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Corona retains old rules but could ban iPods, MP3s if abuse persists

By Nathan Schroetter

July 29, 2006

Jam-packed hallways, the excitement or fear of challenging classes, the heavy traffic on Knox Road--all are the norm for a new school year. But at Corona del Sol High School, the new year will bring some changes that could alter longstanding practices, policies and, in some cases, pleasures.

Corona, of course, will remain a highly competitive school, both in academics and athletics. Principal Jim Denton says that's a priority.

Also unchanged will be the code regulating what students can wear on campus and at dances or other extra-curricular activities. Likewise, no change is planned in the hard-line policy of expulsion for students involved in threats of any kind.

As to possible new regulations, Denton says the staff is considering a rule that would forbid iPods and MP3 players.

“We are really encouraging parents and students not to bring MP3 players,” Denton said.

“First of all, they get stolen, and second, they are a huge classroom disruption. We are at the point where we might say they are just not allowed on campus.”

This change may even be placed in the student handbook as a specific rule for students to follow.

“In a perfect world, everybody could bring their stuff and we wouldn’t have any problems, but we don’t live a perfect world,” Denton said.

“It takes away from learning and teaching in the classrooms also.”

While parents and students should realize that this rule does not apply to cellular telephones, Denton says it still can be a risk to bring them to school.

“We are not emphasizing the cell phone thing as much as the MP3 and iPod. We realize that parents need to get in touch with their sons or daughters. I have two kids at home with cell phones, so I know,” Denton said.

Teachers and administration can still confiscate cell phones if they are being used or causing disruption, but students can bring them to school.

Corona dances may also see changes in the amount and type of security utilized.

“They’ve made breathalyzers relatively inexpensive, and we will pretty much breathalize anyone we suspect to be under the influence,” Denton said.

The dances that are causing the most problems for the administration are those with a “casual” atmosphere, Sadie Hawkins and Morp. According to Denton, the behavior at these two dances must improve.

Students, mostly freshmen, sophomores and juniors/seniors (who have not passed the AIMS), can also expect more preparation for AIMS testing, especially for the writing portion. Corona fell 10 points this past year in the writing section from the 2004-2005 school year, and 4 to 5 points in the reading and math.

“Writing scores were down, but they were down statewide,” Denton said. “We were down, but no one went up.”

“They say that a 4- or 5-point drop is overall insignificant.”

The slump in the scores statewide is partly credited to the change in the writing essay prompt given students, according to Denton.

“AIMS always used one type of essay, but they changed it last year and it kind of caught everyone by surprise,” he said.

“We are taking steps to make sure that our English teachers are working on all sorts of essays.”

This year will also be the first year for freshmen and sophomores to see the science portion of the AIMS test. It will only be a field test, but could become mandatory to pass for the class of 2010.

The dates will not be set until results from this year are processed.

“[AIMS] validates what we have been trying to say we have been doing for a lot of years,” Denton said.

“We have been preparing students and we are validating that with our passing scores.”

Personnel changes will also be felt this year as they are every new school year. Longtime science teacher Steve Woodward and drama instructor Linda Parish won't be back.

“They will be very hard to replace,” Denton said.

“Mrs. Parish and I go back to the first year I was at Corona in 1980.”

Also, Spanish teacher Kevin Chapin has signed on at Basha High School in Chandler so he can work closer to home.

Replacing such veteran teachers isn't easy, Denton says.

“There is no substitute for experience. When you lose that many years of experience, it’s always hard to replace.”

In capsule, suggests Denton, the coming year may have many small changes but overall it will be similar to years past. A high school grows and adapts to the times, he says, and that's no different at Corona del Sol:

Veteran teachers leave and new ones take their place. New updated policies replace those that are outdated; it is a normal cycle.

“I hope that students come to school to learn,” Denton said.

“Corona is a great school. We have some great students come through here and a great community. I am very proud to be here.”



Photo by David Stone


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