High School West is one of the top rated public schools in New York State. We are certainly lucky to be attending a school with such a high standing in academics, athletics, and the arts. However, despite the quality of the faculty and extracurriculars, here are a few simple ways administration can improve the student experience at Hills West, from a student’s perspective.
Of all of the sports that are played at our school, Varsity Football enjoys the most attendance and fan participation at their games. Earlier this month, Hills East football played a “black out” game, a game that is played at night under a set of rented lights. The tradition has been around at East for years and is quite popular among students. If Hills West were to have even one of these games, it is likely that student support and participation would be even greater. Although our school doesn’t have lights, there are portable lights that can be attained for the event. Most varsity football games are played at midday on Saturdays, and many students do not attend because the games conflict with other personal activities. Friday night games would provide an opportunity for students and the community to make an evening out of an enjoyable, school-sponsored event. This “Friday Night Lights” theme can also be applied to other sports like soccer or lacrosse in the spring. This event would certainly be beneficial for the school teams and the student body in general.
School begins bright and early at 7:19 AM. Because all students need to get themselves ready for the school day, this entails waking up at around 6 AM for most students. If school were to start later, even by just an hour, the student’s experience will improve. Many doctors recommend that teenagers get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep. Unless you were to roll right out of bed and go to school, that would mean going to bed at approximately 9 PM, which is impossible for most students swamped with homework, sports and activities. Sophomore Jake Regensburg says “I get around six and a half hours of sleep per night. And, I would like school to begin later so I can get more sleep,” If school started later the students would have more time to sleep than they do now. They would also have more time to complete their homework, study, and complete any other tasks, which will significantly improve the grades of the students. Also, when students are tired they often find it to be more difficult to pay attention and often do not collaborate with one another as much as they would if they were wide awake. If you don’t believe me, just peer around your first period class and I guarantee you’ll find most of the students and maybe even a teacher or two dozing off. Starting school at a later time will improve the GPA’s of the students as well as promote more social interaction among students.
In regard to learning experience, at Hills West we are very fortunate to be provided with stellar academic opportunities. Still, our learning experience can be greatly improved. One possible improvement is the addition of smart boards to all classes. Smart boards are an excellent learning tool for students and allow faculty to more effectively convey the message that they wish to express to their pupils. English teacher Ms. Kelly said, “If I had a smart board I wouldn’t need to sit at the computer to teach lessons. I also would not need to pretend that I am using a smart board by moving my hands along the screen, as if I was using a smart board,” she continued jokingly. Many math and science classrooms already have smart boards, but more should be distributed to other core subject teachers like Social Studies to use for map work and English for annotations. Another improvement that can be made to learning is the addition of more field trips. Seldom do students in high school get to go on field trips, despite the fact that they are an enjoyable way of engage students in “hands-on” educational activities.
Lastly, students have been told on every 80 degree plus day that our school can’t afford air conditioning. We understand this, but the least the school could do is put fans in the hallways and more in the cafeterias, classrooms, and gyms.
High school is meant to be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, and one way to ensure a good time is by having a great experience at high school.However, as it stands now, most complaints fall on deaf ears as there is no way of efficiently communicating student requests with the administration.