Friday’s minimum day will feature normal course work as opposed to the expected “drill day” after changes made by the Palo Alto High School administration.
“There’s no sense in doing it just because we’ve always done it that way,” Principal Kim Diorio said. “We really looked at the student feedback we’ve received over the past few years and we realized that this plan was not working.”
The main reason for the discontinuation of drill day is the low attendance rate of students in past years.
“It [The fire drill] is really important that the whole school be part of,” Diorio said. “We really need kids to know what to do in the case of an emergency. We just need people to take it a little more seriously.”
While the administration is rethinking its approach to these safety procedures and discussions, teachers now have an extra 30-minute class period to use for their own curriculum.
“For some of the teachers this was a surprise too,” Diorio said. “I told teachers that If you don’t have a lesson plan, you can kind of think of it as flex time, or think of a creative way to get to know your students better and maybe even make it fun.”
The legally required aspects of drill day will be spread throughout the year as the Paly staff attempts to find the most effective way to communicate them to students, Diorio said.
“We’re looking at things like the Advisory curriculum, we’re looking at flex time, and now that we have the Performing Arts Center, we can do assemblies,” Diorio said, “We’re also talking about other ways to implement some of these topics naturally into the curriculum.”
As for emergency drills, a fire drill is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11.
“We’ll build in time for the drill into second period and then adjust the schedule, so flex time on that day will be shorter,” Diorio said.
Despite the delay of these drills, the administration wants to stress the significance of these procedures and conversations.
“We’re not saying those topics aren’t important to us,” Diorio said. “We’re just trying to figure them out.”