After a year and a half of no detention, why did the school decide to start again? What was going on at school that made the school think that they needed to start having Overtime after school?
I interviewed Josefina Cabrera, the Dean of Student Engagement who is in charge of Overtime. I asked why they decided to make this a new arrangement for detention to which Ms. Cabrera responded that students are having a lot of difficulty getting to class on time. She explained that students get Overtime “if they are late to class, but now we are also going to have input from teachers if that student doesn’t have appropriate behavior, if they have difficulties with something in class, or [aren’t] on task, teachers can refer students to Overtime.” She explained that they first communicate with students to let them know they will attend overtime when they are tardy or late to class 5 or more times. “Right after fourth period we will go pick up students to take them to the cafeteria and they will spend an hour with me and in that hour we brainstorm ideas like: How can we be on time to class? What is preventing them? What’s happening?” She also let’s the students take some time to reflect. Another thing she does is let the students work for an hour and at the end,she asks them what they had been working on or what they completed. They plan to continue this same process next semester. Cabrera said “I hope that things improve and that students don’t want to spend one more hour after school, and they try to make it to school on time, and hopefully we have fewer and fewer students at overtime. So we want to see how it goes, if it’s actually useful. What’s really interesting is that students are getting their work done, and I am getting to know them. They’re getting to know me, and then if I see that they need support in other areas, at school or at home or at anything, then it’s a good time for me to connect with students. So I think I am going to continue doing it if I keep seeing some positive results.”
I also had the opportunity to interview principal Elise Simmons. She stated that ”Ms. Cabrera was the one who came up with the idea during a meeting, noticing a lot of students in the halls and a lot of students getting to school late.” She also noticed that there were about 5000 total tardies from the beginning of August to the end of October. She also wants to continue the program: “There haven’t been enough opportunities to say that it was working or not. We have to figure out a way to help students understand that it is not okay to be tardy extensively.”
I also interviewed some teachers to see what they thought about Overtime happening after school. Douglas Carmean admitted that he was still a little suspicious because he hasn’t seen if it works properly. I was also wondering why he thought the school decided to start having Overtime in the middle of the school year and not in the beginning to which he responded by saying that he thinks they weren’t expecting tardies to be such a challenge. He said the new Overtime consequence “might motivate them” to get to class on time, “but it’s not 100 percent guaranteed.”
Another teacher, who chose to remain anonymous, said “I think it’s a good idea to hold students accountable for tardies and behavior.” When asked why they thought school decided to start with Overtime now, they said, “I think they just saw some problem and they hope that Overtime can fix these problems.” When asked if they think Overtime will have a positive effect on students, they responded saying that they do think so because they’re sure no one wants to go to Overtime.