Parents get to let off some steam during `Coffee with the Principal'

March 08, 2001|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AT LAST week's "Coffee with the Principal" program at River Hill High School, parents spoke with Principal Scott Pfeifer in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. The eight parents who attended spoke candidly about issues that affected their children. Assistant Principal David Brown sat in on the discussion.

"The boys indoor track team won the state championship for the second year in a row," said Cindy Prucha of Highland. Why, she wanted to know, was the information not on a sign outside the school? Pfeifer nodded in acknowledgment of her complaint.

Wendy Steinhorn of Highland and Susan Share of Columbia were concerned about the opening of Reservoir High School in Fulton, scheduled for next year. Steinhorn was worried about moving high school juniors to the new school.

"I have a lot of concerns about a system where you instill school spirit and then you move kids halfway through [their high school careers]," she said. Steinhorn's daughter will move to Reservoir in her junior year.

Pfeifer was sympathetic. He said that by the time Reservoir opens, River Hill will have 1,600 students if juniors are not forced to move. River Hill's capacity is 1,400 students.

High school principals have recommended that 11th-graders should be moved when a new school is built, Pfeifer said. Sophomores and juniors will move to the new school; seniors will stay at River Hill.

Prucha joined the discussion, pointing out that there are advantages to going to a new school where enrollment is smaller. But other parents feared that Reservoir would not be organized enough to have programs such as a dance company or other enrichment activities.

In the spring or summer, Pfeifer said, a high school transition committee will be formed to plan for the new school. Committee members will include Pfeifer; the new principal of Reservoir, as yet unnamed, and parents. Once the committee is formed, Pfeifer said, parents should "bring these issues to the table."

"There are positives and there are negatives [to attending a new school]," he said. A disadvantage is that there might not be enough students for some activities, he added.

Share was interested in open enrollment at Reservoir, but Pfeifer pointed out that open enrollment has been suspended and may not be reinstated. Pfeifer, who is also the parent of a high school student, was sympathetic to his visitors' concerns.

Other questions discussed during the session were less emotional. One parent asked about future school dances; another about plans for the senior graduation ceremony.

Pfeifer and Brown spoke briefly about the teacher shortage. "I am actually going out nine times this spring to college job fairs," Brown said. According to Pfeifer, teachers can make $6,000 more and receive bigger signing bonuses in Montgomery County.

"We had a smaller-than-usual group today," Pfeifer noted. "There's a couple of regulars, but new people are always welcome."

"Coffee with the Principal" will be held at 8 a.m. March 28 and May 9.

Information: 410-313-7120.

`Anything Goes'

The River Hill High School Drama Department's will present "Anything Goes," a musical by Cole Porter, at 7:30 p.m. today, tomorrow and Saturday.

The musical is set aboard a cruise ship. A gangster, Moonface Martin, played by Matt Williams, is aboard the ship with his faithful sidekick, Bonnie Ryan. Ryan Krasney plays Bonnie.

Also aboard is Reno Sweeny, an evangelist with a lounge-act background, played by Katie Bowman. A friend of Reno's, Billy Crocker, is in love with Hope Harcourt, played by Kate Anderson, but Hope is engaged to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, played by Dan Schointuch. Hannah Sanderson plays Mrs. Harcourt.

Eighty-one River Hill students are in the cast. Chaos and humor follow the characters and their unlikely circumstances. The production will be in the River Hill High School auditorium. A matinee performance is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $6 in advance; $7 at the door.

Information: Pam Land: 410-313-7120.

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