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THE PAW PRINT An Independent Publication of Wilde Lake High School •5460 Trumpeter Rd. Columbia, MD 21044 • Volume 42, Issue 1 •

Gallup Day Response To Student Poll

Considered a welcomed day off by students, Gallup Day was an initiative to improve hope, wellbeing, and engagement. By Misbah Farooqi Managing Editor-in-Chief


n September 26, students came into Wilde Lake to discover that they wouldn’t be attending their normal classes. Instead, they had to report to their designated location, whether it be the JRT or outside on the track for “Gallup Day,” a program created in response to the Gallup Poll results from last year. At Wilde Lake, the results of the Gallup poll came as a surprise to many. According to the poll, only 47 percent of students said they felt “hopeful” about the future, 39 percent said they were “engaged” in school and extracurricular activities, and 57 percent said they were “thriving.” Mr. Channel, the school psychologist, believes there are many factors involved in the results coming out as they did. “Students who are uncertain about the purpose of learning and [are] struggling to feel engaged could certainly have less hope for the future. Economically, students would struggle to feel hopeful when family and friends may have difficulty finding or keeping jobs that provide enough income to support their families,” said Channel. However, these results may not be an accurate representation of the student body, according to Mr. Crouse, assistant principal. The administration felt as though some students didn’t take the test seriously and the wording of some of the questions confused students. Even then, the administration felt it important to be responsive to the results, so they formed a school improvement committee of teachers who discussed what could be done, and from those discussions, Gallup Day was created. During Gallup Day, students rotated

After team-building activities, students participated in the Homecoming pep rally (Photographs by Ben Townsend).

from classroom to classroom with their English class and engaged in activities that dealt with “R.O.A.R: Relationships, Opportunity, Attendance, and Responsibility.” For students, it was a welcomed day off. “It was fun, interesting, and gave students a chance to have a day off of school work and stress... We came together as a school. I, personally, really enjoyed it,” said freshman Zuha Wasti. “I believe it was successful,” says Mr. Cox, a teacher on the school improvement committee, “If one student saw something positive from the day, then it was a success.” According to Cox, the school improvement committee isn’t finished yet, as they’re still discussing other ways to increase hope, wellbeing, and engagement. Currently, many other programs have been implemented, including the Positive

SGA Runs Food and Clothing Drive For The Holidays By Misbah Farooqi Managing Editor-in-Chief

Starting from November 17, the SGA will be running a food and clothing drive. The food drive, conducted through the Maryland Food Bank, is being run to help hungry families during the holiday season. “We want to make a difference by helping to feed [families],” said SGA President, Mariam Catherine. As for the clothing drive, not

only will the SGA be helping those in need, but for every pound of clothes donated, the SGA will earn 10 cents. The clothing drive is run through the Clothing and Shoes Recycling Center, which reuses, repurposes, and recycles the clothes, according to Ms. Compofelice, the SGA advisor. There will be a bin on Main Street where students can donate food and clothing items, instead of bringing the items to their first period classrooms, like in past years.

Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, which focuses on praising students and awarding them with positive office referrals or student of the month. The committee also plans on surveying students throughout the course of the year to find out how they’re doing. The Gallup Poll is a survey conducted in all Howard County high schools, and it measures the hope, wellbeing, and engagement of the students. It was implemented by Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose, because her belief is that if schools can identify how students feel in regards to these factors, then schools can create a better learning environment. Foose believes it would lead to a deeper learning experience, to a higher graduation rate, and to students being better prepared for college and the workforce, according to

Cox. Other teachers on the committee include Mrs. Volinksy and Mrs. Caporaletti. But according to Channel, it’s not just about a day off. “It’s about building more honest and sincere relationships amongst educators and students. Wilde Lake staff certainly believes that hope, wellbeing, and engagement will be improved if students feel that they are known and cared for by their teachers,” said Channel.

“If one student saw something positive from the day, then it was a success.” -Mr. Cox

New Electronic Visitor Sign-In System Installed For Safety By Anjali DasSarma News and Features Editor

Walking into any Howard County high school, visitors no longer have to sign in with pen and paper. Instead, they are greeted by a new electronic method: LobbyGuard. LobbyGuard is a measure taken by the county to ensure student safety. The company advertises a “visitor management system” that “sends a message to all visitors that safety is a top priority.” The LobbyGuard system uses

the visitor’s driver’s license to keep a record of who is in the building and then monitors the visitor, according to Ms. Brennan. The system’s website adds that the LobbyGuard scans national sex offender databases on the Internet, and then snaps a photo of the visitor and prints out an official-looking sticker with the visitor’s name and picture. Not only is LobbyGuard for parents coming in and out of the building, but it is also for building services employees, people from

the central office, and anyone coming into the building. According to the front desk staff, visitors support the implementation. The office staff expressed their approval of the LobbyGuard system, as it frees up time for them, as well. When the system is not working or when the Internet is down, the front office staff simply reverts back to the paper and pen method.