A very new school year

Spotanski, Allen, Byrn, Rhodes new heads of NPHS


Nebraska Portraits

Cory Spotanski, Jami Allen, John Byrn, Jimmie Rhodes

Daniel Manning, Arts & Entertainment Editor

A brand new school year has just begun, and with it comes many changes.

The new administration team at North Platte High School (NPHS) has implemented several new policies and changes for the 2022-23 school year. 

Security and student welfare were on the minds of the administrators when they began implementing the new policies, which is why these changes include new cell phone and ID policies, a revised dress code, stricter rules and Jazz.

The administration team at NPHS was left a blank slate as of last year, with all four previous administrators leaving the high school. That left the positions of the principal, two assistant principals and activities director wide open and ready to be filled.

Among the new administrators is the current principal of NPHS, Cory Spotanski, who has ten years of teaching experience and nine years of administration experience. 

He was willing to shed some light on the motive behind the changes to the school this year, that being student welfare, school-wide security , and making an overall better learning environment.

All students around the school are required to wear their ID at all times because identification is a big part of safety.

 “Being in a school setting where not every student knows [each other], not every teacher knows every student, and certainly not every adult in the office knows every student,” Spotanski said. “It’s important to know who is in our building and who’s supposed to be in our building.”

Pull quote maybe: “We’re just asking, make sure that it’s visible and on your person.”

The dress code for NPHS hasn’t changed at all; it’s just been revised. 

“We just included all the verbiage that was already in policy in our handbook, so nothing really changed. What we added to it was a visual representation so that we could be consistent with the dress code at North Platte High School,” Spotanski added . “When we run into students that aren’t meeting dress code, we’re politely asking them to make a change to meet dress code; it’s not confrontational. We’re not trying to do anything that’s going to disrupt students’ day but we want to make sure that we are consistent with all of our students’ dress here at the high school.”

The no cellphones policy is far from a new idea, but the administration plans to take a new approach, by being as consistent as possible.

 “We talked about adult actions and modeling,” Spotanski said . “Students don’t need critics, they need models. Most people, whether you’re young or old, like consistency.”

 Because school is about learning, not focusing on what is on your cell phone, “so what we’re really hoping is, whether it’s in your bag, or in the pouch that [cellphones] just aren’t out during the class,” he added. “So you can focus on what you’re really here to do, which is [to] interact with other people, build relationships and grow academically, socially and emotionally.”

The jazz that plays in the hallways during the passing period does more than it may seem. 

During the 2021-22 school year, “tardies were a big issue when I was looking at data coming in,” Spotanksi elaborated. 

The purpose of the music playing in the hallways is not only to make passing periods a “little bit more enjoyable for kids as they transition,” Spotanksi said. 

It also helps students get to class on time because “it stops with one minute to go in class, that’s [an] indication everyone can hear,” he added. “We can reduce tardiness, and it actually has done so. I’ve only had a handful of students that have had 10 tardies and I think at this point last [year], there was a much larger number than that.”