DOUBLE SPRINGS - There have been many traditions throughout the history of Winston County High School, and this year is no exception. Principal Jeff Cole has something new to offer incoming freshmen, and it is called Freshman Boot Camp. It will be held on Friday, Aug. 2, before the school year begins on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
The idea is to get the new students oriented with the high school and have an easier transition from middle school in an effort to lessen anxiety. Since the day is voluntary, no bus services will run, and those not attending will not have it counted against them. Parents must see that their ninth grade student is dropped off at 8 a.m. and will be picked up at noon.
“There are some difficult transitions in school,” Principal Jeff Cole said. One of those difficulties is having enough credits. “You don’t graduate by being a senior. You graduate by having 24 credits between the ninth and 12th grade. It’s really hard to get kids to understand. You can be a senior and still be taking ninth grade English.”
Cole is referring to the mind set of middle school students being able to fail one subject and being promoted to the next grade. It’s different in high school he indicated.
Both WCHS and Double Springs Middle School have been fortunate in that the middle school kids are being sent to the high school cafeteria for lunch. However, it is still different in high school, Cole said when students have been asked. The new boot camp is hopefully one way to make it easier.
“I borrowed the name boot camp from somewhere else,” Cole said, though there are situations unique to the school for this “boot camp.”
Each “class” will last fifteen minutes, ending in an assembly from 10:45 a.m. until noon. The classes will allow the students to experience schedules, meet teachers and learn the lockers all while being the only students in the school.
The assembly will cover items such as credits, cell phone policies and what to expect. Afterwards, students may decorate their lockers if they wish.
Since it is voluntary, students attending will be allowed to swap the day for an absence day during the school year.
“It can’t hurt,” Cole said, who is hoping the day will go well and it can be built on year after year.
“I look forward to it and figuring out the things we haven’t thought about. I appreciate (Superintendent Greg Pendley) for giving me the opportunity to try this and see if it works. It’s one of the things we try to do to build relationships with students and parents.”
One new difference students will notice upon returning to school will be the newly painted walls.
Locker fees may be paid this voluntary day or on Parent Night, Monday, Aug. 5. Lockers were assigned this year in May by a drawing, due to the rush of getting to school early or cutting lines to get a top locker or a locker next to a friend, according to Cole. With the drawing, this has been eliminated.
Cole mentioned the freshmen will have a clean slate coming in from middle school and informs them this is to their advantage.
The schedule for the Freshman Boot Camp is as follows:
8 a.m. - 8:15: registration and assembly in the lunchroom;
8:15 - 8:30: first period;
8:30 - 8:45: second period;
8:45 - 9: third period;
9 - 9:15: fourth period;
9:15 - 9:30: fifth period;
9:45 - 10: sixth period;
10:15 - 10:30: seventh period;
10:30 - 10:45: eighth period;
10:45 - noon: assembly in the lunchroom.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.