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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Not So Fast, Student Drivers: Leave and Return Depends on MBLE

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Brianna Johnson
Daniel Coyle gets into his truck as he prepares to leave during fifth period. Coyle, a junior at Nonnewaug, completed his requisite MBLE steps to earn leave and return privileges.

WOODBURY — Nothing is more exciting to upperclassmen than the privilege of being a student driver.  

Within the first few days of school, antsy student drivers were flooding the main office to get their “leave and return” forms.  The “leave and return” passes grant permission for students to leave campus during study hall. The school allows this privilege while also expecting students to make it to their next class before the bell.

This privilege also comes with the responsibility of fulfilling the Mastery Based Learning Experience requirements. In the state of Connecticut, it is assigned as a graduation requirement, and it pertains to what the individual is passionate about.

Last year, a number of seniors were waiting until the last minute to put together their MBLE projects. Administration decided to enforce a stricter policy to potentially eliminate the amount of procrastination in students and to ensure each student is making progress with their projects.

Haley Sarandrea, a junior at Nonnewaug, signs the form to request a leave and return pass. By signing the form, she is signifying that she has started her MBLE project and agreeing to use the privilege correctly. (Brianna Johnson)

Previously, only juniors were required to have administrative permission for the privilege of late arrival, leave and return, and early dismissal. This school year Nonnewaug “simply extended the step of getting administrative permission to the senior class as well,” says assistant principal Nicole Lewis.  

This differs from last school year because administration is getting involved and ensuring students are on the correct path to complete the project before the leave-and-return privilege is granted, rather than taking action later in the school year.

“I am hopeful that taking the time to have these conversations about the MBLE with students early on,” Lewis says, “will inspire them to complete this graduation requirement in a timely manner.”

Most student drivers that were affected by the policy were scrambling to find a project and fill out a proposal for their MBLE. 

“When I heard I needed to get my MBLE done to get my leave and return slip,” says junior Haley Sarandrea, “I immediately started finding my MBLE.” 

Sarandrea also said that the new policy was a “big motivator” for students who initially were ignoring the MBLE project as a whole. According to the administration, this was the main goal. The urge to have the privilege of driving sparked creative MBLE project proposals to flood in to advisors at Nonnewaug.

“I have been excited to be able to drive since freshman year,” says Sarandrea.

When I heard I needed to get my MBLE done to get my leave and return slip, I immediately started finding my MBLE.

— Nonnewaug junior Haley Sarandrea

Some students think this rule was difficult or unfeasible, but staff at Nonnewaug has worked hard to assist students throughout all the stages of their MBLE projects. All policies were put in place with motivating intentions.  

“A privilege is something that is granted conditionally,” says Lewis. “In this case, [students gain parking privilege] by completing the first step in the MBLE process, submitting a proposal.”

About the Contributor
Brianna Johnson '25
Brianna Johnson is a junior in her first year of being a reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is an ag student who's interested in agricultural production. When she is not reporting on the latest news, she enjoys riding quads, working with cows, and socializing with her friends. She hopes to become a women's health nurse practitioner. Brianna is excited to be involved in sharing the details of the latest local news.
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