A Year of New Changes


Michael Godek

There are no teachers in Titan Time this year.

The school administration has never shied away from making changes to the school. From creating the AP Support Center to having teachers monitor the halls, the administration has consistently been changing the school in order to benefit the students that make it up. The main changes that were implemented this year came to Clubhouse, Titan Time and class organization in the hallways, which significantly affect both students and teachers. The administration, with a large amount of input from the staff, decided to implement the changes before the end of the last school year to aleve extra pressure off of students and staff for this school year. 

Clubhouse, a bi-weekly advisory meeting for students, no longer exists for this school year. While there is no official clubhouse, Freshmen are still organized in a crew with two Link Crew Leaders, one Junior and one Senior, although Link Crew had been a staple of Dominion for a long time. 

As for why clubhouse was not added back to this year’s schedule, “the feedback we got from students and from teachers, about the level of engagement, during clubhouse was that interaction from the students, especially the upperclassmen was not high,” said Mr. Signorelli. The administration decided to keep the portion of clubhouse that paired the freshman with the Link Crew to, “Help the freshmen get acclimated and help them build some community,” Signorellli said.

Another large change as of this year is that Titan Time will no longer have teachers in the room with the students. Signorelli believed a main fault with the organization of Titan Time is that not every student has access to his or her teachers. He said, “What Titan Time allowed was access, not access for all, but access for most. But what we were finding is that some of the students who needed the most support, weren’t served in those structures, or may or may not have even been in the same Titan Time as their teachers.” 

Signorelli said that when reviewing academic performance, access to a students teacher didn’t have a large effect. He also said, “We have to provide support without access.” The new system would have students attend math lab, writing center, and AP support for their questions instead.

The last major change that came to Dominion this year was class organization. Mr. Signorelli highlighted was the fact that the location of a students classes would be centred around his or her team and not based on subject. For example, Teams JMU and Duke would have their classes clustered together. Therefore, if a student has english in one hallway, he or she may have to cross the entire school to get to their math class. He said, “When the school opened, [it was a] much smaller school. And I think that the aim was to make it as small and as close and as personal as possible.” While this system of trying to have a close-knit group may have worked in 2003 when there was much less of a student population, in 2019 when there is over 1,600 students a new class organization would have to be created to manage the much larger student population.

Many teachers were forced to move classrooms due to this change, including Mr. Hicks, the chairman of the social science department. Hicks said, “It has its negatives, and it has its positives, the positives are that I can it there’s a lot of work at a meeting of teachers in your own apartment and planning stuff. And that’s nice, and it adds department cohesiveness.”

He also said, “The bad part about it is you tend to be cloistered in your areas, and you don’t get to know people in other disciplines so well. So there’s not as much in your disciplinary ideas going on between like English and social studies, science and social studies.”

While these changes are new to Dominion, none of them are set in stone. Hicks said, “I think the idea is okay we’re going to try this. And if it looks like it’s not working, or the benefits are positive enough, we’ll go back to the old style. So we’re, we’re always kind of in flux.”