Q&A with Assistant Principal Brittany Wiseman over new SSRT

Zainab Idrees

Assistant Principal Brittany Wiseman

Who exactly made the decision to make the change from SRT to SSRT?

The teachers and the administration knew that we needed to make a change after we looked at how we were helping kids and how we could best reach kids. The administration got together this summer and decided on the name “SSRT” and how this will change the existing study hall, but there was input throughout the entire school year from stakeholders. They shared information about whether they felt connected at school. For example, what type of services were they receiving in SRT? (Administration) sometimes saw people walking through the halls and not doing much during SRT, so we just had those conversations with individuals, whether it was students or teachers and asked how it was going in SRT. Now, this summer, we decided that since we have all this information that it was time to make a change, and then we ultimately, as administration, made that change but we had a lot of input throughout the years of what individuals thought about SRT.

Will this change from SRT to SSRT be permanent or temporary?

Our hope is that SSRT will be a success so the change will be permanent. One of the nicest things (with this change) is that sophomores and juniors will stay with their current SSRT teachers for the coming years. What this means is that sophomores will have the same SSRT teacher for their junior and senior year so you’re with the same people for all three years. We’ll still have those special SSRTs but we’re going to try to minimize some of those so that the ones we have are very purposeful. Overall, the hope is that (SSRT) can be a student’s connection point on Gold Days. We hope that if you need help, you (feel) comfortable enough to ask your (SSRT) teacher. It’s just one way to make the big school a little bit smaller.

What if students have multiple teachers that they have to go to? 

No, so that’s a really good question. Luckily, now, everyone has Canvas. So, since all teachers are using Canvas in the same way, you’ll only be able to see one teacher during that SSRT time. I would encourage students to email, message and even Zoom to get assistance from teachers at different times. We really just want that hour to be for one teacher.

What are the new rules about SSRT?

Many of the rules are the same. The first 30 minutes, you cannot leave your SSRT. Also, you only can have one pass for the hour-long session, and you can’t leave that room. Before, sometimes, people would leave and come back. Now students are required to stay at that destination. Additionally, if (students) have a pass, (they’re) going to sign out electronically. If not, I’d be in my assigned SSRT for the whole duration.

Personally, what do you think the effect will have on students?

There’s two major impacts I hope that it has on students. The first would be that connection. It’s always nice to have a community of people here. Even if you’re not best friends, you are familiar with those individuals. I can tell you, when I was a Carmel High School student 1999, we were supposed to stay with our SRT every year. They changed it my junior year. I had the same SRT my freshman and sophomore year. Even though those people in my SRT were not my best friends, I could still tell you who they were. I can still tell you the kid I went to for help for math, the one I’ve always helped with English and roll my eyes like, “Oh my gosh, just do your reading,’ but we helped each other and that was just our little community. I really enjoyed that, during that time to have a community. I hope students find that here. When you’re really almost forced to be around these people all the time, you kind of look, ‘Okay, how can we help each other” Another change with that piece is no longer will you go into SSRT and it has to be quiet the whole 90 minutes. For the first 30 minutes you could be doing an activity with your teacher, you’re listening to morning announcements. You’re also going to have time to talk to your neighbors, like ‘Hey what’s going on?’ That first 25 to 30 minutes are really just building that community.

And then the second aspect I’m really excited about is the hour-long session. It really will give teachers the ability to help students for that hour. Before there were so many managerial things of who’s coming in, who’s coming out and that’s a lot to juggle. I think, hopefully, people will be more prepared during SRT. And on a side note, we’re still going to have our testing rooms. So if someone needs to make up a test or a quiz, they will be able to make up, potentially, multiple quizzes because there’s a room that we’re going to have for making up tests.

Tessa Collinson

So if someone’s worried about making up a test, they’ll be able to do that in one session. The teachers will just send them to the testing room.

Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like readers to know?

I would say, the one thing I (would) want to tell students is to please talk to your SSRT teacher. If you have any questions, if you think, “I have no idea where to go”, email your SSRT teacher, go talk to that person. Also, get to know the people around you because everyone has so many talents at this school that we truly can help each other, but sometimes you don’t know what other people are capable of because you don’t talk to them, so talk to each other and have those conversations and really help each other and put your phone away. Don’t get your phone out, be tech-free for that time, I think that will help your eyes and help your soul, too.