One of the building goals for DHS this year includes engaging in collaborative leadership with our student body. Recently a group of students and teachers has been tasked with reviewing our incentive program, specifically the requirements and incentives associated with early release. Both students and staff agreed that creating a program that was inclusive, simplified, and resets each week would motivate more students to achieve. They came up with the idea of “Wildcat Release”.
Beginning October 19th, Wildcat Release becomes the only type of early release students can earn and will take the place of previously scheduled Grade Check Early Releases and Honor Card Early Releases.
The dates for Wildcat Release include: 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/13, 2/22, 3/1, 3/8, 3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/12, 4/18, 5/3, and 5/10.
On Wildcat Release days, students earning the privilege can leave the building or report to the Student Union after the travel bell during seminar (2:25PM). In addition to signing out of seminar, students must have the parent permission slip signed and on file with their seminar teacher in order to be released. The permission slip is attached.
In order to qualify for Wildcat Release, students must meet all of the following qualifications:
• Grades - All course grades are “A”s, “B”s, or “C”s during IPS/Closed Seminar (No “D”s or “F”s),
• Perfect Attendance - Zero tardies and zero non-school related absences (Excused or Unexcused absences) from 1st period of the previous release through the IPS/Closed Seminar in which grades are checked, and
• Discipline – Zero discipline referrals during the week.
Qualifications reset each week, so students not earning the privilege one week, are eligible to earn it the next week. The purpose is to reward students for meeting academic, behavioral, and attendance expectations. If a student does not meet the requirements on one of the dates, they will have other opportunities throughout the year. We kindly ask parents to honor the incentive and not call students out of school during seminar, if the student did not qualify for Wildcat Release. Documentation will be expected for appointments the following school day.
Wildcat Release, FAQ
Who developed this program?
A group of 8 teachers and 4 student volunteers (elected members of Student Council) serve on the DHS Protocol Advisory Council and collaboratively developed the program this fall.
Why is DHS changing the incentive program?
Previously, students either earned or were disqualified from release privileges for an entire semester, via the Honor Card reward system. Students and staff felt that a student’s absences from school during the previous semester should not impact earning early release in the current semester. Staff wanted a simplified program, and students wanted a program that could include more students, provide more opportunities for early release, and reset each week.
What is the difference between Wildcat Release and Grade Check Early Release?
Wildcat Release has additional requirements of perfect attendance and discipline. Moving forward, each early release will be a Wildcat Release, rather than alternating back and forth between different types of releases.
The information on attendance refers to ‘non-school’ related absences. What is a school related absence?
A school related absence is any absence from class due to a student being involved in a school sponsored activity or sporting event. Examples include: field trips, and sports competitions.
Why do excused absences disqualify students from earning the privilege?
An absence, even if excused, causes a disruption in planned classroom learning activities that will require students to use seminar time in order to regain lost opportunity. Seminar is the time of day in which we expect students to visit teachers in order to make up tests, assignments, labs, or gain important direct instruction missed when absent -even if the student has good grades. Allowing students to be released from this time of the school day after missing school is counter to the purpose of Seminar.
What happens to Honor Cards?
Students that earned Honor Cards for first semester of the 2018-19 school year will still have all the privileges earned until the end of first semester. This includes leaving seminar 10 minutes early daily and being able to travel to the Student Union during seminar. At the conclusion of the fall semester, the Honor Card program, and all privileges associated with it, end.
Previously only Juniors and Seniors qualified for Honor Cards. Do Freshmen and Sophomore students also qualify for Wildcat Release?
Yes. The program includes all grade levels.
What is meant by ‘qualifications reset’ each week?
If a student is disqualified by an absence or tardy, low grade, or discipline issue during the week and as a result is not allowed Wildcat Release, the next week provides a new opportunity for the student to qualify for the privilege. For example: if a student is absent from school on a Wednesday due to an appointment, they will not qualify for Wildcat Release the Friday after. However, they will have the opportunity to qualify the following week.