Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Big Change Is On Its Way at Casa Maria High School

Believe it or not there are only two weeks of classes left until the end of the school year at Casa Maria!  Everyone is starting to have that end-of-the-school-year mentality already.  In fact, I’ve been helping a lot with administrative paper work to wrap up this year and look towards next year.  This work has included inventories of things in the classrooms and counting up absences and tardies for each student. 
Throughout October there was quite a bit of drama and speculation amongst the nuns and professors about the future of the high school.  There was a rumor that the high school was going to close completely for the coming year.  The closure was proposed by the nuns for several reasons.  The major reason is that, according to some of the nuns, the high school is not functioning at an adequate level. Many of the students lack respect for the professors and nuns, desire to learn, attention in class, good behavior, and punctuality. Classes are not only hard on the professors and volunteers, but the presence of the school as part of the larger project (which is all of Casa Maria) affects the daily lives of the nuns and all of the people who live there. Also, the nun who takes care of the dorming students does not like her job and finds it too challenging and tiring.
The director of Casa Maria went to the provincial Salesian conference one week ago. The province is composed of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.  While at the conference, the director proposed the closure of Casa Maria high school; however, the closure was not approved.  Instead, the mother superior suggested down-sizing each class to around 15 students. So how will the students who get to continue at the school be chosen? They are currently being evaluated by the professors and administrators in the areas of behavior, punctuality, grades, and uniform (if you can believe that last one or not). The idea is that the classes will be easier to handle and that the learning of students will increase with the smaller, more selective student body. Hopefully, the change will create an improved environment at the school—one that supports greater growing and learning, happiness, order, and peace.

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