Pantherette

Mr. Langston Tells All

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Mr. Langston Tells All

Hannah Harvey, Editor-In-Chief

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“Every  student is an individual, every student has needs, and every student has a history,” -Principal Troy Langston.

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The Pantherette staff sat down for an informal press conference with the new principal, Mr. Langston, in order to break down barriers and ask about his plans for Paschal. Subjects ranging from diversity to dress code, and everything in between, were discussed.

“We need to do a better job of identifying what that history brings to the table, but also not say that your past sets your future. We can bring a high level of academic rigor to every student’s desk, and make sure that every student is challenged to do better.”

In response to the question of how to practically make this a reality, Langston answered-

“Developing real relationships between teacher and students is important. Sometimes, a big school like Paschal can be a little impersonal, you walk through the halls and you don’t know anybody. At my previous school, I knew all 400 students by name. We need to bring work to that relationship building phase to help people feel like they belong beyond the box they’ve been placed in.”

The past years at Paschal have made certain problems clear: the unofficial segregation of socioeconomic classes being a main one, as well as security, attendance, dress code, and funding.

The new Principal, Troy Langston, is addressing these problems as he inherits them for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Paschal student body has students of all different races and backgrounds, but that might be hard to see at the classroom level. Higher level courses and lower level courses do not have equal distribution of diversity, and that is a problem that many agree needs to be addressed.

“We want students who maybe weren’t in pre- AP classes in middle school to start taking those classes, and as they start popping into higher level classes you’re going to see more integration there, making those relationships stronger so they feel more comfortable in those classe. Anywhere you go, if you are the minority in the room, you feel that all eyes are on you. If they are courageous enough to be apart of those classes anyways, everyone will benefit. I’ve also started talking to the leadership class, and my goal is to start to asking students about the best way to make this happen,” Langston said.

“The mayor has the saying , ‘One Fort Worth,’ and I’ve started thinking of it as ‘One Paschal’. I want to bring in speakers and symposiums that are of the same mindset to help us think of some of the realities that we live in in a complex city like Fort Worth, so that students are aware of the situation. Awareness helps.”

Mr. Langston’s main goal is to create a positive community that fosters understanding and common goals, and he had much to say about how to go about making that a reality at Paschal.

“We could have different experiences, different points of view, even different beliefs, but if we value each other, to start with, that’s a common value that we can all have. Those common values can help to bring each other forward. Sometimes we have disagreements and we don’t talk it over, so we have to model that for each other. We don’t all come to situations with the same experiences, so we have to teach what that looks like here, and that’s a big issue. If you see or hear someone talk badly about a group of students, call them on it. We have to be a little courageous in life, because if we aren’t, then the world stays the same.”

 

As far as every day responsibilities, Mr. Langston feels that his job is to facilitate open conversation about honesty and respect.

“I am here to be there for the students, the teachers and staff, to be a cheerleader for them. I also want to put things in place to support those conversations about truth. I am here to make sure that resources are spent appropriately, equitably, and legally, and to make sure that everyone is as safe as we could possibly make them,” Langston said.

The dress code was a hot topic among all students as the school year began, and the administration held a forum prior to the first week of school to hear the opinions of female students, and although some guidelines were agreed upon, there has been some confusion about the practical rules that they should follow. Mr. Langston confirmed that the severity to which the administration enforces the dress code varies on a daily basis, but urged girls to be mindful of professionalism when choosing what to wear to school.

We listened to what you have to say about dress code, and we heard you. The regulations may leave some room open to interpretation, which may lead to some tough conversations. My advice is if there is any question about if an outfit is ok to wear to school or not, take a picture and ask someone who can help you make that decision. We have norms and guidelines, and when it comes to business attire, conservative is the main style,” Langston said.

Mr. Langston admitted that the dress code enforcement is inconsistent, and changes on a daily basis. However, Paschal’s dress is out of district dress code guidelines, and has been for years, so he feels it is something to slowly start to bring back to an equilibrium that makes both students and staff feel comfortable.

Many students have noticed that some of their classes are much larger than they have been in previous years, and are asking why that is. Mr. Langston explained the cause of this, as well as the broader issue of funding on the district level.

“The district reduced the size of the teaching body for the entire district by a certain number, and that means that most schools lost about three to eleven teachers. The faculty did agree that we wanted to minimize those losses, so we are using some of our extra resources to pay the district for some teaching positions, but we are still at a loss. Until we get a source of money that would help us alleviate some of those problems, we’re going to have larger classes across the district,” said Langston.

Many students question the reasoning behind the incentive based attendance program that took place at the end of last year based on the obvious lack of funds, and wonder if the program will be returning this year. The program consisted of a weekly raffle for prizes such as Apple airpods, iPads, bicycles, and other desirable prizes, that students had to be present in class for the full week in order to be entered.

“We are required to continue that program because the district gives us money specifically for that. I want to get some student and faculty input about how best to utilize that money. The same shock and awe that students experienced, was also experienced by the principals. The amount given for the program is relatively small compared to the salary of a teacher, but it does look a little bit odd. Some schools saw quite a bit of attendance growth, Paschal saw 2% growth, which is not bad for us. In some schools the incentive didn’t help at all, but some saw up to a 7% gain. (The district) gives us a lump sum of money and tells us to find a way to get more students in school,” Langston said.

Problems such as these were handed to Mr. Langston as he stepped into the role of Principal, and although Paschal is a different environment than that of his past school TABS (Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences), he has high expectations for the performance of the school.

“We believe that Paschal can be the best comprehensive high school in Fort Worth, and it could be better than it is now. Don’t rest on your laurels, we have a competitive school and we should be competitive,” Langston said.

“I was very happy to see the football teams to win, and I don’t expect that to be the result every week, but I’m happy to see us working in that direction. I expect us to do better in academics this year, I’m very happy with our volleyball team and our track team. Everyone should wake up and do their very best work. You don’t know if you’ll wake up tomorrow, so do your very best today. My support is with my expectations: it’s very high.”

“We are the oldest and biggest high school in Fort Worth, everyone should know us for the good things that we do. We don’t want to rest on yesterday, or last year, or last generation- we want this year to be the best class of graduates ever, and we want this year to be the best in Paschal’s history.”

About the Contributors
Hannah Harvey, Editor-In-Chief

Hannah Harvey is the editor-in-chief of the Pantherette. She has been on the staff for three years. Hannah is apart of the leadership team for Fellowship,...

Janie Pritchett, Photo Editor

Janie Pritchett is a senior news reporter and photographer for the Paschal Pantherette. Outside of being apart of school clubs such as Paschal BuildOn...

1 Comment

One Response to “Mr. Langston Tells All”

  1. Laura Green on October 5th, 2018 7:32 pm

    Nice article Hannah!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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