BERKELEY HIEGHTS, NJ - The staff members of Gov. Livingston's The Claymore yearbook and The Highlander newspaper had the opportunity to interview Principal Robert Nixon, Assistant Principals Tara Oliveira and Jackie Bartlett, and Director of Guidance Dr. Ashley Janosko as an exercise to practice their interview skills. The student journalists were interested in many of the same things as their peers: open campus, changes in class scheduling, and how GL is becoming more environmentally friendly.
During open campus, seniors have the option to leave school during lunch and during their study hall periods. Currently students must pick up a paper pass in order to leave school. However, this creates a backup of traffic in front of the main office when students are lining up to get their passes to leave the building. Oliveira hopes that in the future students will be able to use a card with a barcode that they could scan and sign out. This process will hopefully get students out of the building more efficiently.
Over the summer, the district made many changes to GL that are noticeable. However, there are many behind the scenes changes as well. A new scheduling process was put in place at the end of last year. This process is designed to help students change their classes with ease, however, it is a lot more work for the Counseling Department. There is also a new Advanced Placement registration process, requiring all AP teachers to take a special workshop to gain an understanding of the changes to the process. Also, teachers are able to utilize additional College Board AP resources to share with their students in preparation for the final exams in May. All of these changes are in an effort to help create a less stressful year for the students.
Something new added this year was the Wellness Room, thanks to a grant from the Governor Livingston PTO. The Wellness Room serves a great purpose, as it is a safe place for students to go when feeling overwhelmed. In the Wellness Room there is comfortable seating as well as coloring books for students to use in the attempt to calm them down. Anyone can use the room as long as they have a pass. The room can be used for a maximum of 10 minutes. So far students and staff are taking advantage of the new opportunity and using it for positive influence for their minds.
Another important topic that concerned students was how GL is working to minimize its carbon footprint. Nixon mentioned how the Environmental Science class annually creates new ideas to help the school become more environmentally cautious. In addition, they plant new trees each year. Oliveira brought up how every year, administration works to become less dependent on paper. Nixon encourages the administration to minimize the use of sending messages to families through paper, but more so via emails and website updates, including sending news out on Fridays through a Google Drive folder.
The interview not only allowed journalism students to practice skills, but it also allowed students to learn about changes and the thought process of the administration. The administration has great hopes for the future, as they plan to give GL students an effective learning experience.