Why, Wilson?

Chloe Fatsis and Julia Weinrod

You get down to the atrium hungry and lunch-less. Searching through your backpack, you manage to find $4—just enough money for a slice of pizza at Angelico. You ask your friend to go get it with you, but to your horror, they tell you they don’t have off-campus. When you ask why they don’t have it, they say that they can’t get off-campus privileges in the middle of an advisory, only at the beginning of the next advisory. You’re frustrated and annoyed. Why can’t they just get off campus in the middle of an advisory? Why, Wilson?

Ninth Grade Assistant Principal Tiffany Mercer said that off-campus lunch is based on whether or not you maintain a 3.0 GPA or improve by 0.5 points each advisory. Students will lose off-campus privileges if their GPA drops below the 3.0 minimum. She explained that DCPS only calculates GPAs at the end of each advisory, and that GPA is used to determine whether a student will be able to go off campus for the next advisory.

If a student doesn’t apply for off-campus lunch by two weeks into the new advisory, they’ll have to wait until the next advisory to receive those privileges. “[DCPS runs] GPAs once an advisory; we’re not going to go behind them and ask if we could get GPAs ran just for Wilson,” Mercer said when asked why students can’t get off-campus after that two-week period.

Data Coordinator Joseph Bellino explained that in the past, the system of approving students’ off-campus forms was very time-consuming, so a deadline was instituted to make the process more efficient, and that former Assistant Principal Tennille Bowser “said that it’s a privilege that we’re offering students [off campus lunch], so they should be able to follow the deadlines.”

The current policy doesn’t show signs of changing—Wilson students who finds themselves trapped in the atrium at STEP are going to continue waiting until the beginning of the next advisory for off campus. But Bellino said that that exceptions are usually made for students “if they have a good reason.”