By Anaya Raikar
Among the several changes made at school this year, Winsor has revamped its late work policy by adding the late pass for Upper School students. Each student now has one late pass for every class per semester that can be activated online on the assessment calendar. Late passes can be used in a variety of personal situations, such as not having enough time for homework due to sports practice, whereas extensions are only given in the case of sickness, observation of holidays, and other extenuating circumstances.
Ms. Ramos presented the new policy at Upper School Meeting in September. She explained, “we wanted to create a system that increased communication between teachers, students, and advisors around late work so that patterns would be noticed and addressed quickly. The system will allow us to put structures in place to help students who are struggling with organization and time management establish better work habits that will support them now and in the future.” Ms. Gangi, another member of the committee that created the late work policies, stated that “the pass provides student autonomy… by incentivizing them to choose self-care and well-being instead of working late into the night to meet a deadline that becomes unrealistic.”
While there has generally been a positive response to the new policies, some have mixed feelings. Deedee Ansari ‘24 weighed the pros and cons of the policies, saying that “a system that applies to all of my classes ensures fairness and consistency. I also liked how our teachers were able to use their judgment to decide whether or not we could get an extension and how long that extension would be.” She also brought up a debate many of us have in mind: “when I want to use a late pass, I always ask myself if there will be a time in the future when I will need to use it more.” Additionally, Remy Kim ‘25 said that “while I think the new late pass system has its many benefits, my only concern is that it might actually result in teachers being stricter with extensions and flexibility”.
A few Winsor teachers also weighed in on the issue, citing potential concerns with communication between students and teachers. Ms. Reynolds stated that “teachers have usually granted extensions” in the case that students have felt overwhelmed by work. However, she is worried that “instituting the pass system takes the teacher out of the conversation. All they know is that the student’s not taking the test. Part of what we’re trying to teach is self advocacy, communication with teachers and adults, and time management. Those values are kind of lost in the new policy.” Mrs. Skeele noted that “the goal is not to penalize a student. The goal is to find out what’s wrong, how to help the student, and to identify habits with a student.” However, she is “not as keen on ways that avoid communication.”
The late pass system is essential for students to have more flexibility in their late work, as long as communication continues. Personally, I appreciate having a consistent resource to rely on during a particularly busy or difficult week of school and that Winsor is taking crucial steps to address the wellbeing of students and student workloads. While some are concerned that the late pass system could decrease student-teacher communication, I believe that the benefits to mental health and quality of work outweigh this potential downside.