Not all Taft HS students have a locker under new ‘request’ policy; Taft reports 97.2% on-track freshman rate
by BRIAN NADIG
Students at Taft High School on the varsity campus were not issued lockers at the beginning of the school year in an effort to reduce congestion in the hallways and to help get students to class on time.
“They don’t hang around (in the hallways), and they’re going right to their next class,” principal Mark Grishaber said at the Oct. 12 meeting of the Taft Local School Council.
Lockers are being assigned on a request-basis only, and about 600 of the 3,000 students on the varsity campus initially asked for one, Grishaber said. He added that nowadays an increasing number of learning resources are digital, making it less necessary for students to use their lockers to store books and other materials.
Lockers have been assigned to some students because they have to store their team uniform, and “in the next couple of week we’ll start assigning lockers (to others),” Grishaber said.
An additional 700 students have requested a locker since the LSC meeting due in large part to a need to store a winter coat, according to Grishaber.
The idea for the new locker policy came from a visit to Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, where a small number of students have lockers, according to Grishaber.
Taft LSC student representative Amelia Manno told the council that “little or no explanation” regarding the new locker policy has been given to them students, creating a lot of confusion.
About 800 of the 1,200 students on Taft’s freshman campus requested a locker, and lockers have been assigned there, Grishaber said.
It also was reported that the school’s on-track to graduate rate for freshmen is 97. 2 percent, up from 87 percent two years ago.
The increase would have meant that Taft’s overall performance rating would have changed from Level 1 to a Level 1+, the highest in the school system, but during the pandemic ratings are not being issued, Grishaber said.
Having a separate freshman campus has helped ninth graders to develop leadership skills and to not pick up “the bad habits” of some upperclassmen, and teachers are better able to identify those freshmen in need of extra help, Grishaber said. He added that larger high schools will be increasingly looking at the creation of a separate campus for freshmen.