On Monday, Lebanon High School will launch a pilot dress code policy that is expected to improve educational outcomes.

The pilot dress code can be characterized as more relaxed than the existing policy. The update more closely matches the dress code with the one at the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center, making it possible for students to transition between campuses without needing to change clothes.

According to Dr. Arthur Abrom, Superintendent of Schools, an anticipated decrease in dress code violations is expected to increase the time students spend in the classroom. The pilot policy was conceived with the goal of increasing time for student learning.

Lebanon High School Principal William Giovino and a team of teachers were tasked last fall with exploring the issue and worked with the high school Student Council and Faculty Council over the past two months to set expectations. Principal Giovino presented to the school board last month at a public business meeting and received approval for the pilot.

The pilot was announced this past Wednesday, with grade-level assemblies and parents meetings following.

Superintendent Abrom said that in Principal Giovino’s conversations with seniors this winter, more than 80% identified modifications to the dress code as the change they would recommend most.

A review of the current and pilot policies shows a number of significant changes, such as:

  • Abolishes “preferred colors”.
  • Allows T-shirts. Restrictions on what can be on shirts and other garments will still remain.
  • Allows hooded sweatshirts. However, head covering of any type on campus will remain prohibited unless in case of religious purposes or some other extenuating circumstance with special permission from the Principal. This means that all hoods must stay off on school grounds.
  • Expands allowable bottoms. Previously denim was prohibited, now “pajamas” are the only type of bottom called out as disallowed. Pants must still not be worn below the waist, and no holes or see-through material are allowed.

Find the existing policy here (PDF) and the updated policy here (PDF).

The pilot program will be assessed in a couple different ways. One is comparing discipline data for dress code violations across trimesters (violations are expected to go down). Another is comparing student achievement data across trimesters, with the expectation that performance will go up with the added time in classroom, due to the reasons mentioned above.

If the pilot program is successful according to these criteria, school officials will present supporting data, along with any suggested policy revisions, to assist the board in deciding if the pilot should become permanent. Otherwise, the official dress code would remain as it has been.


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