The Wingspan

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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

New Principal, New Policies at Centennial High School

Focus on Dr. Miller’s background and the enforcement of new school policies.
Principal Dr. Miller, photography taken by Hannah Kim
Principal Dr. Miller, photography taken by Hannah Kim

Every morning without fail, Dr. Joelle Miller greets students as they walk into the building, lighting up the hallways of Centennial High School with her contagious smile. 

Having started her educational career as a teacher in Montgomery County, Miller is experienced in several fields, including Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, and the English as a Second Language (ESOL) program. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership for Changing Populations and firmly believes there should be diversity in schools. In 2010, Miller transferred to Howard County to take an administrative position at Centennial. Five years later, she was promoted to principal of Clarksville Middle School, and later Mt. Hebron High School before returning here. “I feel like I’m coming home,” exclaimed Miller. 

Upon her arrival at Centennial, Miller enacted a new wave of policies and school improvements that prioritize the safety of staff and students. Over the summer, a new crosswalk was painted in the parking lot, numerous exterior doors were replaced, and more than 70 new security cameras were installed. In the mornings, students that choose to enter the building must stay in the cafeteria until the official start of the school day, as teacher contracts do not start until 7:30 A.M. and cannot be held responsible for students roaming the halls. Therefore, Miller and other administrators wait at the end of the car loop and unlock the doors when the time arrives.

As the school year has progressed, many students have also been heard voicing their discontent with the stricter enforcement of food and drink guidelines, as outlined in HCPSS Policy 9090. Though it is a countywide policy for safety, made to ensure no accidental allergic reactions or other incidents occur, Miller has made a point to reinforce the rules on a schoolwide level. “Most policies don’t make a difference for the ninety-nine percent,” Miller added. “But for the one percent it might.”

Another change was made after many teachers shared having problems with the inappropriate use of technology. Some students have been known to be on their phones during class, or using AI resources such as Chat GPT to write their essays. The new Centennial Staff Handbook suggests that teachers require students to leave their backpacks in a designated area, allowing students to be “academically present” and focused on their education. Not all teachers have enforced the rules in their classroom, but those who have made the change reported increased concentration and attention levels from students.

Not everyone may agree with the policies, but Miller established these rules with the goal to create “as many opportunities for kids to be successful in the class[room].”


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About the Contributors
Hannah Kim, Copy Editor
Yeseo Lim, Copy Editor