Changes in East

Varun Udayar, Staff Writer

Changes and Olathe East have always been synonymous; they’ve happened a number of times through the years and they happen at every high school.  On a more local level, there’s been major changes at our very own Olathe East- the morning announcements have been removed and there have been many conversations among students about advisory and its validity. The removal of announcements was a monumental change and many students at Olathe East feel very strongly about another point of contention: advisory. The question is how do they feel? Many concerned students and administrators commented on their thoughts and feelings about these changes and insight on changes coming up.

 Two students- Jon Horton and Jackson Barrington, both student athletes and sophomores, spoke about how they felt about recent changes and changes that were proposed.

 About how he felt about advisory, Jon said, “I think that there are some things that we need to get done that the school board gives us that can only be done in that time.”

 “Fifteen-minute passing periods seems a lot less productive,” Jackson stated as he narrowed down appropriate replacements for advisory.

Both Jon and Jackson agreed advisory isn’t perfect, but having it is better than getting rid of it.

Both students agreed that the removal of advisory was warranted and for the better. Almost every student that was interviewed didn’t seem to know what the replacement was for morning announcements.

Teachers Keith Larkin and  William Plaschke both weighed in on the changes.

“Advisory is not a study hall, but more so a time to plan for the future and learn soft skills.”

                                   – Principal Lane

 English teacher Keith Larkin stated that advisory was a place for students to learn soft skills and a place to learn things that don’t quite fit into the standard curriculum. He also believes that advisory is helpful and does more good than harm.

 First year teacher Mr. Plaschke stated, “I think we need it for two. Reason one; for people, for students to come together who aren’t together in any other academic class to have a sort of little community within the larger school community. The second reason is there are important things that students need to get done during the day and advisory is one of the only times to do it. There are things like surveys which are important and other motivational topics that need to get done and I think that advisory a good place to do it.”

 In the spirit of change, Plaschke offered advice on how students can bring about change that they want to see happen. He said, “…you have to get enough people together to both warrant the change to be made and to get people to listen.”

 Plaschke proposed the idea of a school-wide no cellphone policy but did concede that idea would come off as contentious if not executed properly.

 Both teachers agreed that the change from morning announcements to emails were for the best, simply because they were ineffective and didn’t serve their intended purpose faithfully anymore.

Principal Lane provided insight into upcoming changes and what advisory’s intended purpose is.

  Lane stated, “The Kansas state commissioner of education’s goal is to improve students not just academically but also socially emotionally.

 The companies that are hiring kids out of high school and or college are saying that our students know are pretty proficient on reading, writing, and arithmetic but that they need continuous conversations about soft skills and how to get along with others, how to disagree appropriately, how to show apathy, how to manage stress, how to advocate for themselves and so advisory was put into all of our high schools and middle schools. It’s called academic enrichment to give at least twenty minutes a week.”

 She expressed that advisory is not a study hall, but more so a time to plan for the future and learn soft skills.

  Lane also mentioned some upcoming changes, the first and biggest being a new mascot suit. The second concerns students who are graduating this year. All graduations will be held at CBAC and in case of rain will be held at a predesignated Olathe school. Lane recommends that if you have any proposed changes, you stop by her office and pitch them.  Changes happen; make sure they’re the ones you want.