Student Accessibility in the Courtyard: When and How?

Photo Credit: Angelina Esposito

The EHHS administration is discussing PBIS opportunities and whether or not EHHS students will be allowed to use the courtyard during study halls and lunch. However, they are concerned about the security of all students.

According to Principal Vincent DeNuzzo, students have only been allowed access to the courtyard with a teacher in past years. It can be a risk for students to be alone in the courtyard because it is an open area and there are frequent visitors on school grounds. Mr. DeNuzzo said, “I’ve been here for twenty years. As far as I’ve been here, it’s always been somewhere kids were able to go, but with a staff member; a lot of that is just based on safety and security.”

As for disciplinary actions concerning the safety and behavior of students, Mr. DeNuzzo and Dean of Students, Mr. Mark Hughes, explained how the administration is planning to utilize the leveling system; this would mean that students who have not received any referrals, have good attendance, and a have certain GPA would be able to utilize the courtyard. Mr. DeNuzzo said, “We would like to provide students access to that as part of our PBIS program incentive.”

Coverage in the courtyard during lunch and free periods is an issue faced by administration. EHHS science teacher, Ms. Dianne Ruggiero, says, “I think lunch is good. I think it should be for seniors and PBIS. Free periods are tough because sometimes teachers want to stay in the room to finish work.” Teachers may not always want to have to be outside because they have other objectives to get done. Security guard, Ms. Cindy Russo, however, says that she would not mind being outside as long as another teacher was on duty, since she could be needed at any moment's notice. This makes it difficult to find someone to monitor students in the courtyard.

As for maintenance, help is needed for cleaning up. The administration is interested in having a community service opportunity for students, where they would help fix up the courtyard through cleaning or planting flowers. After talking to students, it seems that many of them would be more than willing to participate in this courtyard revamp so they can use it. EHHS student, Riya Patel, says that she would use the courtyard, “To have lunch. That would be so nice.” Riya is very eager to begin using the courtyard.

As for the usage and accessibility, the administration has stated their desire for the incentive with PBIS. According to Mr. DeNuzzo this would be for the trustworthy students who have a good academic standing.

Photo Credit: Angelina Esposito