A hive lacks order and eventually collapses if the bees inhabiting, assigned their purpose by design, fail to carry out their unequivocal tasks; so too is the school system, where each staff member must contribute wholly if the school is to function (and even improve) as a fluid and effective machine. Through the move from two to four deans, the Chaparral administration hopes to accomplish just this.
The transition came initially due to the departure of assistant principal Sarah Gagnon, and the large influx of students over the last three years. “Our school has grown by a lot (by about 150 students) and we needed more administrative help,” said principal Greg Gotchey. Due to budget restraints, the school could not afford a new vice principal. Instead, the administration found that two new deans provided much more efficiency in handling the over two-thousand students attending. In this way, each dean is granted management over roughly 550 students each instead of 1100, allowing for more personal interaction--something Gotchey hopes the decision will inevitably cause.
Deans of students govern, mainly, two major areas: attendance and discipline. Attendance, especially, is an important area of focus at Chaparral, but the effort of creating a more manageable ratio of deans to students aims at reducing the problem to a much lesser level. As well as their jurisdiction over students in these realms, Gotchey describes the deans of students as “administrators in training”. Among other purposes, helping to periodically observe and supervise teachers, ensuring their efficacy and making sure that students are in the best environment for growing in each subject are only a few.
Each dean has specific responsibilities under the blanket task of attendance and discipline. Steve Borchik, former science teacher and new dean next to Deborah Ormsby, for instance, manages the distribution of state assessments for Chaparral and the “student data [grades] attached to teacher evaluation.”
On his new position, Borchik describes it as a huge change. “I’m seeing a different side of students and parents in the world of education. I reach a larger breadth of students [as a dean], but I had a much more significant impact as a teacher for the 160 students I saw,” he said.
The Chaparral Administration continues to look forward from Sarah Gagnon’s parting toward the opportunity to provide an even better, more personal experience for its students.
By: Cole Gerome