- Sponsorship -

School Rules: Strictly by the Book

Kelli Wegner is changing students’ lives at Thornapple Kellogg schools.

Why? Because she has the power to take their cell phones away, thanks to the rules she’s been putting in the student handbook.

Wegner gets notes from teachers and school staff throughout the year that she puts in a three-inch folder containing everything one would want to know about the school rules. This year, about 300 lines in the 42-page book were changed.

For most, actually probably nearly everybody, this work would not be on their “fun things to do” list, but Wegner finds the whole process a bit exciting. Honest.

 

“I know this may sound odd, but it’s amazing once it is complete,” she said. “Once it gets going, it’s fun.”

She admits some might question her enthusiasm. “I know, it’s weird,” Wegner says with a real smile.

One of the biggest issues the handbook sets out rules for is the use of cell phones. The school has a cell phone policy that involves each classroom having a sign with red, green and yellow circles detailing when cell phones can be used. For example, if it’s red, phones have to be silenced.

The signs are simple, and they’re working. Wegner says before they were used, more than 400 students surrendered phones to the office. So far this year, she’s only had 34.

Suggestions from teachers and staff throughout the year about handbook changes and information bulge from Kim Wegner’s file

There’s a Conference for That

Wegner, who is the high school assistant principal, and Steve Guikema, middle school dean of students, share the responsibility for putting the book together. They attend the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Handbook conference every April in Lansing to learn about new legal requirements and how to build the perfect book.

A subject that’s stressed at the conference is being very cautious of school surroundings in terms of safety, Wenger said. Many schools have responded to this by adding better security.

“This is a small portion of my job, but factors into what I do on a daily basis — student discipline,” she said. “Students need to know the consequences of their actions and that they can be bigger than they think.”

She starts compiling the book with staff suggestions in the summer and also adds conference legal information. ​After she’s finished, the handbook goes to a group of teachers to review, and then to staff and students for distribution.

“Next year should not be as bad, considering we have made major changes this year,” she says. The changes involve a new Positive Behavior Support System. “It is a full-time job in the summer if you are changing lots of content in the handbook.”

If you’re looking for something to read, you can find the student handbook online. The school also offers hard-copy versions.

CONNECT

Thornapple Kellogg High School Student Handbook

Michigan Department of Education handbook guide

- Sponsorship -
Linda Odette
Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.

LATEST ARTICLES

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Sisters land grant to help those who ‘aren’t as lucky as we are’

Sisters at Page Elementary researched and wrote a grant to help homeless kids at Family Promise of Barry County...

New superintendent looks forward to managing challenges of growth

A new superintendent for Thornapple Kellogg schools will take the reins on Dec. 14...

Board to interview four applicants for superintendent post

The public is invited to attend interviews on Nov. 10-11 with four finalists for the Thornapple Kellogg superintendent post...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS