From the outside, the only change at Joliet West seems to be the demolition of the security booth, the hallway that connects B and C building and which served as the entrance for late students and parents. However, all students have been introduced to some newly implemented policies, the aim of which is to ensure that JW remains a learning environment and strictly that.
Walking through the hallways during passing period is a hassle by itself and is not including individuals texting and talking on their phones. That will not be the case for this year though, due to the leniency of phones in the hallway decreasing.
This policy allows texting in the hallways and the ability to listen to music with one headphone in, to make it easier for students to be more aware of the individuals around them. In addition to this change, there is also another consequence that students will receive if they are caught with their phones out during class. Teachers now have pink slips to fill out if students receive all three steps (a policy that had been the norm) in one period, these slips will grant them a trip to the Dean and a referral.
These policies were not sprung up suddenly though, Dr. Gibson states that there had been talks of changing the school policies for some time and those conversations focused specifically on tardies and phones, which have been the leading cause of referrals throughout the school year. “The focus [of these policies] is communication and to show that there are benefits to being in class on time, being there every day and being focused on learning.” `These new policies aren’t intended to punish individuals who chose to disobey them, but rather to focus on the positives that will arise if students follow them. Without the issue of phones in the classroom, students now have the ability to benefit from an uninterrupted class period of instruction. On top of the phone policy, there is also the change in hall passes and the music before the bell signaling the end of passing period as well. The hall passes are now color coordinated based on the building that the classroom is in, which will determine if the student is where they are supposed to be or not. The music before the final bell usually would start when there was two minutes left of passing period but this year, it will now sound when there is a minute left. By implementing these new policies in school, Dr. Gibson has high hopes about the changes that can result from this by the end of the school year. “I hope to cut tardies in half and to increase student attendance by 3%.”