Actions big and small reap prime parking spots


Jonathan Bacdayan

DHS Student of the Month and Teacher of the Month get prime parking spots.

This year, DHS students and faculty will have a new way to receive acknowledgement for their good deeds. As part of a broader overhaul of the parking system for teachers, prime parking spots have been reserved for a deserving teacher and a deserving student, to be selected each month in recognition of actions, big and small, that make them a valuable part of the community.

According to Principal Ross Thibault, the reserved spots are a byproduct of other changes, rather than a primary interest. Teachers have for years had spots assigned by seniority, but this was a flawed system. The method hadn’t been updated since well before Mr. Thibault arrived, and often new teachers would inherit the spot from the teacher they replaced, undercutting the whole seniority-based approach.

When the administration decided to overhaul the teacher parking system, it seemed wrong to keep reserved spots for the principals; other faculty parking would now be operating on a first come, first serve basis. The hope was to motivate teachers to spot up in a timely manner, but Thibault said he hasn’t noticed any changes. However, the opening of two spots coincided perfectly with a plan by the PBIS Team to institute a monthly system of recognition for school community members.

Each month, two students and one faculty member will be awarded the title of  ‘___ of the month’, with accompanying awards. The faculty will be able to park in a designated spot, formerly reserved for the principal. Only one selected student is likely to drive, and that student will get the former parking space of the associate principal. Students who cannot drive will receive a gift card. October winner James McKinney was awarded a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts card.

Senior Alexis Arruda, one of the September awardees, was initially surprised upon learning she had won. She was nominated by Music Teacher Shirley Byers for working with another student to teach them guitar, but Arruda didn’t know that would happen. “I know it sounds cliched,” she said, “but I didn’t help just because I had the potential to win something.”

To her, the recognition was nice, but she was just doing what she felt a good student should.

The selection process is different for students and faculty. Students who perform worthy deeds can be nominated by faculty, with winners picked at the end of the month. According to Mr. Thibault, the award is meant to acknowledge “students who each and every day do the little things right,” not just one great act. In the case of September winner freshman Benjamin Valente, his nomination came from displaying exemplary enthusiasm as part of the Cafe Tuesday program.

Teachers can nominate students through an online form, and the selection is done by the PBIS committee, consisting of Dr. Kristin Fortin, School Psychologist; Stephanie Nocon, School Social Worker; and Melissa Fitzgerald, School Guidance Counselor. 

Faculty can nominate one another through a different online form, with selection done by administration. September winner Guidance Counselor Daniel McGrath was chosen based on his work this summer in administering summer school and the  Flexible Learning and Individualized Pathway (FLIP) program, where at-risk students can work to recover credits and stay in school. Mr. McGrath echoed Arruda’s sentiment, that the award is just a nice perk that should come from doing your job, not the intent of praise. However, Mr. McGrath acknowledges that “being told you’re doing a good job feels really nice.”

Want your chance to be a student or faculty of the month? The title is in recognition of things done the month prior (October winner based on September, etc.), so there are limited chances. According to Ms. Fitzgerald, winners are people who consistently display “kindness, compassion, honesty, optimism, and resilience,” and Mr. Thibault’s best advice is this: “Treat people, both peers and faculty, with respect, be kind and courteous, put in your best effort each and every day.”