Changes everywhere you look at DHS this fall


The past several months has seen waves of headlines spurting information of positions opening up in administration. However, this school year has brought along with it many changes, not only in the larger school community, but also at DHS.

Arguably the biggest change can be seen in the principal’s office. Last year DHS said goodbye to Kerri Lynch. This year staff, as well as students, welcomed new Principal John Gould into the community.

“You see me waving in the hallways and talking to people. You aren’t used to that,” said Mr. Gould. His six-foot-seven stature may be alarming to many. However, his charisma and warming smile allow students to feel comfortable despite craning their necks.

“Right now I’m getting to know the school,” said Mr. Gould. “I met with 90 teachers over the course of the summer.” He said that when he met the teachers he learned a lot about them and their feelings.

“From their answers, I formed the questions of ‘Where are we as a school?’ ‘Where do we need to go?’ and ‘How do we get there?’” Through this process he became familiar with the individual teachers who contribute to our school’s success.

“I also learned that we need to consider issues of curriculum, instruction, and our support of students, which are typical issues for any administrator to consider,” said Mr. Gould.

Video Production Teacher Joshua Moulding said, “[Mr. Gould] talked to me about his style and what he would like to do with the video program.” Mr. Moulding said Dr. Gould showed him videos from King Philip Regional High School and how Mr. Gould had many ideas on how to branch out the lunch show as well as more videos around the school.

“He’s a good fit for the school. The students will respect him while at the same time come to him if they have any issues,” said Mr. Moulding.

Former Dean Joanne Desmarais stepped up as Interim Associate Principal as DHS waved farewell to Marissa Logue, who is moving back to Rochester, New York.

Ms. Desmarais described her former position as a dean. “As a dean I was responsible for managing conduct and attendance concerns for all of the students on my caseload,” said Ms. Desmarais. “I also worked with guidance counselors, school social workers, and the school nurse.”

Ms. Desmarais managed student activities, which involved helping class and club advisers and organizing school events such as Reality Day and Spirit Week, along with the Kick Off Mentor Program.

“As an Associate Principal, I work more on curriculum and instruction directly with the school leadership team, which includes the deans, the principal, and the lead teachers. My job is to assist in the development of training to help teachers grow in their roles as educators,” said Ms. Desmarais. She is also responsible for managing data such as MCAS scores and AP scores.

“We use testing data to measure student achievement and to make changes in how we teach to help improve student achievement. There’s less discipline of students in this role [Associate Principal], but I do still support the deans in this capacity,” said Ms. Desmarais.

The Interim Dean of Student Life has not been appointed yet, but will be once the school leadership team conducts the interview process. According to Ms. Desmarais, the position was posted and over the next week or so, the applications will be reviewed, candidates will be screened, and the new person will be appointed. Between now and then, Janice Sharp is covering the duties of this dean.

Ms. Desmarais did mention that her office had moved to the associate principal’s office, across from Mr. Martin, if anyone needed to reach her.

Last year, the Principal’s Advisory, a sub-group of the Student Council, met with the three deans and discussed the tardy policy, which many students felt was unreasonable.

According to Ms. Desmarais, the students on the Principal’s Advisory last year felt that the consequences for being tardy were too strict. The administrative team thought about their input and felt that if we could be a little more lenient, perhaps students would step up and also be a little more responsible about getting to school on time.

According to Ms. Desmarais, the deans, the former associate principal, and Mr. Gould discussed the issue and decided together to try to give students more leeway. Mr. Gould stressed the importance of good work habits and getting to school on time.

“As a team, we thought perhaps if students saw our good faith efforts to listen to their concerns and meet them halfway, then perhaps students would, in turn, make good faith efforts to be in school on time,” said Ms. Desmarais.

Now, when students hit five unexcused tardies, their deans will call their parents for a conference. Upon the seventh tardy, students will begin receiving detentions and other progressive discipline consequences, including losing parking privileges if necessary.

Among other changes, the price of parking passes dropped from $100.00 a year to $60.00 a year, all of the hall walls received a fresh coat of paint this summer, and the gym floor has been resurfaced.

“I’m glad the administration decided to redo the gym floor because not only are all the students provided with an adequate area for physical education activities, but the sports teams that use the gym also benefit from this,” said junior Rumi Lazarova.

Lazarova later added that as a Winter Track athlete it’s relieving to know that the lanes are finally marked with the correct distance markers and the track is now a complete 200 meters. This will be a huge plus this winter season because DHS has had trouble in the past hosting track meets due to an unregulated track.

“I think a lot of students were happy that the parking pass fee dropped,” said senior Nicholas Rego. “A lot of kids didn’t understand where all of the money was going.”

Mr. Gould had stated that he’d like to bring a few ideas from his prior job at King Philip Regional High School to DHS. “I’m trying to talk to the students and have them go through student council and say for instance, my issue is the dress code.” From there, students need to examine and survey other schools’ policies. If students want to see change occur, then it is up to them to make that happen. Mr. Gould is open to any suggestions, as long as there is support and data from other schools to back up the proposal.

Mr. Gould also stated that the technology problem in the school was being worked on.

“The technology department is making progress and our capacity is slowly improving,” said Mr. Gould.

Also, three bathrooms have been opened up and repaired. “We put back online a girl’s bathroom upstairs, as well as two other bathrooms,” Mr. Gould said.

Ms. Desmarais, as well as Dr. Gould and any other administrators, are open to the possibility of any senior related privileges. “The courtyard is a beautiful, underutilized space that we’d like to see students access. However, we are looking for help from the student leaders to help us come up with good guidelines for how it is to be used, and how we will monitor it in order to ensure student safety,” said Ms. Desmarais.

The administrators are open to any suggestions regarding the school. “How can we make the fields better? Can we have picnic tables in the courtyard?” asked Dr. Gould.

Any student with ideas on how to use and manage any privileges safely should see Mr. Martin or Ms. Desmarais.

“Any suggestion would be long term and would be anywhere from a one to two year process,” said Dr. Gould.