Time For a Change: Superintendent looks to build on high school’s strengths

James Fein, Chief Reporter

Within the past year, Commack School District has undergone some changes, with one of the most impactful being a new superintendent who wishes to continue on improving the school district.

“The superintendent wished to discuss [with students] the future of the school,” said junior Christina Z.

The newly appointed superintendent, Dr. Jordan F. Cox, had meetings with students to gauge student opinions on changes needed to be considered. 

“It was an informative meeting for the administration to get insight on how students feel and what they think would be best added to the school,” said junior Conor S.

The superintendent selected students from a variety of grade levels to receive the most accurate feedback.

“At the meeting, there was the Board of Student Life and students from the Class Boards,” said Christina Z.

The superintendent focused on the wellbeing of the students because the educational system is designed to benefit their learning.

“Being an administrator, I never lose sight of why I am, and that’s for the students. One of the things I love to do is to talk to the students because I want to know what [they’re] thinking. I want to know what we do well, where are the areas we can grow, what are the opportunities we may not have thought of, [and] talk to some of our alumni,” said superintendent Dr. Cox.

Dr. Cox wishes to continue emphasizing the strengths of Commack High School.

“A strength of the high school is that the staff here have done an exceptional job creating an opportunity for every student no matter what their interests are,” said Dr. Cox. 

The intention of these meetings was to enhance the educational experience of the students based upon their interests.

“The careers we have identified are based on student interest, so when we share surveys with students and we ask them what their aspirations are for when they graduate; what are possible career interests, it has come back as health sciences, business administration, fine arts, and STEM, engineering, things of that nature,” said Dr. Cox.

A large variety of topics relating to the welfare of the high school were discussed with the student groups.

“I brought up how our library is always closed after school. I thought by extending library hours, it would allow kids who do not have a free period, study hall, or lunch to be able to use the resources in the library both before and after school,” said Conor S.

Major changes to the high school building have already begun, adding real life spaces for academic application.

“Students had said that they wanted a space to practice public speaking, where actually this summer we are going to be redesigning the library, and one of the spaces we will have in there will be a presentation room just for students so they can work on presentations and public speaking,” said Dr. Cox. 

Dr. Cox wishes to provide students with the ability to apply fundamental educational requirements to possible future careers.

“The graduation requirements still exist, but my vision, my goal is to allow students to make meaning of their learning. If you were sitting in a college chemistry class and saying ‘when am I going to need this?’ and you knew maybe someday you wanted to study to become a pharmacist, if I told you that course would better prepare you for a career in pharmacy, now it has meaning to you,” said Dr. Cox. 

The meeting with the superintendent did not just focus on the issues facing the high school, but also improvements that could be made to strengthen educational practices across the school district.

“Regarding the education system, we all talked about how teachers have been teaching to the test, and there should be more performance based testing,” said Conor S.

Among the several improvements that could be made to the education system, there was a great emphasis placed on in-person learning.

“The idea I shared with the superintendents was to have more field trips. I believe that field trips are beneficial for understanding the lessons. For example, we could visit museums, [and] art galleries,” said Christina Z. 

The students were pleased that Dr. Cox has listened to their suggestions and are excited to see the improvements he is making across the school district.

“I was very excited when Dr. Cox mentioned that the library will be renovated over the summer, as I spend my free periods there and would love to see it renewed,” said Christina Z.

The meetings with Dr. Cox have provided the superintendent with valuable information to provide students with the opportunity to pursue their desired educational goals.

“Being in a leadership position in a school is not only to expose our students to how many doors they have open to them, but what are some doors that we don’t even know about, that we can create; some new opportunities for students that don’t exist right now, and that’s some of the work we’re really looking forward to,” said Dr. Cox.🔳