By: Trinity Bester, Ti’Aisha Gray, and Jasiah Nelums
Carnell Smith is changing Scott everywhere and every way he can, for the better.
“One, attendance rate needs to be higher,” he says, pointing to higher test scores, “It’s a direct correlation with learning; if you’re not in school you’re not learning.”
His goal is a 95% attendance rate.
Dr.Smith would also like to see students taking education more seriously.
“I would like to see effort applied to the work, not giving up just because you don’t like the teacher, or being cool with the teacher and having an attitude with doing the work,” he says.
“Everybody knows Scott as the cool school, it’s live here, we’re known for turning up, but what they don’t know is that academics are also important here. Hall sweeps are the only way, it seems, to get the students to class on time.”
Students have concerns about some of the changes Dr.Smith is making. A big change they did not like was the cancellation of band. Dr. Smith reportedly made these decisions with the band because he didn’t like the long practice hours and the kids in the hallways after school.
“I feel as if there are a lot of rumors about Dr. Smith around the school and it’s all coming from change. Yeah, I want change but, [canceling] band was never an option.” Dr. Smith said,“ What I’m finding out is that there are a lot of rumors going around about me and what I am planning to do for this school, and people are afraid of change so they are try to get rid of.”
Dr. Smith was then asked if he was aware of the rumor about band being canceled. “Yes, I don’t wish to elaborate on that. I never wanted to or would think about it. The band is the soul of school, and the heartbeat of the community,” He then stated “that change is needed for the future.”
No change equals no future.
We then asked, what were his thought about the students holding an organized civil protest against his changes “I don’t understand why it is necessary for them to have a protest! The issues between the band being canceled and the football coaches being fired were all adult problems, and something that adults will handle.’’
Reportedly, football players were left unsupervised in the locker room after practice hours and an incident occurred which lead to the decision of firing football coaches.
When asked about the football situation, Amerah Archer, science teacher, said “It is very silly to do this protest. He [Dr. Smith] is in a situation of leadership. And it’s not all about him, it came from more than one person. It’s a committee of people. I don’t believe they have the whole story, they are just assuming. If I were the principal in this situation I would try to get them to understand and to think logically and try to calm them down. I believe in freedom of speech, but there is no point in it if you aren’t making sense. Before their protest they should have sat down and had a conversation about the situation instead of being mad at Dr.Smith.”
According to football and band members, Dr. Smith never took the initiative and time to sit down and talk to them.
“We are protesting against him because he decided it was a good idea to fire most of the football coaches just because we were playing around in the locker room and one of our former teammates got his glasses broken,” one player said.
According to a members of the football team,it is not wrong to protest against a principal if he is doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
They were asked if they were left unsupervised at anytime.
“We were left unsupervised for 10 minutes tops after practice while the coaches were talking.”
Then they were asked if they think Dr.Smith fired their coaches because they were on a losing streak and need to win for once.
“No, we do not believe that he’s doing that because of our losing streak. We think he is doing that just to show that he’s in charge and to show that he’s taking over.”
Dr.Smith has also instituted a new phone policy where teachers can get in trouble if a student has a phone face down on their desk. Cell phones are only allowed during class switch times and during lunch. Other than that, they can’t be visible.
“It’s a district policy of cell phone usages,” Dr.Smith said. “ Multi-tasking isn’t possible. It really just distracts you. In a classroom, only teachers can give you the permission to use your phone. It seems disrespectful to not follow their directions of putting it up even if you’re not using it. Respect is key. In between bells, use is okay, but only then. Not if you’re just in the hallway. Changing is hard, but you have to get used to it. Those who adapt will be future leaders.”
It seems to be a hassle with teachers rewriting lesson plans to fit in the fact that their students need to use their cell phones for school related projects.
“If I want students to be able to use their own technology in my classroom, I have to have it written in my lesson plans. For classes such as Public Speaking and Journalism, each student needs access to the internet on most days. I only have seven computers in my classroom and I have more than twice as many students. Without the use of personal technology, we would be out of luck,” said Molli Maulucci, teacher.
Many people think administrators are so strict on the cell phone rule because it’s a distraction. You often see students talking or texting, not doing school work. Maybe Dr. Smith is right about the cell phone policy, but that’s a big hassle on teachers.
As long as students are not causing problems, many students think they should be able to use their phones as much as they want outside of the classroom.The only time students should be allowed to use their cell phone is when they have free time. Cameron Thomas, freshman, says he thinks students “should be able to use them to look up important information”.
However, if an administrator walks in the classroom and phones are out during instructional time when they are not supposed to be, it is a problem that needs to be fixed.
Whether we like it or not, there are sure to be changes for Jesup W. Scott High School.