Mr. Morrison Has Hillcrest ready to Explore New Heights
By Shakilur Rahman, Senior Writer
After a spectacular first year, Hillcrest High School principal David T. Morrison is ready to spring back into action with many goals and expectations for all the students, parents, and teachers this year. Mr. Morrison is ready to strengthen the many different teams that make Hillcrest a successful school.
When you deal with over 3,000 students, 150 faculty members, 12 Assistant Principals, and a team of counselors, custodians, secretarial staff, and countless parents, you need oversight into many different areas. “Hillcrest is a very huge school, with around 4,000 people are leaving and entering this building everyday,” Mr. Morrison explained. It looks like this year’s going to be quite a challenge, but Mr. Morrison is prepared. “Everyone will play a role and contribute to the school,” and that at the same time he will continue to explore new activities and programs outside of the school environment as well.
A lot of new things are working on being added to the school. CTE (Career and Technical Education) certified programs are a very useful resource for students. Last year Hillcrest had been able to achieve getting some programs CTE- certified, but this year Mr. Morrison is working on adding even more. He specifically mentions how he would like to work on getting some of the Engineering and Technology programs in Biz-Tek certified. “Getting our programs CTE certified allow us to get funding and bring in more supplies and equipment.”
Technology is a huge factor, and with sites like The Hillcrest Highlighter now going up, Hillcrest is now more modernized than ever before. For the first time information on the school is easily accessible by most, if not all students. Mr Morrison is looking to add more Chromebooks to the school, and hopefully at some point, create more computer labs. Mr. Morrison also hopes to further improve our fields in athletic. He is constantly seeking new ways to innovate and progress sports in Hillcrest. He hopes that students will get new equipment in the school.
One thing that is out of Mr. Morrison and the school’s control is students at home. He explains that “Parents are the partners of education,” and that they play a vital role in their child’s education. With smartphones and computers on the rise, students are now more than ever starting to ignore their school life when at home. Many students fail to do homework, or ignore them completely. One of the main concerns of Mr. Morrison, is that students need more sleep. Many students are on average getting as low as 4 hours of sleep. Mr. Morrison states “Studies show that it is not best situation for learning, and we have to ensure parents are setting bedtimes and curfews, and that students are not spending the entire night on their smartphones or computers.”
The graduation rate at Hillcrest High School last year was only 74%. Mr. Morrison is working on improving this. First, he explains that the school will focus on getting teachers and parents to intervene, if students look like they are dangerously falling off track. However, he plans to go further beyond just graduating, because he is aiming for more students with Advanced Regents Diplomas as well. He is working on ensuring that teachers and staff use the best of their abilities to accomplish this by creating an Attendance Committee comprised of SLC Directors to ensure that students are coming to class. Assistant Principals are working with teacher teams on strengthening curriculum and teaching methods.
Hillcrest High School has now added alarms to doors that will ring and notify authority when opened. With a 74% graduation rate, it is obvious that kids aren’t always regularly attending their classes. There is a rumor going on that the alarms are silent, but this was confirmed by Mr. Morrison to be false. The alarms are not silent, rather they are still working on being properly installed by the staff. When the alarms are armed, Mr. Morrison explains that there will be signs on the door that warns students and staff that once they’re opened, a very noticeable (and not silent) alarm will be triggered. Some may not be triggered immediately, and will instead have a timer that will set off after a certain period.
Security in general is being worked on. Deans are working hard to make sure that those students who cut are met with punishments and consequences. Of course in a school of over 3,000 kids, this is a very arduous task, and to hope that all students can be monitored at all times may be asking for too much, but the goal is to reach out to as many students as possible.
In short, Mr. Morrison is working very hard to achieve these goals. Last year, the school’s graduation rates went up 2%. This year it looks like that number will be even higher. He hopes to continue to have “Collaborative teachers, a supportive environment, and that everyone just works towards the same goal.” He believes students should be able to learn to the highest degree, and that they should be well prepared for both college and work, well beyond the boundaries of Hillcrest.
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