GOSHEN — Goshen mom Tara Layne didn’t have to argue with her son, Evan, about what he’d wear on his first day of kindergarten.
Since Evan goes to West Goshen, he was required to wear a T-shirt with the name of the school written on the front for the first day.
This made it easier for teachers to distinguish the kindergarten students from students in other grades, West Goshen Principal Ryan Cinninger said.
Older students wore solid-color polo shirts in accordance with the school’s new standardized dress code. And next week, kindergarten students will adopt that uniform too.
"For my son, this will make the morning go more smoothly,“ Layne said, sitting nearby Evan in the school cafeteria Thursday morning, Aug. 7.
Another mother, Elizabeth Reeve, said she loves the new dress code because she’s now spending less money on school clothes.
Her daughter, Mariah, is in fifth grade and son Jacob is in kindergarten at West Goshen.
The polo shirts required by the school are inexpensive, Reeve said — they cost less than the clothes she would typically purchase.
"Honestly, it’s easier to shop,” she said Thursday after dropping off Mariah and Jacob at school. “I found that I spent less this year shopping for two than I did last year with one.”
Her children don’t seem to mind the rule, but they are looking forward to “free Friday,” when students can wear regular clothes.
West Goshen’s journey toward standardized dress started when then-principal Alan Metcalfe surveyed parents about the possibility of school uniforms in 2013.
Most of the parents who took the survey said they were in favor of uniforms, but the school corporation ultimately decided to go with a standardized dress code where all students would wear a similar shirt.
Over the next two years, more dress requirements will roll out, including black or khaki pants or skirts, solid-colored sweaters and other changes.
Cinninger, the school’s new leader, was impressed by how well dress code implementation went on the first day.
A few students didn't have the correct shirt, but they will be given a shirt from the schools’ stash, Cinninger said.
The school has shirts on hand for students who can’t afford to buy a new shirt or forgot to wear it, he added.
However, making sure everyone’s following the dress code comes in second to academics.
"We told our teachers we do not want to interrupt education for this,“ Cinninger said.