One on one with Holt High School's new principal

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By Marina Petz
Holt Journal staff writer

The 2013-2014 school year has brought many changes to the Holt School District that have kept it in the local headlines. One of the biggest changes is the plan to move seniors from the main campus building to soon to be renovated the north campus, where ninth grade classes are held.

“The renovations are minimal, ranging from $10,000 to $15,000,” said Michael Willard, principal of Holt High School. “That involves an increase in class sizes, murals based on career choices and renovating the lunch room.”

The plan to switch buildings, starting with the class of 2015, initiated an immediate response from unhappy students, which led to the student sit-in.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback,” said Willard, who became principal of the high school in August of this year. “A big part of it is a social piece, the seniors being isolated from all of the other grades.”

The building switch, which is just one of the many district changes in the overall plan, was brought up in several board meetings. The district wanted to find a way to save money while providing students with the best education possible.

“The changes between the high school and Midway Elementary School will save the district $1.5 million in three years,” Willard said. “We’re trying to keep, and expand.”

The largest problem Willard and the district found was not the actual plan itself, but spreading the information about the restructuring of the high school. Even after multiple meetings to answer questions, Willard said a majority of the students and parents are still not up to date.

“The first meetings 20 parents showed up and for the December meeting 40 showed up,” Willard said. “The most recent meeting 60 parents showed up. We have 1850 students so that’s less than percent.”

The ultimate goal for the restructure of Holt High School is to create a learning environment that will help prepare students for their next big step after graduation, college.

“Freshmen can start taking college classes and earn up to 30 credits that can transfer to an actual college,” Willard said. “We hope that the students see the benefits of what we’re trying to do here.”

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