New Year, Same School?

Greta Yauch and Zoe Noonan

Welcome sign in YHS hallway

As the first quarter ends, many students continue to recognize differences in the school compared to last year. As many returning students, faculty, and administration agree, last year was tumultuous. It was the first year entirely in-person, with COVID still controlling many aspects of school life. Many students became frustrated with the previous administration and were ready forchange. YHS has a new administration: Amanda Suttie and Michael Bennett are now Co-principals, and Liza Mockeridge is starting her first year at YHS as Assistant Principal. Along with this change in administration comes a few notable differences in the workings of the school.

Students may have recognized differences in how the school operates compared to last year. PIE is now only held twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and teachers must directly request students in order to change their PIE time location. Lunch is another area that has experienced changes. Students are unable to leave lunch partway and must eat in the cafeteria. These differences have come as a surprise to some students. Senior Madigan Murphy expresses, “Sometimes I find it difficult to meet with teachers during PIE time this year because we only have two a week. In past years we had three and that gave both us and the teachers more flexibility especially if we were requested to go to a PIE time but also had a test to prepare for in another class.” But these changes are necessary in the eyes of the administration. Michael Bennett, one of the co-principals at YHS, explains, “our top priority is safety and keeping track of students in the building. That was not being done as effectively last year.”

The administration also emphasized that these changes are not new like students may perceive. These are rules implemented before COVID and were not applied as strictly in the past few years, only due to the changes caused by the pandemic. This disconnect seems to come from the differences between students’ and administrations’ views of the policies. For students, they seem sudden and unexpected, while for the administration, they are a necessary reinstatement of previous policies.

Notably, while the purpose of these rules is to keep students safe, the administration does believe there is room for changes. They also stressed the importance of student engagement. “We want students to be involved in school,” Bennett explains. “We want students to feel excited to be here.” There are productive ways for students to voice their opinions or concerns regarding the school. Communication and engagement between the administration and students is key to making the school operate smoothly.

The administration also emphasized the importance of the Pride period in building community at York High School. “Pride is something unique to York High School that helps make students closer together,” shares Suttie, the other YHS co-principal. “By having Pride three times a week,” she explains, “it’s easier for peers to make deeper connections at school.” This year’s emphasis on Pride period is a way to create a more interconnected community in which students develop relationships with each other and their teachers. However, the administration does recognize the importance of the PIE period for many students.

While students and administration may not always agree on the best rules (at any school), all can recognize the importance of school safety and the value of engaging within the school. The administration encourages students who have suggestions and want a voice in their school to engage. Bennett also emphasizes that his favorite part of his job is connecting with students whether by saying hello in the hallways or having complicated discussions. “Before I was a principal, I was a teacher… engaging with students is still my favorite part of my job,” Bennett reiterates. As this next quarter begins, the future looks bright for YHS. Connect with the school, and don’t be afraid to email Mr. Bennett, Ms. Suttie, or Ms. Mockeridge.