It’s back-to-school time here in Henderson County! Parents everywhere are standing in aisles of retail stores, gazing at school supply lists, trying to figure out why their child really needs 12 wide-rule, spiral notebooks of paper in six specific colors. There is a 100% chance that there will be one color of folder that is required for your child that simply doesn’t exist. You will have to visit no less than three stores to find this color of folder. When you finally do, you will celebrate, only to learn from your child after their first day of school, that the colors were only suggestions from the teacher, but not required. I believe school supply shopping may be a way for teachers to test the temperament of their upcoming classroom’s parents. It helps them separate the strong from the weak. It is probably a determining factor on who they ask to head up the PTA for this year.
Another thing that becomes more and more of a stressor as children age is school clothes shopping. This was actually something I used to enjoy with my kids the first few years of their elementary career. That was until they decided to have strong opinions on what they wanted to wear. By the time they hit middle school, clothes shopping had to be approached with careful prayer and meditation that the day would end without us killing each other.
I do, however, have some good news for the parents of middle schoolers in Henderson.
Beginning this school year, all middle schools in Henderson will have uniform dress code policies in place. This immediately creates multiple benefits including a much less stressful back-to-school clothes shopping trip. The first day of school should be easier too, as it will eliminate the what-to-wear battle that happens all too often.
North Middle School is joining in with what started at South Middle School last school year, by enforcing its first ever uniform policy. Of course, not everyone loves the idea, as this new policy has been met with some resistance from both students and parents. I’d encourage everyone to give it a try for a while before deciding what you think. New policies take some time to get used to.
Ryan Reusch, principal of South Middle School, said, “It is a much calmer atmosphere where students can focus on the task at hand rather than being consumed by what others are wearing. There is a unifying quality. Meaning, the students are all working together to make themselves and their school the best it can be. With this spirit, students are encouraging each other and standing up for each other at high levels. Many of our disgruntled kids who thought the world was out to get them are seeing things in a different light. By seeing everyone held to the same standard, this has lessened that chip on their shoulder.”
Holy Name has always had a uniform policy for their students and feels that it is beneficial on many levels. “Holy Name parents really enjoy the benefits of the uniform in that there aren’t lengthy discussions in the morning with their children about what can and can’t be worn to school. The school’s goal is that the uniform dress will minimize clothing distractions among our students so that they are more focused on learning during the day in the classrooms. For the administration and faculty, there isn’t a need to spend time each morning evaluating whether students have worn something inappropriate or immodest to school,” said Kamille Stich, president of Holy Name.
Rebecca Johnson, principal of North Middle School, is excited about the new policy saying, “We are looking forward to implementing school uniforms at NMS for the upcoming school year. We feel uniforms will promote a sense of belonging for our students, increase our school pride and will be a positive influence on our school culture.”
My hope is that, while not everyone is in agreement with the new policy, we can look for our common ground and focus on the positive. The common ground being that both parents and the schools are passionate and striving to make changes that will benefit the students, even if we have different opinions on what that looks like. If our focus remains on what’s best for our kids, then we can’t go wrong.
We may not be able to agree on everything, but we can agree that Henderson County loves their kids….and that school supply shopping is the worst.
The details of the new dress code for North Middle School can be found by visiting northmiddle.henderson.kyschools.us
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