Principal’s Press Conference, 12/7/23

This article was written by the members of the Journalism class.

 

On Thursday, December 7th, Steven Dellinger-Pate sat down with the journalism class to answer questions about the most up-and-coming topics around U-32. This is the third article in an ongoing series called Principal’s Presser. 

 

12/7 Topics:

  • Model UN + Germany
  • Callback LOFT
  • Dogs on Campus
  • J-Term Update
  • Field Drainage Problems
  • Chinese Club
  • Snow Days

 

Model UN + Germany by Anna Stoner

Here at U-32, we currently have few opportunities to travel internationally through the school, like through the French and Spanish classes. Recently, we had German students visit in October with their school. “They thought this was one of their best visits that they’ve had to a school in the States,” said Steven. 

 

Steven has been working with the German student’s principal, Markus Riemer, on possibly bringing our school’s Model UN club to their Baltic Conference in Germany. The German student’s Model UN is hosted in English, and they meet with a host of several other countries.

 

This endeavor is one of the international travel options Steven is promoting for students here at U-32. “We’re trying to expand the opportunities for global travel for our students,” said Steven. Steven also wants to make this not just a chance to learn and collaborate with international students, not just to be tourists. 

 

Steven aims to improve the financial assistance that can be provided by the school. “I want to move towards a model where the school is subsidizing more of the trips so kids don’t have to come up with the full amount to go to France, Spain, Germany.” 

 

U-32 principal Steven Dellinger-Pate working in his office.

 

Callback Loft by Dee Dow 

Some students skip callbacks. That’s why this year U-32 is starting to enforce a punishment system. If a student is caught with no callback or is walking around not in callback they would be put in loft.

 

Regarding callbacks, Steven said, “If we need to change callbacks, then we need to have a group of students that come forward and say, ‘Here’s what would make it better for us in our learning.’” 

 

“But if we’re not using it for learning, if it’s just wasted time for us, then we need to split that time back into classes,” said Steven. In other words, if we keep skipping callback then they’re getting rid of it. 

 

Regarding callback, Steven also said,“Callback was an opportunity for you to get extra help not to wander around the building. And so I would like to call back and get extra help doing your homework, whatever it is that you need to do, not being in a place where you’re unsupervised and doing things that you shouldn’t be doing.”

 

Dogs on Campus by Jonah Edson

“I can remember somebody bringing their puppy to show it one time,” said Steven. 

 

Dogs are not allowed on campus at U-32. U-32 is a public space, and Steven says many people try to bring their dogs to things like sports events instead of leaving them at home. Steven said, “We prefer not having them around.”

 

“We want our native wildlife,” said Steven. U-32’s property is a deer park, so the wildlife here is important. U-32 doesn’t want to disrupt that or drive them away. Steven said, “Dogs tend to create a situation where wild animals don’t want to be around. Dogs peeing and pooping everywhere.”

 

“We also have people who are uncomfortable around dogs,” said Steven. Steven wants U-32 to be a safe space for everyone, and if students are uncomfortable around the animals, it’s all the reason for him to keep dogs off campus.

 

However, service dogs are a different story. “We’ve had some therapy dogs come in and we’ve actually got one that comes to our program right now,” said Steven. Service and therapy dogs are trained animals, so they don’t create as much of a risk as untrained dogs do, so they are allowed on campus. “We’ve had a student report, [with a] therapy dog as part of a presentation which will probably allow that as far as their presentation, and then we’ll have I’ve had some people that have come on campus for events that have had a service animal,” said Steven. 

 

Even so, Steven said, “It’s important to note there’s a difference between a service animal as a service animal is trained to support a person in a specific way.” Service dogs are better trained than therapy dogs, as the two have different purposes. “You can’t just you really can’t just show up and say ‘Oh, this is my therapy dog. I can bring it on campus,’” said Steven.

 

U-32 allows all service dogs, but therapy animals are different. Steven said, “We’re not required to allow therapy animals on campus, [but] we can work with people if there’s a need for it.”

 

Steven says they don’t regulate dogs in the parking lot, such as parents picking their students up with a dog in their car. He doesn’t encourage leaving them alone in a parked car, though. Steven said, ”You know you don’t leave a dog in a hot car.”

 

J-Term by Stella Stoufer

Last year at U-32 there was a four-day-long program called YES. This program allowed students to branch out and learn/experience different activities that are offered. Some of these activities included cooking, water sports, and more. 

 

Steven believes the program will hopefully continue throughout the upcoming years. Last year when this program took place it happened at the end of the year, which caused many students to not be able to participate. “There were a lot of things that happened at the end of the year that made it difficult for us to make sure that students like seniors could be involved,” said Steven 

 

Since the YES term didn’t go directly as planned the date would change. Instead of having the YES program happen during the end of the year, it would happen in January after winter break.  

 

With a change in dates from springtime to wintertime, the activities also changed. “ There are different opportunities in each term. So we can now do skiing or ice skating but we can only do log rolling when it’s summer,” said Steven

 

Steven believes that during the last term, it led to a lot of attendance difficulties. However now that the term is in January the hope is that all students attend. Steven said, “Attendance is required.”

 

U-32 Field Drainage Problems by Rheia Schall

The U-32 sports fields have been experiencing a large amount of water poolage and field damage this last fall season. U-32 has had to move several games and practices. 

 

On December 6, 2023, the U-32 school board approved $150,000 to improve the drainage on the upper baseball field. This improvement is one of the first steps to fixing the drainage problems at U-32. This plan to improve the baseball field is set to be done over the summer of 2024. 

 

U-32 has a capital budget that goes to all ground and maintenance. In next year’s capital budget, the U-32 school board is looking into improving the drainage system on the rest of the fields. “We’ve got some of it in the process already,” said Steven Dellinger-Pate, the U-32 principal. The board is making sure to fix the fields in the future. 

 

Currently, the school board is focusing on the baseball field, but there has been discussion about the main field. The main field is where most of the fall games are held such as football games and soccer games. Steven said,  “We’re looking at what our options are for the main field right now.”

 

The Chinese Club at U-32 Samara Davis 

Traveling outside of America is something that many people never get to do, but through language programs offered by U-32, international travel has become more available for students. However, the only official language courses at U-32 are Spanish and French, and they come with their respective trips. But what if you don’t want to learn French or Spanish? It is Steven’s goal to offer a broader range of language choices to students, and he wishes to create more opportunities for students to have international travel. “It gives kids a different chance,” said Steven. 

 

Ever since the guests from Germany visited U-32, changes have begun to take place within the school. One of these changes is the newly implemented Chinese Club. The Chinese club was made possible through a program called SPIRAL, which is a group in VT that works with U-32 to offer Chinese and Arabic teachers. This connection with SPIRAL wouldn’t only offer more language choices, but could also offer trips to Taiwan, Nepal, and Germany. 

 

So, why start a Chinese club now? This problem of a lack of language options has been around for a long time, right? Well, the real incentive for this change was the Model UN program that the German high school offers. “[it’s a] Model UN conference that is for the Baltic region and it’s done In English, so our kids wouldn’t have to learn German to go,” said Steven. Not only could this connection offer a unique way to learn about the UN and diplomacy, but it would also let students experience high school life outside of America. 

 

Although the prospect of having a broader language selection is ideal in theory, U-32 can not afford to hire full-time language teachers on their own. Luckily, they’ve had help with the funds. “We don’t have to come up with more than $14,000. We can essentially get a teacher for $14,000 because they’re subsidized through government programs,” said Steven. Instead of having to pay the $100,00 that it would cost to hire a full-time language teacher, U-32 would only have to pay a fraction of that, making it a very likely possibility.

 

Snow Days at U-32 by Isabel Moustakas 

It’s 5 am and Superintendent Meagan Roy is speaking with the bus companies about road conditions while the snow piles up outside. Often, downed trees and icy conditions make it difficult to bus students to and from school in the winter months.

 

The decision to cancel school is made by 5:30 to 5:45 am so that families can be alerted. U-32 has had three snow days so far, three consecutive Mondays. The towns of Calais, Middlesex, and Worcester have been the most inaccessible towns, with many students left without power. 

 

There is no official limit on the number of snow days the school can have. However, those extra days need to be made up, but can’t exceed past June. “There’s probably a limit to the number of days that we can make up because we can’t go to school in July,” said Steven. 

 

If the school receives too many snow days, some days may need to be made up during one of the two spring breaks. However, Steven finds this unlikely. “I have not seen it [happen] in my time,” said Steven. 

 

Time will tell how many days U-32 will have to make up. Steven said, “We’ll just see how the winter goes.”

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