Mindsets, parking, new rules: Ms. Schmidt answers all


Fiona Dunn

Construction continues in the Boekman Creek Primary School parking lot. The contruction centers around the high school’s new performing arts center, but the project also has plans for enlarging the parking lot.

With the new school year starting tomorrow, Wilsonville High School is set to have its first “normal” year since 2018-2019. That means sports, extracurriculars, and–of course–school itself, are setting off full steam ahead. 

In a recent interview with Ms. Schmidt, she explained this year’s safety precautions, parking plan, and school-wide mindset:

As summer wraps up, what are you most looking forward to right off the bat? (It can be an event, system, project, really anything at all.)

This year there are so many things to be excited about.  I am excited about all of the new staff we have been able to hire. Wilsonville High School has a great reputation and is a desirable place for people to work. We have been able to bring some really talented staff members into our school community. As always I look forward to students returning to campus. It makes me smile to see our athletes returning for their first practices and there is generally excitement for the competitions to begin. Ninth grade orientation and welcoming new students is something I also look forward to. 

If you could use one word to describe the mindset of WVHS staff and faculty going into the ’22-’23 school year, what would it be? And why that particular word? 

Excitement! There has been a buzz this week with staff on campus. People seem excited to return to school under the most normal circumstances we have had in the past few years. Things feel predictable and “normal”. People really like working with our students and they are excited to kick off a great school year!

This question sort-of parallels the last: If you could choose one word to describe the mindset you hope WVHS students will enter the school year with, what would it be? And why? 

Bring their very best and give each day their best self! I hope students see that they are returning to school with staff members who want to do their best work alongside them. I hope students feel proud to attend WVHS and want to make the best of this school year! 

A lot of students are stressed out about the parking situation–whether that be getting a pass at all, no assigned spots, the attendance piece of keeping a parking pass, or even worry about if there will be enough spots at all with the construction still underway. What can you say about the parking lot plans and regulations for this coming school year?

We were able to give passes to all of the Juniors and Seniors who requested one by the cut off date. We have more parking spots available this year than last year. We will have staff temporarily parking in the new lot that will be opening adjacent to the new performing arts center and the softball fields.

For safety reasons we do not want student drivers driving in the areas near the construction vehicles. The bulk of the construction is scheduled to be done by January. Eventually this new lot will double in size and be available for student parking with a new entrance into the school at that side of the building. We do not know exactly when that will happen this year, which is the main reason why we are not assigning spots at this time. We also want to spread out our student drivers this year so that traffic at the end of the day exits from both sides of campus and reduces the bottleneck at the main entrance.

I understand that students will need to provide additional time in the mornings to arrive on campus and find their spots. I do believe that students will settle into a routine and predictably will find a spot in a similar location each day. There are enough spots for every student who has a pass. Additionally we are hiring a campus security monitor this year. That individual’s job is primarily to support campus safety. Part of their job responsibilities will be to monitor parking passes and work with our SRO Keirsey if students are not parking in the correct locations and with the identifiable passes. 

Maintaining strong attendance and behavioral standards has been a consideration for parking privileges in the past. With special circumstances due to COVID, required quarantines and isolations the past few years we have not focused on attendance and behavior as it related to parking. Most students maintain great attendance!  We expect this will be the same. 

Last year, there were significant struggles I would say with students vandalizing bathrooms, and other school property. On the other hand, I know we talked in the Student Advisory Council meetings about how much of an impact feeling safe (and knowing school is a safe place) has on the school community as a whole. Are there any new hallway rules, and/or ramifications if students are found destroying school property?  

We appreciate the student leader groups providing insight and perspectives on this issue. I always hope that we can create a school climate where students take pride in their school and care about how it is taken care of. What we experienced last year was highly unusual for our school community. It was disappointing and created a situation where students could not use the facilities the way they were needed and intended.

It helped so much when student leaders helped improve this situation. Showing care for our spaces, cleaning up after themselves, encouraging others to do the same. I see this as an important role for our juniors and seniors to make sure our ninth and tenth grade students know how they are expected to treat our school.

We will continue with hall passes and monitor the number of students who are out of class at any given time. We are also hiring the campus security monitor to assist with bathroom supervision. We will also be implementing a different form of discipline referrals this year. That will result in better communication between school, student and caregivers.  

As this is the first school year in a while that is set to be normal (**knock on wood**) are there any new events on the calendar, or programs at school that students should be looking forward to? ((ex. field trips, learning opportunities, etc.))  

Teachers are encouraged and able to bring back field trips, guest speakers and special events for their classes. Additionally Mrs. Litts and the leadership students have thoughtfully planned out the activities calendar. This includes homecoming with parade, game, dance,  as well as spirit weeks, club fair, macho volleyball and powderpuff, and all the fun ways we love to be together as a community. We are looking forward to bringing back Dios de los Muertos. That has traditionally been a fun community celebration.