Question and Answer with Mrs. Dupree

Addison Cross

Story by Addison Cross, editor in chief

Q: Where will graduation be held since First Baptist’s sanctuary burned down? If it’s held at Grim Stadium, what time of day will it be?

A: We were actually in the process of getting that worked out when all of this happened. And so the conversation as a possibility of course we’re considering Grim [Stadium.] If we have it on [May] 23rd, which is our goal, but we just have to see how things are so, yeah, if it’s on the 23rd, then I would say Grim at this point in the talks would be the number one possibility but our talks sort of got interrupted because of this situation. All of that was, we were discussing so nothing was determined at that point, there was a discussion about moving the time but because of the heat during the middle of the day, because we definitely want to look out for grandparents, you know. So, and for [graduates] who would be in gowns and perhaps those get pretty warm too. So we were in the middle of all those discussions sort of got interrupted.

Q: Are we still planning to go back to school May 1st?

A: We are going by what the local, and the state level, and federal level recommendations are. So that’s, you know, we’re not trying to jump the gun on anything. We’re just listening to those people who are in the know about keeping everyone safe. And so at this point we’re just following along with their schedule. 

Editor’s note: Since this interview, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that all Texas schools will be closed for the rest of the year. 

Q: Are there arrangements being made for the senior awards ceremonies? 

A: There’s been discussion since we’re still sort of locked into the time where we think that we’re going to be coming back in May, at the beginning of May, they haven’t gotten marked off the calendars because we don’t want to cancel them and then us be back. “Oh, we could have had this,” you know what I’m saying? Swo that there are discussions as far as certain things that we must preserve in our minds, like we want to preserve as much as we can. But prom and graduation for you guys are my two top priorities. And beyond that, we’re just saying we’re going to talk those discussions as the calendar rolls out and we stay when we’re able to come back and what we’re able to do. 

Q: What arrangements are being made for student athletes? 

A: The coaches I know are in conversation about this so they would be more knowledgeable about this than I am. But I will say this, everyone is in the same boat. There’s not like some school that people are getting to compete, you know I’m saying? Like, we are in this boat together nationwide, and so I just want those, those athletes to rest assured that colleges are still going to need to be recruiting. Because they need kids to come to them. Right, so just rest assured, you’re not in it alone. And that those colleges are going to be looking at, far more than just this last spring because the spring isn’t happening right now for anybody. As far as acknowledgement for the senior athletes, great, but I know that those coaches, I mean, I have talked to the coaches and their hearts are with their seniors, you know, all their athletes, but especially their seniors because this is what you work together. A lot of these athletes have been with the same coach three years, you become family, and so they realize the significance of it for our seniors.

Q: What is happening with grades?

A: We want a system that is going to be equitable and we want a system that’s going to hold students accountable. We want a system that’s going to connect our students with their teachers, and with the school. We want a system that is going to create a bridge for learning so that whenever students come back they’ve not lost ground, and in fact hopefully have gained a little ground. We are awaiting. I think it may come out today, if not in the next few days I feel certain for a district wide release as far as what the grading policies will be for elementary, middle school, and then high school because it doesn’t all look the same. 

We’ve been in discussions and meetings with district level representatives and campus level representatives. I’ve gotten feedback from my core department chairs. So, this is a process. You know, it’s something we’ve never faced before so we’ve really had to try to look at every single angle. So all that being said, since I don’t have that from the district level yet, I’ve been involved in the conversation, I don’t want to speculate. You know what it’s going to be without having the official word. Now, what I will tell you is this. Over the years, I’ve heard you know what students perform if they weren’t graded. You know some they seem to just want the grade that’s attached. And I’ve always felt like we have an innate curiosity and an innate desire to learn.Over the years, I think sometimes that gets overshadowed by grades. When it comes it’s actually the pursuit of knowledge, that should be the driving force. Okay. So I want to encourage all of my kids to go back to that innate curiosity and desire to learn that you had when you started school that you had when you were born, I mean this is part of who we are. I also want to tell them especially me who are at risk of failing.

Maybe they failed the first semester. Maybe they fail, the fourth six weeks, you’re going to have to earn a pass. It’s not going to be just given to you. So we’re working hard, preparing passes. We’re working hard getting lessons online. I dare say that my teachers are working harder now than they had to before. Because they’re having to create this new world of learning and they’re doing it because they love you guys and they want you to still have quality.

Our school went to the trouble which we didn’t mind at all, but I want you to understand and I want our kids to know not every school issued a packet that was schedule specific. Some schools posted a grade level packet, which if you are in a younger grade level that’s not a big deal right, but if you’re in high school that’s a big deal. I think we made up 680 right around there. 680.

Now all that being said, you better be doing it, especially if you’re at risk of failing because you’re gonna have to earn it, you’re gonna show evidence of that learning. It might look different, but students need to be reaching out to their teachers communicating with them if they’re not understanding, they need to be taking pictures of what they are doing, ready to send it in.

Q: Has Texas High considered a pass/fail system? 

A: All of that is going to be part of what’s released at the district level, but I want you to know that we’ve looked at just about every scenario. Once again we didn’t want to just jump to the conclusion of oh this is how we’re going to do it. We asked around, we looked at what would be best for our kids and what would be fair for you guys. So, there’s been a lot of discussion, many, many hours of research and discussion that’s gone into the proposal that I hope will get the final policy today. Um, independent research that’s tied to it too. Yeah, it’s tied to it too because, you know, depending on how the second semester looks it might not, there might not be a point in completing independent research you know I’m saying then so we just need to see how that comes out finally and then go from there. Independent research students had really pretty much gotten through there. It was almost time for presentations, and one thing that we did discuss was even if we did do independent research and needed it for the second semester we would take away the leadership element, which means that’s normally where the students have to present a clinic, go out into the community and have a gathering of people where they share their new knowledge and. Well, you can’t do that right now. So, yeah, we were going to adjust this necessary if needed. 

Q: Will Summa Cum Laude students be able to take pictures with their favorite teachers? 

A: That’s one of the things that’s still on the schedule and so if it gets to a point where we see we’re gonna have to adjust them we’ll that’ll be part of that conversation.

Q: How will students without technology take AP tests? 

A: Have you seen Miss Stark’s PowerPoint that she sent out? Okay, so she addresses it in there. She says if anybody is wanting to test and doesn’t have access to technology contact her. Okay, so they need to contact Miss Stark, but also I was talking earlier about the colleges acknowledging you know the situation this is created for the athletes. Well, even College Board is acknowledging and working with, you know, so they’re making it to where students can take AP tests on cell phones, I believe, from the conversations I’ve been in I mean, you’re going to see colleges and agencies and departments and everybody doing things to try to help our students because we just want to get you guys through this and to to your next level and we will.

Q: What would you like to say to the students of Texas High?

A: You know, I could get all emotionally mushy and all that. I’m not gonna do that right now. You guys know you’re my heart, and I’m going to be strong, you’re going to be strong, we’re going to be strong together, and we’re going to get through this and stay safe.