Purpose: The purpose of the Dress Code is to provide for the following:
Paradigm General Dress Code Standards for all Scholars and Employees
The following Dress Code expectations apply ALL school sponsored events and activities. Clothing and appearance is to be neat, clean, and appropriate.
Aims of School Dress Code
It is the view of Paradigm that personal expression is an essential developmental characteristic of adolescence. Young people don’t only contemplate who they are and how to express who they are, but they must do so for long term health and well-being. Clothing and appearance is one of many ways young people chose to express who they are. Clothing and appearance is a quick, easy, and effective way to express oneself. However, it is not the only way or even the best way. Paradigm intentionally and carefully implements a School Dress Code and School Uniform that reduces options in clothing and appearance to a simple uniform in order to decrease the likelihood of using clothing and appearance as the main form of expression while at school. In short, it strongly encourages scholars to find other, more meaningful, ways for self-expression that are limited or hindered by clothing and appearance alone. At Paradigm we want to know scholars by their thoughts, ideas, dreams and strength of character and not by the labels or styles they wear.
Doing such requires a “Paradigm shift” since many are accustomed to using clothing and appearance as the main or prioritized means for self-expression. Paradigm has years of success in assisting scholars find and express their true selves by upholding a School Dress Code and School Uniform that is created to eliminate cliques and diminish prejudices formed solely on the basis of clothing and appearance.
One aspect that makes this possible is by excluding “extremes” in styles and selections so that everyone is more uniform in dress and appearance while at school. “Extreme” is often used interchangeably with “wild” or “outrageous”; this is not how Paradigm utilizes the concept of “extreme”. Paradigm utilizes the definition of “extreme” as described in most dictionaries, which refers to a position that is “furthest from the center or a given point; outermost.” Paradigm reserves the right to establish the “center point” in all areas regarding school expectations. For this reason, wearing denim jeans to school may be viewed as “extreme” even though there may be nothing wild or outrageous with jeans, simply because wearing the jeans would place a scholar in the extreme of the center regarding jeans at school.
Additionally, another positive outcome of the dress code is that scholars learn how to make and keep commitments related to institutions with which they choose to associate. Most work places uphold some form of dress expectations, including uniform. Paradigm helps prepare scholars for this type of real-world dress and appearance experience. If the uniform or dress code of an athletic team is to wear navy blue socks then it is expected that navy blue socks are to be worn if one wishes to participate in the event or activity for which the uniform is required. Failure to not wear the uniform results in the individual not being able to participate. The same is true in any area where a uniform is required: clubs, sports teams, military groups, hospitals, retail establishments or food services. When an individual commits to adhere to a certain policy expectation, it is expected that they will adhere per the established agreement between both parties.
Paradigm asserts that its School Dress Code and School Uniform is not a statement on morality, specific standards of modesty, or best practices for individuals when outside of the school. For example, the school is not claiming that polo shirts are the best option for young people to wear in general. The school simply holds to a School Uniform based on clothing that is easily accessible, affordable, uniform, tidy, and most importantly is conducive to learning at Paradigm specifically. The principle of honoring one’s commitments is an important life lesson and therefore an important aspect that Paradigm prioritizes when addressing Dress Code and School Uniform issues. The School Uniform could direct that scholars are to wear polk-a-dot socks on their heads to school, and if that is what was agreed upon, then that is the expectation that is set. Another example might include how a scholar appears at a school dance (for example, wearing a sleeveless top). The scholar may not be granted access into the school dance, but the reason would not be because of bare shoulders, missing sleeves, or a moral or modesty decision, but rather due to appearing to the dance dressed in a manner contrary to the agreed upon Dress Code. Commitment matters.
In sum, the School Dress Code and School Uniform exists to promote stronger self-expression through the reduction of “extremes”, promote unity as a school community, and to assist scholars in learning to keep commitments.
Special Accommodations: Accommodations regarding the Dress Code may be made for scholars and families who: 1) are financially unable to provide the uniform; they may meet with a school administrator to discuss the options available. 2) Medical reasons; scholars must present a doctor’s note to a school administrator explaining the necessary modifications to the Dress Code and the length of time the modification must be held.
School Dances and Activities: The School Dress Code applies to all school dances and school activities. Clothing that does not meet stated Dress Code expectation may result in not participating in the school dance or activity. Dances may have specific dress instructions based on themes (See Dances). Mentors or school administrators may also modify dress code depending on specific school activities as determined. Dances may entail special themed clothing. During these occasions, scholars’ clothing must still meet School Dress Code expectations.
Other School Events or Activities:Special class events: Occasionally a class may have an activity such as a class presentation or mock interview etc. During these occasions, scholars may “dress-up” and change into other non-uniform clothing such as suits or dresses. Clothing must still meet The School Dress Code expectations.
Trips/Activities: Occasionally a class may have an activity such as an outdoor service project or athletic activity etc. During these occasions, scholars may “dress-down” and change into other non-uniform clothing such as jeans or T-shirts. Clothing must still meet School Dress Code expectation.
PE Classes: Scholars are expected to wear Paradigm issued P.E. clothing for P.E. classes. P.E. Mentors may modify if necessary.
I love Paradigm. My children have never been happier, and have found a love of learning that was missing in their previous education!Julia H.
I went to Paradigm all through high school. Best experience ever. Not only did it help me focus on my strengths, but it also prepared me for college with its challenging curriculum that makes you think outside the box. The mentors there care about each of their students individually, and want nothing more than the students’ success.Jennifer L.