Bensen Eases in New Policies

New+Principal+Billie-Jean+Bensen+talks+with+students+outside+the+school+building+during+lunch.+Bensen+has+been+working+to+become+more+familiar+with+the+many+faces+of+RHS.+--Mercy+Fosah

New Principal Billie-Jean Bensen talks with students outside the school building during lunch. Bensen has been working to become more familiar with the many faces of RHS. --Mercy Fosah

New Principal Billie-Jean Bensen talks with students outside the school building during lunch. Bensen has been working to become more familiar with the many faces of RHS. --Mercy Fosah
New Principal Billie-Jean Bensen talks with students outside the school building during lunch. Bensen has been working to become more familiar with the many faces of RHS. –Mercy Fosah

New Principal Billie-Jean Bensen will continue to enforce expectations and guidelines that have been set in prior school years.

Bensen met with principals from feeder elementary and middle schools, the RHS SGA, parent groups and resource teachers to learn about the various perspectives from those in the RHS consortium.

“She was willing to listen and she was very open to our ideas,” said SGA Vice President Angela Devanadera.

Bensen also observes classes to monitor how curriculum is being taught, to learn the

layout of RHS and to become more familiar with staff and students.

“I often hear about great lessons from parents and students and teachers and I like to keep connected to what is going on in the classroom. I think deep down I miss the classroom a little bit,” Bensen said.

The new algebra one curriculum is a concern on Bensen’s radar. Furthermore, RHSa�� algebra teachers are part of a pilot program in which new computerized calculators, the TI- Inspires, are expected to be incorporated into the new curriculum.

“I’m definitely losing sleep at night. Everything that I used for algebra last year is out the window a�� and with the new technology, I have to learn how to use a new calculator,” said math teacher Carmen Tong.

Based on conferences with the math teachers, Bensen is familiar with and understands the time constraints and challenges teachers are facing due to the common core curriculum and pilot programs at RHS.

Bensen, who was previously the principal at Hoover Middle School, said she is having trouble in adapting to the earlier start times at RHS and the increase in school events.

“RHS has about 300 more students than my middle school a�� I am so impressed with how well students are accepted and involved in so many programs and activities,” Bensen said.

Although subjects such as the open lunch policy, class color day and lack of parking have all been brought to Bensen’s attention, she is not planning to make any radical changes in school policy.

Dress code guidelines set in the RHS agenda book will continue to be enforced. Students will be expected to dress appropriately.

This is a stark contrast to former RHS Principal Dr. Debra Munk forbid students from wearing yoga pants, unless a sweatshirt or t-shirt covered from waist to fingertip length. However, Bensen is primarily concerned with the way yoga pants are being worn.

“What’s yoga pants to me, may be tights to you … and if your yoga pants are three sizes too small, that, to me is more of an issue than the name of the pants,” Bensen said.

One area that Bensen is planning to take action is traffic flow amongst cars and buses, because this is a safety issue during end-of-day bus procedures. Bensen is looking to resolve this so students and staff can arrive and depart more safely.

“It is not my intent to automatically change anything,” Bensen said. “I believe in my heart of hearts that being a Rockville student is a privilegea��Students will follow the rules.”