A healthy school environment is one characterized by open communication. One of the most important roles of a school’s administration is to keep its student body informed about campus events and news.
However, the KO administration does not directly give students access to an important source of information: the Wyvern Weekly. Often times, student hear about upcoming events or past ones only from their parents. Why withhold potentially valuable information from students? I believe that KO should send the Wyvern Weekly to students of all forms as well as to parents and faculty for two reasons.
First, having access to the Wyvern Weekly promotes student independence. KO espouses the idea that students should take ownership of their education. This kind of ownership manifests in many ways: be it, academic, extracurricular, or social. As students become older and more mature, we are increasingly in charge of our own lives. We rely on our parents less and less. Eventually, when we go off to college, we won’t have our parents with us at all times to tell us about an upcoming school event, for example. In college and in our lives beyond education, we will have to manage our own time and priorities and keep track of our own schedules. I think trusting students with the Weekly will instill some of the lessons that KO is trying to teach: responsibility, independence, and time-management.
Second, there are really no downsides to sending the Weekly to students. From a technological perspective, such a change would simply involve adding emails to the already existing list. Furthermore, it is not as if the Weekly contains sensitive, parent-only information; it simply tells parents what is happening on-campus.
Finally, if a student really doesn’t find the Weekly helpful and resent the lost Gmail inbox space, she or he could unsubscribe with literally two clicks. Thus, those students who find value in receiving the Weekly will stay subscribed and those who don’t will unsubscribe. Some may argue that the Weekly and the Upper School Daily Bulletin serve the same purpose and that giving students access to both would be redundant. While it’s true that the Bulletin contains much of the same information as the Weekly, there are three reasons why this “redundancy” isn’t an issue.
First, sometimes, the Weekly includes information not found in the Bulletin. For example, the Jan. 3 Weekly included a list of key dates for 2018-2019 and the Jan. 24 Weekly included the US Calendar of Events for January, both of which cannot be found in the Bulletin.
Second, through the Weekly, parents seem to learn about KO events earlier than students. While this trend might not be systematic or intentional, it is certainly present.
Third, KO should allow students to pick which form of information they prefer. For some, the Bulletin is amazing: whether it’s Monday’s lunch or a friend’s birthday we almost forgot about or upcoming club events, the Bulletin is where some go when they need KO-related information.
I would like to acknowledge and commend Ms. Perkins for her efforts with the Bulletin. I think I speak for many when I say that the new and improved Bulletin is easy to navigate and very informative. However, other students might simply prefer a more itemized email of the week’s goings-on. Alternatively, students could use the Bulletin for more day-to-day events—like class schedules and lunch—and the Weekly for longer-term events. Whatever the case might be, KO should at least give students the option to pick for themselves.
In general, I think it’s important for the school administration to be as transparent as possible—with students and parents alike. Back when KO was searching for a new Head of School, all of the emails concerning the Search Committee and the hired Search Firm went to parents and only the occasional email to students. Perhaps the rationale was “of course, students won’t care much about which firm KO’s hiring.” But I believe the administration should allow each student to decide for themselves what is and is not important to them. I’m not suggesting that Mr. Dillow should send his agenda to the entire school every day. What I am saying is that—when discussing important, campus-wide issues—students should be informed to the same extent as parents. I believe a crucial step in this process is giving students access to the Wyvern Weekly.
Treating students like adults conveys responsibility—something that KO hopes its students learn and embody. It also prepares us for the “real world,” to manage our own time and priorities, and to take ownership over our own lives. Overall, trusting students with the Weekly will enable us to better uphold KO’s values, giving us another tool to “take personal responsibility” and to “work hard, take risks, become involved.”