New Principal Opens Door Of Communication With Students, Staff

In+the+opening+weeks+of+school+Freedman+has+been+surveying+students+to+get+to+know+them.+

Photo by Cece Brisbois

In the opening weeks of school Freedman has been surveying students to get to know them.

Cece Brisbois, Staff Writer

 Elizabeth Freedman, the new principal here at Barnstable High School, is working hard to ensure safety and respect for all members of the school community. The start of a new school year, all students back in the building after a year, and a brand new principal can be a stressful start for all students, teachers, or staff. Freedman though has been working to create an environment where students feel like young adults and release that built-up stress. Previously the principal at Lawrence Technical High School for 12 years, Freedman said she saw a new opportunity open and seized the chance to have a little change. 

“I loved working at Lawrence Technical High School,  but when I saw this opportunity open up, along with hearing many amazing attributes of the school, I couldn’t wait to take on this new adventure, especially somewhere as great as The Cape,” said Freedman. 

Already one month into the school year, Freedman’s current plan is to interview and taking in her surroundings.“I don’t want to come in and change everything right away. I would like to listen and learn about what works and what doesn’t, and gather data from all interest groups, as I am still new to the school,” Freedman said.

Freedman’s approach is to work from feedback to gain the thoughts and approval of the whole staff and student body. Freedman has already made some minor changes to help students feel respected and feel like they are being treated like young adults. “I have made the homework policy on weekends up to 15 minutes for each class as I believe that students should focus on self-care on the weekends,” Freedman said.

I don’t want to come in and change everything right away. I would like to listen and learn about what works and what doesn’t, and gather data from all interest groups, as I am still new to the school. ”

— Freedman

In an interview with Insight, she also discussed how cellphones are now allowed in the hallways and at lunch in the cafeteria. “By allowing students phones at lunch and the hallway we are preparing them for the real world as in college or at a job you don’t have these phone rules. This is teaching them to respect and use their phones appropriately,” said Freedman. 

One policy that has struck up some controversy though is the stricter hallway passes. Martha Swindler, an English teacher said “It’s ridiculous I have to give an 18-year-old man a pass to go to the bathroom 30 feet away from my class.” Many students and staff believe the passes are too restrictive, especially with administrators writing down the names of students.  Freedman said “ The passes are to help support students as we transition back to school to remind them where they are supposed to be. Your name is only written down to see repeats and students who might need extra help.” 

Freedman has stated she will continue to research and learn about Barnstable but has ideas on strengthening the career pathways and making some needed adjustments to the handbook.

“She is extremely communicative and keeps us all updated,” said Ian Mulcahy, a sophomore, when asked about the principal’s new transition. Some students, when asked, highlighted her communication as one of her strengths, along with her hopes to make the students feel as though they are young adults and are all welcome at Barnstable High School.