Class of 2014 Must Prove Residency
The Wildcat Press
November 22, 2013
** Read the new Washington Post Article about this very subject.
In America, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Yet, Northwestern High School’s 552 seniors are now being required to prove their residency to attend Northwestern High School.
On November 8, 2013, seniors were called down to the Justice Theater for a senior meeting where student expectations, HSA/AVP completion, concessions, senior dues, and graduation requirements were discussed.
The major part of the senior meeting included seniors moving from area to area on the stage to eventually receive their T-shirt for completing student service hours and meeting HSA requirements.
The last task was to sign the senior banner.
The last minute addition of the registrar requesting all seniors to sign for the proof of residency notification letter
proved to be very time consuming. It is estimated only 100 of the 552 seniors actually received the proof of residency letter.
This addition to the senior assembly also caused seniors to be late or even miss second period. Teachers were not made aware that seniors would now be missing part of or all of second period.
Sources say there were meetings prior to the senior assembly to discuss the agenda. Mrs. Herring, the school registrar, was not present at any meetings to discuss this request or put it on the agenda.
There were many discrepancies with the letter. The letter to seniors appeared on letterhead that had a list of last year’s administrators for Northwestern High School.
It also did not reflect
who the current senior administrator is since the original administrator is out on leave.
There was also a problem with the wording. In the letter it states there was a “recent audit”, but according to Mrs. Herring, when asked if there was an audit she answered, “There was never an audit.”
While the letter stated each senior had to provide proof of residency by Friday, November 22nd, 2013 it did not indicate clearly who should turn in these forms to the school.
Also, it did not indicate what time individuals should come to the school to submit the forms. Finally, it did not inform families that the registrar would be out Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 to accept any residency forms.
An Aunt of one student was not allowed to submit the paperwork for her niece because the letter was not clear on who is allowed to submit the paperwork. She stated she was the caregiver
for her niece and the mother was not able to come to the school.
Everyone’s time is valuable and parents and guardians have to take time off from work which is an inconvenience and may even cause the loss of wages or even the loss of a job.
The letter states, if parents do not comply within the allotted time, “Students MAY be withdrawn from school.” In emails sent to teachers, it states students will be withdrawn, which leaves room for confusion.
Announcements during the week informed students they will be withdrawn if they do not comply by November 22, 2013.
On Wednesday, November 19th, 2013 an email was sent to the staff from Mr. Batenga stating that no students would be withdrawn at this time.
Teachers were asked to tell all the students about this change.
Mr. Batenga was asked what the new policy would be for seniors and other classes.
He stated, "That the registrar would review all senior records and then call down only the seniors with missing information."
He also mentioned that those students would have 30 days to bring in the information
starting from November 8th, 2013.
Mr. Batenga said, “We may move the date because it is more important to be accurate than to make a deadline.”
By the end of the day, no notices had been sent home.
A guardian mentions that she has not received any emails from the school or any automated phone calls as she normally does about other issues.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013 Mr. Batenga stated on the morning announcements that the entire senior class would still need to prove their residency.
The seniors would have until
December 13th, 2013. He said that a school system policy allows the school to do this every three years.
By the end of the day no letters were sent home with students with the updated information.
Pam Faringer a manager in the Pupil Accounting and School Boundaries office for PGCPS states, “That every school has the right to do an audit. The senior class fell within the three year bracket.”
When asked about the letter sent home with seniors Mrs. Faringer stated, “That she was not aware of the letter.”
Thus, this new requirement of the entire senior class is not a mandate from PGCPS, but from Northwestern High School.
Mr. Batenga did say that the way this has been handled since November 8th, 2013 could have been done better.
Juniors and sophomore classes should be ready to prove residency as well as both the registrar and Mr. Batenga have stated they would have to do proof of residency updates for their entire classes. .
“The freshmen class will not because the middle schools were to do it prior to the freshmen attending Northwestern High School.” According to Mrs. Herring.
The morning announcements for Friday, November 22, 2013 were silent on this matter. Teachers have not been emailed the updated mandate from the school.
Seniors do not have any notices to take home as the Thanksgiving break approaches.
If you have questions
or concerns you may
contact any of
the following people
Northwestern High School
School Registrar, Northwestern High School
Johndel Jones-Brown, Director,
& School Boundaries