Testing center closed to allow for more hallway supervision
By Lily Mottet and Lauren Chamberlain, Current Staff
Tiffany Gitter, a West English teacher, is optimistic about the closing of West Bend High Schools’ testing center.
On Dec. 7, WBHS administration officially closed the testing center to all students. Instead, the teachers who monitored the center now patrol the hallways in an attempt to quell the number of students wandering the halls. Gitter, for example, used to supervise the testing center during sixth period but now spends that time in the hallways.
The testing center was a resource open to students for retaking, making up or completing a test. Students were allowed to visit the testing center during an off period or study hall. Teachers were asked to monitor the testing center during a non-teaching period.
Administration received numerous concerns from teachers and students alike about hallway wanderers. Students who failed to show up to class were creating loud distractions, thus hindering the learning of others.
After much deliberation with the staff, administration decided to close the testing center while maintaining other teacher-supervised resources. Ralph Schlass, the principal at West, did not make this decision alone.
“We had to get creative, so I threw out a bunch of proposals and I asked the staff what they thought,” Schlass said. “We decided that the test center was the one area that teachers supervise that is least used.”
In the first few days of the new protocol, students and teachers were hesitant that this change would not be an adequate solution.
“Considering the sheer number of students who were out in the hallway, I think maybe I caught a fourth of them,” Gitter said. “I don’t know that it was entirely effective, but I know it’s a trial process.”
However, over the following weeks, Gitter became increasingly hopeful.
“When I first started, it was a bit trying on my patience, but I think it’s working,” Gitter said. “I have noticed that hallway behaviors seem to have been much better.”
Administration has a plan in place for following up with students and staff when any negative incidents occur in the hallways.
“I have noticed that hallway behaviors seem to have been much better.”
– Tiffany Gitter, West English teacher
Some students are more concerned with loss of a resource than the rowdy distractions in the hallways. Students taking online classes typically took any assessments in the testing center and they now must find an alternative. The testing center was also convenient for those who are involved in extracurricular activities after school.
“It was always the easiest option for me so that’s why I liked it,” East junior Justin Scherzer said.
Although the lack of a testing center is an inconvenience, there are still alternative solutions to making up tests.
“I’m sure if I have to make up a test, it’s not a huge deal to stay after school that long,” Scherzer said. “It is what it is. You’ve got to make it up at some point. It was easy and nice to do it in the test center, but that doesn’t prevent me from taking the tests all together.”
Teachers face similar inconveniences. The time spent in the testing center was often utilized as additional time to grade, prepare and help students for class.
Yet unseen positives have arisen for the hallway monitors. These teachers now have the liberty to interact with various students throughout the day.
“I also have the opportunity to connect with students I actually have relationships with,” Gitter said. “I’ll walk students places and chat along the way.”
Gitter has also taken advantage of chances to observe other classes and the students’ work.
“If the hallways seem pretty decent, I’ll detour a little,” Gitter said. “I went into Mr. Krueger’s classroom a couple weeks ago because they were doing pottery and using clay. I’m usually stuck in my classroom, so I don’t really see what the students are doing in their other classes. The students were really excited to show me their work.”
Before the final decision was made, there was speculation about closing the writing lab in addition to the testing center. This resulted in negative reactions among students and staff, since it is a much-used resource. Administration listened and kept the writing lab operational as a result.
“On the whole I would say the behavior is much better and this is a positive change,” Gitter said.
(Top image: Tiffany Gitter monitors the main hallway during sixth period on Jan. 11. Photo by Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief.)