POLACCA, Ariz. — On Nov. 2, the Hopi Junior and Senior High School Governing Board have voted to have an active shooter simulation drill.
The board took action Sept. 13 during its regularly scheduled meeting. In addition to board members and administrators, over a dozen visitors attended the meeting.
Edgar Shupla, president of Hopi Jr./Sr. High School Governing Board, called the upcoming drill a good project.
Board member Steve Bahnimptewa said he participated in an active shooter drill at Hotevilla Bacavi Community School and said it was neat to watch.
“We are here to protect the kids. We need to make sure we know what we are doing,” Bahnimptewa said. “You want to be set in case it does happen.”
Bahnimptewa said the first instinct in case of an active shooter is to get yourself out, but educators need to remember that they have these people behind them. He said an active shooter drill is something to do, something to witness and something to participate in.
“I want to be part of it. That’s where the emergency plan comes in,” he said. “So take it to heart.”
Board member Romalita Laban said she wants to give the community a heads up that this is going on so nobody thinks that it is real.
“I don’t want to give anybody a heart attack,” she said.
Although the date was approved for the active shooter drill, there will be many planning sessions before the event and the planned event will also be discussed at future school board meetings.
In other school board news and during a call to the public, the school board heard a complaint about a dual enrollment program and problems about discipline in addition to positive comments about improvements to the math department.
Toni Mina, a parent of a student enrolled in the dual enrollment program, said the program is not working as intended. The dual enrollment classes allow high school students to get college credit for some of the high school classes they take.
Mina said some of the students in the class were getting college credit at Northland Pioneer College (NPC) while others were not. She questioned why only some were getting this credit.
“Why just seven when all are doing the same work?” Mina asked.
The lessons for this particular class come through a video screen and Mina said the sound wasn’t loud enough for students to hear.
Mina said the problems caused those in the class to start three weeks behind schedule.
“This is supposed to be the building block to higher learning. We are failing the students,” she said. “This shouldn’t be happening three weeks into school. I want a resolution so this doesn’t happen again. This has been a nightmare for us.”
Mina thanked Hopi Junior High Head Teacher Lucille Sidney for calling NPC to work out the problems and Hopi High School for paying the college fees.
Mina said she enrolled her daughter at Hopi High School because she heard it was one of the better schools.
“This is great? I don’t see it. I want the school board to show me this school is great,” she said.
Additionally, Lyann Naha, chief of security for Hopi Jr/Sr High School, said the new system of having deans of discipline is not working. Athletic Director Ricky Greer was made dean of boys and Hopi Junior High Head Teacher Lucille Sidney was made dean of girls. But Naha said the other duties of those two do not give them the needed time to work on discipline issues.
Naha said an assistant dean is needed to deal with discipline issues full time. She said the security guards are never in the hallways because of how busy they are. She said small discipline issues, like a student slamming a door or picking on each other, takes up a lot of time.
“We need help,” she said.
The day after the meeting, acting Superintendent Alban Naha announced the school would advertise for a dean of students.
Finally, math teacher Carmen Honyouti praised the school for purchasing new math text books. She said the text books will give the students structure and flow with the help of technology.
“This will give us a lot of structure that we didn’t have for the past five years,” Honyouti said. “We have a great team of math teachers who have good attitudes.”
Honyouti said the math department will see updated data about the students test scores in January.
“The kids love their tablets because it gives them time to work alone,” she said.
Honyouti, who is also the senior class sponsor, informed the board that the seniors hope their class trip this year will be to Florida. For several years, the senior class trip has been to California. The seniors going on the trip have to raise the funds.
Honyouti said she is frustrated for the seniors because the school has gone through so many changes this year, but she praised the administration for being supportive.
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