Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
After 13 years, we have decided to upgrade our school uniforms! Listed below are 10 questions answered by our superintendent, Bo Gutzwiller, explaining the reasoning behind the changes.
1. Mr. G…remind us again of the benefits of school uniforms and why this is a priority for FCS students?
Our experience has taught us that uniforms contribute to a positive learning environment, add school pride and eliminate inappropriate trends and potential negative expressions. At FCS, we’d rather focus our attention on developing student character and wholesome values not external issues involved with constantly monitoring dress code violations.
2. What’s the rationale for changing the policies & adopting new uniforms now?
When FCS adopted uniforms 13 years ago, options for colors and patterns were quite limited. At that time we chose standard colors and generic styles that are now commonplace in several schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Today, the clothing industry has significantly increased product lines to include a wide variety of selections giving us several new options from which to choose. We also believe our 50th anniversary provides a perfect opportunity to introduce a new line of uniforms that will reflect the school’s colors and distinct brand.
3. How significant will the change be, especially with respect to existing styles and choices?
We’ll keep the most popular and practical styles preferred by our parents except they’ll be in the new colors. Plus, we plan to offer a few more styles and options that we believe will be well received. I think students will enjoy the preppy look and wear their uniforms with renewed pride.
4. Will the new uniform policy affect the traditional Wednesday “Casual Day”?
Yes and no. We will continue with the Wednesday casual dress, but with some modifications. Next year on Wednesdays (besides the regular school uniform) the pant options for students will be blue jeans or blue jean capris. For shirts, students can continue to wear school approved T-shirts, but only from the current year. We will no longer allow students to wear older T-shirts and hand-me-downs from previous years.
5. Can you elaborate further on why the new Wednesday policy is being set?
We like the idea that everyone can wear jeans on Wednesdays and we also like how student clubs, teams and classes proudly wear their school approved T-shirts. However, the policy has evolved into a hodge-podge of styles where almost anything goes. Recently, we conducted a Wednesday dress code inspection and counted over 60 different T-shirts being worn. Honestly, it looks very sloppy. The new policy allows students to enjoy a casual dress day, sport their school spirit T-shirts while maintaining a level of standardization.
6. Are there any other changes that should be noted?
Nothing major, but we will require students to wear socks that are basic black, white or gray. We will publish all details in the student handbook and email our families with the entire dress code in early summer.
7. Will the new uniforms be provided by an exclusive distributor?
Red Dot will continue to be the exclusive distributor of our school uniforms. Their store is relatively nearby and they will continue to conduct on-campus sales for convenience. This has been our policy from the beginning and it has not changed.
8. Will there be a grace period to slowly phase-in the change in uniforms?
The changeover affects all students TK – 8th grade and will begin the first day of school this August. We will NOT have a grace period where students can wear old uniforms along with the new. Allowing students to wear both sets of uniforms for a grace period would lack uniformity, look chaotic and not accomplish our goal to sharpen our image. (Exception: As students out-grow their current uniforms this spring, they may begin purchasing the new uniforms and wear them immediately.)
I understand there will be concerns about the cost of starting over. Undoubtedly, there will be some initial costs to families, but I encourage everyone to start out with a few basic uniforms and build from there. (That’s what we did thirteen years ago.)
9. How will the new uniform policy affect the annual uniform exchange program and its support of the mission outreach to the Dominican Republic?
Our commitment to support the Manny Mota Foundation and the children of the Dominican Republic is still a high priority. Obviously, the uniform exchange program won’t be necessary this year, but we will still have a Uniform Collection Drive. Students who turn in unwanted uniforms can earn FREE dress for the last two weeks of school. The uniforms we collect will be shipped to the Dominican. Next year, we will have the Uniform Exchange program again.
10. Uniforms really do make a tangible and intangible statement about our school, don’t they?
Absolutely. As one student said, “Wearing a uniform is part of being at a good school and I’m proud to let people know I attend FCS. Besides, it makes my mornings much easier.”
Organizations committed to on-going improvement must be willing to embrace change or they will find themselves stuck in the past. Look at professional sports teams and how their uniforms have changed over the years. In fact, we often look back at outdated styles with amusement. If you need more proof, look at your high school yearbook.
In the end, I think we will land in a very good place recognizing how the new uniforms will sharpen our student image while they are on campus and give us a distinct, identifiable brand in the community that is uniquely Foothill!
On April 8 we showcased the new uniforms at a fashion show for our student body and their families. Check out the highlights below: