Changes for the 2011-2012 School Year
by Abigail Pitts
New Vice Principals: Mr. Mitchell and JT Cameron.
This 2011 school year, changes have been made to Santiago in many aspects.
From the first day of school, the change in the bell has been evident to all students who attended Santiago in previous years. Principal Reginald Thompkins decided that Santiago needed a new bell, citing as the reason that the former bell was “disruptive” and Santiago needed “something softer.”
“I have received both positive and negative feedback,” Thompkins says of the bell. For those teachers and students who dislike this sound, Thompkins says that “we are not married to it.” This new bell was the only other option with Santiago’s current bell system, but Thompkins says other options are still being explored, and it could change again.
Students may also have noticed the new rule at school this year — parents may not drop off items at the front desk for students. “The front desk turned into a delivery system,” says Thompkins. In addition to all of her other duties, handing out kids’ forgotten items was too much for Cathy Dabney at the desk. “I was calling 50 kids a day,” says Dabney. This was in addition to her other duties, including answering phones, directing parents, managing the copy center, helping substitutes, relaying messages to and from teachers and security, inputting field trip information, and taking care of keys.
Assistant Principal Sarah Ragusa assures that this change “will not affect students” adding that, “they will find other ways to get their lunches.” Students are allowed go out to the parking lot and have their parents hand their items directly to them.
Some staff members are occupying new roles this year, including former football coach and anatomy teacher Steve Mitchell, who is now the Athletic Director, and the former Athletic Director JT Cameron, who is now filling the assistant principal position left by Dr. John Hopping. Hopping moved to Lakeside High School this year to be the principal. Santiago also has a new Activities Director, Petria Gonzalez, who comes to Santiago from Diamond Bar High School. Gonzalez has felt very welcomed, and remarked that Santiago has, “a spirited group of students.”
Three teachers have joined the Santiago staff: biology teacher Caroline Diaz, language arts teacher Sarah Peterson, and chemistry teacher Dr. Branton Lauchman, who previously taught at Santiago and has now returned after spending a few years at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.
Students may also have noticed a greater push for school spirit this year. Thompkins is hoping to drive up pride in the school, and encourage students to feel connected to Santiago. “This isn’t a problem,” he says, “but we want it to be better.” Because the school is academically number one and the top ranked traditional school in the district, Thompkins says that he knows that “the needs of the students are being met.” These achievements give even more reasons to Santiago students to feel engaged in their school.
-Abigail Pitts, Copy Editor