The Cummings Brothers: The Good and the Bad

Written by Logan Cummings and Alex Cummings|
Filmed by Logan Cummings and Alex Cummings|

After interviewing students and staff members, we were able to get a good sense of where The Morgan School thrives and where it can use some improvement. It’s clear that students have a great appreciation for their teachers, friends, and the opportunities that Morgan provides for them in education and extracurriculars. It’s also clear that they’re not too fond of the rules here, including the phone pockets, new study rules, and the inability to leave the cafeteria during lunchtime.

Students are likely upset with the rules here because many of them are new. With the start of semester 2 this year, students are no longer able to eat their lunches in the upper hub, and their freedom in study halls is now more restricted. Students with E period study can’t go to the cafeteria to visit other students during lunch; they have to be in a classroom or in the upper hub (as an exception, seniors still have the freedom to wander).

During other study periods, more emphasis is being put on students signing out when they want to go elsewhere in the school, such as the upper hub or the Learning Commons. Usually, students just tell the teacher where they’re going instead of taking time to write down their name, destination, and departure time. The emphasis on a sign-out system makes it easier to account for the students’ whereabouts, and it’s ultimately for their safety and security.

When it comes to the classes and teachers, students are able to appreciate The Morgan School. Morgan offers a lot of courses and the teachers care about the students, so it makes sense that the students enjoy those aspects of the school. It’s also evident that the staff wants students to succeed in their academic and personal lives. In many other schools, the connection between students and teachers pales in comparison to Morgan. This allows our school to stand out in the community aspect. After all, our mantra is “We are Morgan, We Are Family.”

Here are some of our own thoughts:

Logan: It’s great to see that students are widely appreciative of the teachers here. I’ve known that we have a great staff here, so it’s very uplifting to see that so many students share the same view. If I was asked what I like about this school, my first response would definitely be the teachers. When it comes to what I don’t like about school, I think that the amount of homework and busy work is a bit too much. Between 6-7 classes and the requirement for an English class each year (which can require a lot of reading and essay writing), the homework can easily pile up. Oftentimes, the homework seems to just fill time instead of reinforcing important material. At least the quality of the teachers here is enough to outweigh the dread of homework that we face.

Alex: I agree with some of the students about the new rule that you can’t eat upstairs in the upper hub. I liked eating upstairs because it’s less crowded, now the cafe is almost full. Something I do like about The Morgan School is the teachers; I think we have a great staff here because they care a lot about their students. Some other things I like about The Morgan School is our nice building as well as block days. The block days make it so it feels like it is a shorter day. I like coming to school because I can see all my friends and some of the classes I am taking I like.

We spoke with Principal Keri Hagness to see what she thought about the opinions presented by the students in the video. Considering the rules were the biggest complaint from the students, she addressed the policies regarding lunch and study halls. Mrs. Hagness said that “focus is important” when students are in a study hall or trying to complete work during lunch. While she recognizes that students appreciate downtime to reduce stress, a busy and disorganized study environment makes it harder to be productive.

Mrs. Hagness also noted that homework is a topic that should be discussed. She thinks that it’s an important tool for students to study material for tests, to enhance their understanding of the subject, and to develop thinking and problem-solving skills. However, she also noted that homework that isn’t fruitful (“busy work”) isn’t helpful to students; it would just add to their workload. Of course, busy work to one student could be helpful to another. Mrs. Hagness thinks that in instances of busy work, students should simply talk with their teachers to come to some resolution.

The biggest issue that Mrs. Hagness would like to see addressed is making advisory a more productive period. She feels that we could better optimize our time during the weekly class, and how to do so should be largely based upon student needs. She considers herself to be “a big student voice person,” and she encourages students to speak out about pressing needs and interests. Good communication is an important step to ensure the well-being of students.

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