Students are in third period and can not keep their eyes off the clock. As soon as the bell rings, they haphazardly shove their notebooks back in their bags and hurry to be the first ones out the door. As a student makes their way to fourth period, they stop and tell their best friend about how well they think they just did on a history test. Minutes pass and the warning bell rings, ending the conversation.
When students arrive in fourth period, the bell rings and they are surprised by the teacher not starting instructions right away. They had forgotten it was a GRAD Plan (Graduation Requirements and Direction Plan) day and feel relieved because they do not have to get started right away on the day’s assignment. As their teacher passes out report cards, green goal and reflection sheets and blue graduation requirements checklists, they share their grades with peers and compare GPAs.
The GRAD Plan presentation covers everything from attendance to grades, to credits required for graduation. Often there are scholarship deadlines and standardized testing dates included in the presentation.
Testing reminders like these are what senior Joseph Salvatori finds most useful about GRAD Plan days. He feels as though GRAD Plan is a valuable exercise for students who are not quite sure about their goals.
“I keep myself on track [to graduate],” Salvatori said. “My parents and myself constantly check my grades. [GRAD plan helps students] that aren’t organized and don’t check their grades a lot and maybe don’t have goals for themselves. Maybe they don’t know about the upcoming SAT dates and the important stuff that [is presented].”
Reminders of scholarships and deadlines are something that students find valuable about GRAD Plan. Others enjoy the feedback and discussion portion of the period where they can voice their opinions about certain topics. The most recent GRAD Plan discussed school cleanliness. Previous topics included student relations with the guidance department and lunchtime office hours.
Bouncing ideas off of peers can help create productive discussions where solutions to problems on campus can be found. Teachers can send topics and ideas debated during their discussion session to administration. Students can also fill out a survey at the end of the period to provide input on school topics.
“The biggest concern that students have been talking about lately is the cleanliness of the campus because it was a recent question and a lot of students don’t feel like that is a priority on campus,” environmental and marine science teacher Jennifer Cherry said. “But I do feel like it is student responsibility as well. I think the administration is trying to allow students to have a voice on campus. And I do feel, personally, that they do take the time to evaluate them and they discuss them across the board”