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Secondary Principal Blog

Marsha Robbins

"What Not to Wear" was a popular TV show that ran on TLC from 2003-2013, now showing reruns on Discovery Family. The premise for this show was that friends and family could recommend a person whom they felt was sloppily dressed. If selected, the individual was surprised by the "What Not to Wear" hosts, who routinely discarded every article of clothing in the individual's closet and then helped that individual understand the type of clothing that best complemented their body type and helped them present themselves appropriately for their professional role in life.

Some students felt that our August 31 secondary DAYL (Dress As You Like) day seemed to be an episode of "What Not to Wear." There were students who gladly enjoyed the opportunity to show their individuality through attire that complied with guidelines. For others, however, angst was generated by misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the guidelines as well as some verbalized disagreement regarding the perceived strictness of the DAYL guidelines. We who are tasked with enforcing compliance to uniform and special dress also felt the burden of the day, feeling that we were creating barriers between the students and ourselves - something that we never want to do!

Resulting conversations centered around why we do what we do when it comes to student dress. From Cornerstone’s inception, the board determined that our student body would be attired in a standard uniform. The administration has the leeway to offer occasional special dress days with appropriate guidelines that support the desired educational environment.

The original intent of the fifth Friday DAYL was to provide an opportunity for students to express their individual personality. After listening to student and staff feedback, however, it became evident that our list of “what not to wear” created stress for both students and staff.

Secondary faculty proposed several special dress options that could take the place of the current DAYL and provide guidelines that were more simple to interpret and follow. These options were presented to students in survey format as we solicited their vote on their top choice. Options included were as follows.

  1. These Feet Were Made for Walking: Jeans (long or cropped, without holes), inoffensive T-shirt, and shoes of choice.
  2. Dress for Success: Girls (dress/skirt/slacks and blouse), Boys (slacks and oxford-style shirt), dress shoes.
  3. CPA Athletic Shirt/Sweatshirt: Jeans (long or cropped, without holes) and any style CPA athletic shirt (no tank tops) or outerwear.

Sixty-three percent of our secondary students took the opportunity to let their voices be heard on this topic.

The option receiving the highest number of votes - drum roll, please - was These Feet Were Made for Walking, with 73 percent of the vote as top choice. Students will now be able to show off their favorite footwear and T-shirt on the designated fifth Friday special dress days as they follow simple “what to wear” guidelines instead of a lengthy “what not to wear” list.In addition to scheduled special dress days, there are often class-related opportunities for students to dress in attire designated by the teacher for special presentations. Every day, whether a regular uniform day, a secondary fifth Friday special dress day, or a class-related special dress day, our desire is that students dress in such a manner as to present themselves with confidence without outward appearance being a distraction in the learning environment.

As always, we appreciate our parents’ support in helping their students understand the reasoning behind the school’s uniform and special dress guidelines that are found in our catalog as we all look forward to wearing our favorite jeans, T-shirt, and footwear for the November 30 fifth Friday special dress day.