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9/13/17

Dear Rockwell students, parents, teachers, support staff, and supporters,

We have a little more than a month to go to the end of term 1, otherwise known as the 1st quarter. Felt like I needed to share some dates and information with everyone.

While we use attendance trackers/hall monitors to “inspire” student on-time attendance to classes and we will eventually have a system for contacting parents, please let your student(s) know a great deal of their success in life is to show up. When we run into attendance issues and grades slump (usually tied some way to attendance or tardiness), students have 3 ways to make up attendance: (1) arrange before or after school detention with a specific teacher, (2) Friday Early Out (must be arranged with me), 1:05 - 3:30, and (3) Saturday School, 8:30 - 11:30 am in computer lab A. The only Saturday it won’t happen between now and the end of this term and fall break (October 20th and 23rd) will be Saturday the 30th. These can all be avoided by simply being at school and to each class each day, on time. Thanks.

In case you missed it, we had a different approach to student orientation this year. I understand it posed some challenges for transportation, but I feel like it allowed me to go over some key issues with each grouping of students in a way that allowed me to be appropriately blunt with the target audience. Those issues boiled down to the following things which I hope to get support from parents on throughout this school year:

1. Attendance - in addition to the above information, keeping in mind that 3 tardies = 1 unexcused absence, the main thrust was that no success ever seems to come without effort and definitely time. Please make sure you call in to excuse appropriate excused absences and if family trips or demands come up, please let us know. Funding in the state, simplified for space, has a great deal to do with daily attendance. I appreciate any help you can give us on this issue.

2. Closed Campus - except high school lunch, Rockwell is a closed campus. There is not sufficient time to run to Maverik between classes. Additionally, if students insist on doing this, along with the horribly casual way they show up to 4th period, Monday through Thursday, and 5th period on Friday, the campus will simply be closed from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm with the exception of students who do not have a full schedule. Also somewhat related, the area to the southwest of the school, the Stonebridge neighborhood, is off limits to students unless they live that way. The reason for this is varied: students acting inappropriately at the park, students tossing trash all over, students taking flowers, etc. and so on. We have invited those neighbors to simply call law enforcement. I understand the park is a public area, but students refused to act properly, so this is the outcome.

3. Discipline vs. Punishment - while some argue they are one in the same, they really are very different. I believe that for every action or behavior or attitude, there are consequences and helping a student develop self-discipline makes a great deal more sense than merely punishing them. Some students seem to be in an warped version of the old movie, “Groundhog Day,” incapable of escaping a continuous loop of the same trouble over and over. We will always exert the energy to get to know kids and help them be or do or think better. Ultimately, this is their education and if they would like to waste it being in trouble, under constant scrutiny, and doubted at every step, there are plenty of schools to attend. That just isn’t how we do business at Rockwell.

4. Distractions - include other people, clothing or the lack of it, cell phones, fidget spinners, etc. We need the kids to avoid distractions. Each teacher has been empowered to develop a classroom environment that will help them teach to their best level and hopefully inspire students to learn at theirs. One teacher may allow cell phone, one may say their use is limited, and another may say no cell phones at all. Esch subject and each teacher and, frankly, each mix of students is too different to have a single school-wide expectation on some of these things. All wed’ ask on this is that you support us as we attempt to help your student(s) achieve and get to the earning of their diploma.

5. Dress Code - if students look at themselves in the morning and can say that their clothing and they are clean, nothing offensive on or about the clothing, and that they are ready for the task at hand, they are likely good to go. Bare shoulders, bare bellies, sagging pants, ripped up jeans, tank tops (for either gender) and so on, are not allowed. You agreed to this code when you decided to come to this school. When we opened in 2008, students were required to wear polos and khakis. They need to cooperate with the very simple standard we have now.

6. Drugs and Related Issues - while no school is 100% drug free, we all want Rockwell to be as close to that as possible. Drugs on campus or the use of them, or vaping or using e-cigs, etc. are all illegal and constitute a safe school violation. This simply means that as much as I want to help a student, I have no problem with them paying an extra debt to society for doing this dangerous and bad and illegal stuff at school. Other students should not be intimidated because a very small minority use illegal substances in a restroom. Like a knife or gun brought to school, law enforcement has to be called and we go from there. Please reinforce compliance with the law.

7. Mentoring and Planners - this local elective has the potential to be highly valuable, but everyone has to work to make it so. Skills and traits not easily incorporated in other courses are best addressed in Mentoring. At one end, even as a glorified study hall it has value. When used well, it can do so much more. We have planners for every student. I challenged older students to at least use them as a learning journal, but suggested they may find that writing due dates and test dates, etc. down might actually help.

Every student was challenged to do their best. And I believe working on the areas mentioned will allow each one to have success. Please reinforce these things at home and let me know if you have questions. We may not always get everything 100% right, but we work hard to make it the best we can daily.

Best always,

Darren Beck,
Executive Director
Rockwell Charter High School

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    Positive Interactions

    As part of the public system of education in the state, Rockwell is committed to constant improvement. Furthermore, as a public charter school, the school is committed to doing what it can for the students entrusted to us. As needed, parents, guardians, and students should seek opportunities to meet with teachers to go over work, to review policies and procedures, and to connect in the mist appropriate ways to help students succeed. Positive interactions help us grow a culture of success.

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    FSO Corner

    FSO General Meeting, Wednesday, November 2nd, 7 pm, in the library. Please come out and see how you can be involved.

    Stay tuned for info on the Family Food Nights (and if you have ideas about doing one of these, please let us know) and other activities.

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