With a revamped leadership team and a few new policies, the 2023-2024 school year has started with quite a stir. Sit back and relax, Bengals, as we go over everything that’s changed at Blake since we last roamed these halls.
- Attendance Policy
The attendance policy at all MCPS schools has been changed to combat chronic absenteeism (students not going to school for long periods of time). Now, if you have ten unexcused absences in a row, you’ll automatically get unenrolled from the school. Stay tuned to see how this affects attendance for the schools in our district.
- Ms. Snead, Dr. Reaves, and Ms. Pierre Saint-Walla
Returning Bengals are sure to notice some changes to our leadership. The administrators for 9th and 12th grade as well as our much-loved principal Mr. Sinclair left our school at the end of the year and took positions elsewhere. They were replaced by Dr. Nicole Reaves, who’s now the 9th-grade administrator, Ms. Betty Pierre Saint-Walla, who’s now the 12th-grade administrator, and Ms. Snead, who’s ringing in the new year as our principal. As the principal intern last year, Ms. Snead is a familiar and welcome face here at Blake, and many are excited to see what changes she’ll bring to our school.
- State-Mandated Bio and Government Testing
All 9th-grade students in MCPS (starting this year) are required to take several standardized tests to graduate from high school, such as the MCAP Algebra 1 and English 10 classes. This year, the HSA NSL Government and MISA Life Science assessments have new passing requirements, and now count for a portion of a student’s grade in their government and biology classes.
- “Different House, Different Rules” (No Blanket Cellphone Policy)
We began last year with a strong and unyielding blanket policy that restricted phone usage during class (which was enforced less and less as the year went on). This year, each teacher will decide their own phone policy. We’re waiting to see how this new rule will affect student-teacher relationships, so students, keep an eye out for how the rules change for each class period!
- Laminated Bathroom Passes
Similar to last year, only one student is allowed out of the classroom at a time to go to the bathroom, and nobody is allowed to leave during the first and last ten minutes of a class period. However, this year, each teacher has a laminated bathroom pass on a lanyard for students to take with them. This change had to be implemented due to the number of students roaming the halls instead of being in class last year. We’re sure this is a welcome change for teachers as in previous years teachers would either have to write a hall pass or use instruments around their room, such as Ms. Matthew’s tennis racket.
- Free AP Tests
One reason many Blake students haven’t taken AP tests in the past is because of how expensive they are. Fortunately, this barrier to taking AP tests has been removed, since MCPS has waived the fees for AP tests. Hopefully, this will increase the number of students willing to take AP tests.
- The Blake Website
Last but not least, the Blake Website has been renovated! Returning students might remember that Blake’s website was somewhat clunky last year, but now, it has a more streamlined and professional look. This will make it much easier for both students and parents to navigate the website and find essential information.