A season of change

By Zach Otto

Many changes have come to Tigard High School as we get into this new year. “We’re not changing a lot; we’re just improving what we know we do well,” said new Principal, Mr. Andrew Van Fleet.

Perhaps the catalyst for some of these changes was the retirement of Mr. Mark Neffendorf and the initiation of Mr. Van Fleet. Mr. Neffendorf, lovingly known as ‘Neff’ by the student body, was part of the school administration for seven years prior to his retirement. Mr. Van Fleet was introduced to the T.H.S. family as Associate Principal just last year. Mr. Van Fleet feels he has slipped comfortably into the new rhythm, but he does admit he finds himself challenged by “different responsibilities” as Principal.

Arguably the biggest change made this year is the schedule change. School now begins at 8:05 a.m. and ends at 3:05 p.m., instead of the 7:50 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. of previous years. While this does slightly push back school start time, it also pushes back the end time, which in turn pushes back various extracurricular activities. However, since the bus schedule has remained the same, there is less time at the end of the day for bus riders before they have to leave.

Mr. Van Fleet says that the district’s reasoning for the schedule change is to encourage communication and interaction between teachers of the same subjects and to instigate a more accessible dialogue between students and teachers by allotting students more time to seek help in the morning.

Students have a variety of opinions regarding the schedule change. “It’s good, because I get more sleep, but I don’t like getting out at 3:05”  said senior Isse Mohamoud. The new end time has another disadvantage for some students.

“I personally think it doesn’t give us enough time to get things done after school, since the buses leave at the same time,” said junior Jasmine Rojas.

Even beyond the schedule adjustments, quieter changes are afoot as well. Students have noticed different teaching techniques and study habits, including the incorporation of Cornell note-taking and training students’ minds through study repetition. Mr. Van Fleet and his administration hope to isolate and replicate the individual successes of every student.