A new policy at Fauquier High School has freshman attending monthly group sessions during homeroom. During these meetings in which the same students gather, group advisors (FHS faculty) have students participate in getting-to-know-you activities.
Principle Clarence Burton, whose idea it was to create these groups, believes that “the major goal, the overwhelming goal, is to help students get to know [other] students really well. That way they have a person here that they can feel more comfortable with, and that they can go to.” He also feels that “it’s more of the connection piece, the relationship piece” that is important when it comes to meeting with the groups. According to a poll, most of the teachers and administrators working with the freshman groups think they benefit students. The majority of the students, on the other hand, do not find these useful.
A school guidance counselor and freshman group advisor, Mrs. Scott, suggested that “we only have these groups for a certain amount of time, instead of the entire freshman year.” She also commented, “while they can be useful, [the freshman] have better things to do with their time. As we get closer to SOL time, some kids go to see other teachers to work on them. Some of our kids are going to have to go do that because that’s more of a priority anyway. It just gets busier as the year goes on so I think that through the first semester would be most effective and after then, I’m not so sure.” Mrs. Scott is somewhat in the middle when it comes to this situation, and has mixed opinions on whether or not the groups should be completely cast aside. While they help students connect with each other and get to know new people, they can also take up time that could be used for studying.
Although some students find these meetings helpful, the majority think that the groups are pointless. Like freshman, Sawyer Morris states: “I don’t enjoy [the freshman groups], because they don’t help at all. We just sit there and talk a lot, that’s it.” Multiple other freshmen have the same view as Sawyer when it comes to these meetings. Several groups do fun get-to-know-you activities, while others sit and do nothing productive. “They are just a waste of time when we could be getting work done.” While researching this article, the general answer students gave was that they don’t enjoy them and don’t make much progress with anything during that time.
While most students aim to get rid of these groups completely, teachers find them useful and would like to continue them in the future, even if only for a short period of time. It has not yet been discussed or decided if the groups will continue to meet, and with the contrasting opinions of the freshman students, teachers, and group advisors, no one will be able to predict what will come of these groups in the future.
by Ella Tedeschi and Helena Lovell–Staff Reporters