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Principal Mr. Todd Bauer communicates changes regarding Knight Time

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TOWAMENCIN- In a building home to over 3,000 staff members and students, each and every change made to North Penn High School’s routine proves to be one of great influence. NPHS Building Principal Mr. Todd Bauer recently announced that in order to improve Knight Time’s success throughout the building, changes will be made in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Bauer explained that Knight Time was implemented to serve for two main purposes: to make the school a safer place and provide community and class building opportunities.

“One of the things I’ve felt in my first two years here, while we have some kids that are engaged in school and take advantage of all of the activities and everything that we offer and all the great things that a huge school can provide, we have a huge population of our kids that are not engaged, not involved, that show up, do what they have to do, and leave,” explained Bauer. “We need to find a way to involve those kids and make connections with them, especially our marginalized kids, the students that fit the criteria of students that are at risk for poor behavior, poor decisions. That part we didn’t do well this year. I totally admit. Meeting once a month was not enough to build a community, to get to know one another, to get to know the adult in the room.”

In addition, Bauer went on to explain that attempting to maintain small Knight Time groups did not function well, because more common areas were used, such as the cafeteria and auditorium. As a result, Bauer noted that Knight Time ultimately became rather impersonal and convoluted.

I certainly think it needs to be more frequent and needs to be more thoughtful. It can’t be death by power-point. It can’t be something that is inauthentic and thrown together. We need to have purposeful planning”

— NPHS Principal Mr. Todd Bauer

However, Bauer is determined to improve Knight Time’s success by monitoring and adjusting. After collecting feedback from students, staff, and parents, Bauer noted that there was a common theme; everyone preferred ninth period, because there was a better-established relationship among students and with the teacher. With that said, Bauer hopes to use the feedback and certain aspects of ninth period to improve Knight Time for the next academic year.

“I certainly think it needs to be more frequent and needs to be more thoughtful,” stated Bauer. “It can’t be death by power-point. It can’t be something that is inauthentic and thrown together. We need to have purposeful planning… There needs to be a program, something that has some continuity to from tenth grade all the way to your senior year that we’re delivering certain things, messages, activities, games. Our hope is that by meeting more frequently, we can build that sense of community.”

For the sake of conversation, Bauer explained that he and his team are planning to have Knight Time twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays where currently resides, after third period. Noting that between third and fourth periods is where the maximum number of students are in attendance, Bauer hopes that more students will reap the benefits of Knight Time being held during the day, as opposed to ninth period, which is held at the end of the day.

“One of those times is going to look like what is currently ninth period,” noted Bauer, regarding the logistics of Knight Time. “You can travel, go see another teacher, make something up, make up gym class, get help. All of those opportunities that we have in ninth period would happen in the middle of the day. It gives more of our seniors that leave for no school period eight the opportunity to do some of those things, or some of our tech school kids, gifted mentorship, work study, career study. All those kids who aren’t here, it gives them that opportunity in the middle of the day. Friday is going to be all about community things. Friday would be, currently we are planning character building, college and career readiness, class information, and community building. For the community building stuff, I’m hoping to include kids in planning it. I want the kids to help design activities and have some input on what’s going to happen there.”

To maximize the time available and offered to students, Bauer also discussed several changes being made to Wednesdays. He explained that the plan is to have twenty-five minutes of what NPHS currently calls ninth period after eighth period; however, students would remain in their eighth period classroom, so there is no need to travel. One could think of such period as period 8B, where 8A is the period in which academic instruction occurs and 8B is the period in which students have the opportunity to request extra help from the teacher in period 8A or study or complete assignments from other classes.

In addition, Bauer stated that on Wednesdays the late bus will be available to students at an earlier time. Instead of having to wait until 4:15pm, the late bus will be offered at 3:15pm.

“We’re going to move the busses up one day a week,” said Bauer. “That’ll help kids that have to serve detention, kids that have to stay after for help, make up a test, make up a lab. If you count in the time of moving up the busses, let’s say the bell rings at 1:45pm signifying, let’s call this 8B, you can stay all the way until 3:15pm. That’s an hour and a half. That’s perfect to make up a lab, make up a test, and get genuine help. Twenty-five minutes isn’t enough to get help on something you genuinely don’t understand. An hour and a half is great amount of time.”

To further the amount of time available to students, Bauer noted that he and his team are planning for all teacher meetings to be held on Mondays, as opposed to them currently being held throughout the week. In doing so, students will know that their teachers are most likely available Tuesday through Friday after school for extra help, club meetings, etc.

Touching on one of the biggest concerns, Bauer discussed how the organization and meeting of specialized ninth periods, such as Class Cabinet, would be impacted by the new changes. He explained that these groups could meet in period 8B on Wednesdays or during Knight Time on Tuesdays, and teachers will have the opportunity to pull students out during those times. However, Bauer stressed the importance of ensuring that these periods maintain the same amount of diversity that NPHS exemplifies.

“It is very purposeful that these groups are not homogeneous, that they are heterogeneous groupings,” noted Bauer. “I want kids from all walks of life together. I want kids to get different experiences and not spend all day every day with the same type of kids. It’s so diverse, and it’s such a blessing that we have this wonderful opportunity here in this microcosm of society. When you group kids based on academics all the time, you don’t necessarily reap the benefits of that diversity, so I want us to celebrate that.”

It is very purposeful that these groups are not homogeneous, that they are heterogeneous groupings. I want kids from all walks of life together. I want kids to get different experiences and not spend all day every day with the same type of kids.”

— NPHS Principal Mr. Todd Bauer

Recognizing that Knight Time wasn’t as successful as planned for the 2016-2017 academic year, Bauer noted that the meetings were too infrequent for the message to influence students. Coming from a school where a period similar to Knight Time was held every day for fifteen minutes, he noted that the students loved the time, because the frequency allowed more personal interactions. However, at NPHS, students met in their Knight Times for a total of seven or eight times throughout the academic year.

“Here, we did it seven or eight times all year,” stated Bauer. “It just didn’t work, and it’s my fault. I totally take the responsibility, and we need to make it better. I’m not going to abandon it, because I really believe in it, and I believe it’s something that can ultimately address student behavior. It can address the pride we have in our school, the involvement.”

To ensure that Knight Time is better implemented for the 2017-2018 academic year and sees more success, Bauer plans to improve the communication aspect of such changes. Noting that change is difficult, Bauer explained that such changes are necessary, since they have the opportunity to benefit and improve NPHS.

“I think the benefits will include school community, school pride, character building, all of the things that we’re shooting for,” explained Bauer. “I think we can do better, so that’s why we’re trying… I think that the kids know that they have a principal that cares about them and wants to do good things and nothing is vindictive or punitive in nature. We’re not trying to do things that kids don’t like. We’re trying to do things that are fun and give kids a reason to come to school that don’t necessarily pertain to academics. This year that did not work, but that doesn’t mean that you give up.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Principal Mr. Todd Bauer communicates changes regarding Knight Time”

  1. Sydney on June 8th, 2017 10:02 pm

    I have some concerns about Knight time. I believed the main purpose of Knight time was to help improve students in school and eventually better our communities. However, Knight time doesn’t seem to be a good educational tool. For example, every time Knight time classes meet we just talk about Naviance and the activities performed during the classes are not educational. Also I heard from the teachers that everyone should know each student in their Knight time classroom, but some teachers don’t even know their students. I wanted to also note that Knight time was used to perform emergency drills, but I recall that we only had one drill. This caused an issue because when we had a unplanned fire drill no one could find their Knight time teachers. In particular by taking away 9th period, the Greek Club will be discontinued and its enrich learning and love for this language with Mr. Rockey will be forever lost. I hope you take the time to read and understand why I think Knight time is not working, and a better use of time would be to reinstate 9th period.

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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA
Principal Mr. Todd Bauer communicates changes regarding Knight Time