fine, lynn. Hope that they get solved, but I dont see the connection between wanting a retain a closed campus and what things you want changed. Are you saying an open campus will result in worse scores and more drugs? Any evidence to support that concept? To me it comes down to --the cafeteria will be less crowded--and kids who are in adolescence might be able to sleep more and experieince a bit more of the freedom that will come with college and life. requiring a 3.0 gpa just means that kids may try harder, or the ones who already have that gpa will have their sense of responsibility rewarded.
Lynn C April 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM
After reading the proposal, I noticed that the students did address the traffic and driving concerns. I was wondering if any research has been done to see if there is any correlation between "open campuses" and increased drug/alcohol abuse, lower or higher test scores, more traffic violations or accidents? These issues do not seem to be presented in the proposal. It is my opinion that the BOE and parents would need to do more research before making a final decision
Lynn C April 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Luca, This is a forum for residents to express concerns and share opinions, not for personal attacks.

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