Some New and Upcoming Changes at HHS

Abby Reicher and Rose Walsh

Hawthorne High School had a lot of change this year, especially with our new principal, Mr. Cunningham. As the year is coming to a close, Mr. Cunningham has been working hard throughout the year to add some more changes for the years to come.

One of Mr. Cunningham’s biggest change, is how the exams are going to work next year. Hawthorne High School has been giving final exams for a while. For the final grade to be calculated, each student would have all four final grades for each marking period and then the final exam. They are all worth twenty percent of the final grade. That is a lot of added pressure for the students because the final exam is worth the same amount as an entire marking period.

Mr. Cunningham had the idea, which was implemented in his last district, to do quarterlies. The way this would work is that at the end of each marking period there would be a project, test, presentation, or other assignment that would count as their quarterly exam. This process will replace the final exams and finals week.

Another main change that Mr. Cunningham has been working hard for (and will be starting next year) is getting the students more opportunities at the high school to get college credit in their classes. Currently, students can receive college credit by taking Advanced Placement courses or a few honors electives like Advanced Media Arts, Broadcasting II, and Pre- AP US History. This is going to be very helpful for students when they begin to look at colleges because they will have some credit already under their belts.

The Clarion was fortunate enough to speak with Mr. Cunningham and ask him some questions about the changes for next year.

The Clarion: The Clarion heard that there are going to be some changes around the school for next year. What are the upcoming changes for next year?

Mr. Cunningham: Next year, there are going to be more opportunities for freshman to choose career pathways also known as small learning communities. There will be four pathways that students will get to choose from. Hawthorne High School is going to begin a partnership with Passaic County Community College. Our partnership with PCCC will provide students with dual enrollment, which will give them the ability to receive college credits for classes besides just for AP classes.


The Clarion: What are your thoughts and ideas for the quarterly exams, themselves?

Mr. Cunningham: The reasoning behind beginning quarterly exams and ending finals is because a final exam is worth 20% of your overall grade which can be unfair to students. The advantages to a quarterly exam is that it can be given a lot of flexibility to teachers on how they want to test their students. The school hopes that this will help students do more hands on work and projects as it is not a requirement that teachers give traditional exams for quarterly grades.


The Clarion: Can you also name some of the new additions to the types of classes that are going to be open for students to take?

Mr. Cunningham: Additional classes that HHS will offer at the start of the next school year are Biotechnology and Health, Business Administration, Communication and the Arts, and Government and Social Studies.