Parents and guardians got a taste of what a typical school day feels like during Thursday’s open house at Madison Middle School.
The event started off with Principal Tammy Crespin giving a presentation on the dress code and school safety to an audience filling the gymnasium bleachers.
The principal reiterated the importance of wearing proper attire that does not impede the learning process, explaining that Albuquerque Public Schools dress code policy “shall be enforced consistently, equitably, equally and in a manner that does not lead to differential treatment on the basis of racial identity, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, cultural or religious identity and observances, household income, body size/type or body maturity.”
Clothes that display obscene or violent language or images; depict alcohol, drugs or other illegal item or activity; contain racist content, hate speech, profanity or pornography; or that can be used as a weapon are strictly prohibited at all APS schools.
Crespin said new fencing and gates had been installed for student safety and that parents and guardians must show an ID before being allowed on campus. All gates will be locked during school hours except for the front entrance, where visitors enter through one gate, buzz in and show an ID to a camera before the second gate is unlocked. Additional cameras are being installed around the campus as well, Crespin said.
After the presentation, students chaperoned their parents to their first period class. The crowd rushed across campus to find their teacher, who provided a summary of the classwork, grading policies and expectations of student behavior. When the bell rang for the crowd to move on to the next class, several parents began fidgeting, with many getting up to leave. “The class isn’t dismissed until I dismiss them,” one first period teacher explained to a class full of parents whose eyes darted around like a kid on their first day of school.
One parent, whose student was not there to help navigate the campus, asked for help trying to find the next class. Other parents rushed through the halls searching for their student’s advisory teacher. After advisory, parents went to second through sixth periods on the bell’s signal and teacher dismissal. Parents squeezed into the student desks, listening intently to each teacher as some of the younger siblings left to go to the bathroom or squirmed in their chairs. The fussier ones received some stares from teachers, parents and students as though wanting to tell them, “Shh. No talking in class.”
In the gym, coaches Michael Gallegos and William Leger explained that they’d been at Madison for more than a decade and that only Ms. Schell had been their longer than them. “This is a good place,” Leger said, adding that even though he commutes from the west side every day, he prefers to be at Madison. The coaches reminded parents to make sure students wash their gym clothes regularly and use the locks on their lockers so as not to lose any items before being dismissed to their next class.
After the last bell rang, parents and students poured out the gates and into the parking lot, with some heading over to Aztec Park, where Crespin said students should not be left unsupervised at the end of the school day. Although the class schedule was a much-shortened version of what students regularly experience, parents were able to get a feel for what it was like to be a middle schooler at Madison, making some feel like they were a kid again.