Students Share Insights at PTSA Open Forum

The recent April PTSA meeting drew crowds of Wolverines and was largely driven by students who were given an open forum to talk with Dr. Millard about issues occurring all around school. Dr. Millard made a number of announcements that will have huge ramifications for the incoming classes at West Potomac mostly structured around changes enacted as a result of the Under One Roof policy that’s been in place since December 2022 and that Chromebooks will be issued to students next year.

Millard’s opening statements were largely focused on next year, “I’ve been looking at a couple of hallway and safety management systems that are out there…There were some issues with the hall pass in a lot of different ways, issues for the teachers and the use of it as well as issues for the students and the way that it works.” She described a system called that says, according to the website, they’re “a campus management platform for schools looking to streamline; student IDs, hall passes, engagement, community, and much more.” She described it as “a much more robust system… you will be able to carry it around on your phone or on your tablet.” will radically shift how students navigate West Po, “ …[It] will allow you to pull up your electronic school ID,” Dr. Millard said. Another local High School, Alexandria City, successfully used the software. “You guys know for a fact. There are often kids that show up on our campus that are not West Po students. We have no way of tracking that and they’re never here to just be friendly…So this is all about safety, security,” Millard said as she spoke to the students.

Chromebooks Are Coming

Dr. Millard shared news regarding new computers, too. Students will not receive the standard issue laptops next year, instead they’ll be assigned Chromebooks for the first time. Millard justified the decision, describing the current computers. “You know how bad they are now…you get the blue screen of death… They are expensive,” Millard explained.

After this discussion about the policy and Millard’s addressing of the ways it’s worked and the ways it needs some work, there was an announcement that there will be a new student board that will function as a partner of West Potomac’s PTSA. The floor was opened up to student discussion.

Under One Roof was a hot topic. Although freshman Stuart Schwartzman expressed discontent around the policy and student’s limited time outside, “Every little bit [outside] helps,” he said, Dr. Millard mentioned no signs of curbing the policy. She described numerous ways that Under One Roof will continue even as she noted issues the policy had encountered in its execution like students and teachers opening the locked doors for someone else. “So that’s happening right now…that has to stop, kids are doing it a lot, adults are doing it as well…we’re going to have to start to really think about other ways to make this right,” she said. Millard recounted a threat to student’s safety that occurred the first day of school, arriving at a conclusion that is no doubt the justification for recent changes in policy at West Po.

“Can you imagine what it would be like if we’re in a safety and security situation like that? And literally 500, 600 kids every single period are walking outside. There was a reason for this connector,” Dr. Millard said.