West Goshen will promote serious, focused atmosphere with new dress code

Students at West Goshen Elementary will be required to wear collared shirts this fall. Plus, an Elkhart elementary school is looking at a similar change.

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

GOSHEN — Getting school clothes will look a little different for West Goshen families this fall.

Goshen Community Schools’ board approved a standardized dress code for West Goshen on Monday evening, May 12, making it the first school in the district to require students to wear the same style clothes.

Standardized dress or uniform: What’s the difference? 

It’s important to note that West Goshen is not requiring kids to wear uniforms

A uniform means kids have to wear exactly the same shirt, pants and shoes. 

Standardized dress means that kids have to wear shirts and pants that are similar but can be different colors or slightly different styles, according to West Goshen Principal Alan Metcalfe. 

Students will need to wear a solid-color, collared shirt with sleeves when they come back to school in the fall. They can wear whatever style of pants, skirt and shoes they choose, at least for the first year.

The school’s plan is to start out with the shirt in the 2014-15 school year, then require black or khaki pants or skirts, solid-colored sweaters and other changes over the next two years.

Principal Alan Metcalfe hopes standardized dress will promote a more serious, focused setting for students.

He said the standardized dress will also get kids used to the idea of dressing professionally for work in the future.

"School is like work,“ he said. ”Your job is to come here ready to go.“

Parents are mostly on board with the school’s plan, at least according to a survey the school did in 2013.

Metcalfe said some parents are concerned that the dress code will stifle students’ individuality. But the school will do ”free Fridays“ when students can wear their regular clothes.

And the shirts they will be wearing can be any color.

School administration did some research at local stores and found that parents will be able to buy the required shirts for between $3 and $15. They will also be selling the shirts through a vendor at the school for $5.75 each a few times during the school year.

For families concerned with the cost, the school will also start a ”store“ where parents can get gently used shirts donated by other students as they outgrow them.

In the Elkhart school district, another elementary school is on the verge of a similar change. 

Roosevelt Elementary is hosting a meeting for parents and community members Thursday, May 15 to discuss changes to its dress code in the fall.

According to a statement from the school, Roosevelt’s new dress code goes along with its transition to being a STEAM school

”Administrators intend the dress code to create an academy setting for optimal learning and respect for each another,“ Tessa Sutton, STEAM coordinator, wrote in the statement. ”Roosevelt believes that the personal appearance of every student is an important component of establishing an environment where all students are able to achieve at their highest potential.“

Roosevelt’s dress code meeting is at 5 p.m. at the school, 201 W. Wolf Ave, Elkhart.

Here’s a video of West Goshen Principal Alan Metcalfe discussing the dress code at the school on Monday.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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