School News
In-class support is key to student success
I once encountered a student upset about something and could tell she wasn’t in the right headspace for class and so did my teacher.  My teacher texted a dean at my school to come check in with her and went up to her to ask her if she needed something like a break or some one to check-in with so she would be able to have a productive class. When she came back to the class she was engaged in her work and was participating. Because she was able to go for a walk and talk to a trusted adult, she was able to clear her mind and talk about what was stopping her from learning. This opportunity to reflect on her feelings and to take a break allowed her to understand her feelings and be able to return to class to successfully learn. 
Lucille Germain, an 8th grade English teacher at Match Middle, is a perfect example of a teacher who really wants to help when she sees that a student needs help or that they're angry or upset. She goes up to them quietly and doesn't make a scene and she asks them, “are you okay? Do you need to step outside? Do you need a break? Would you like to talk about it?” This support is very helpful towards students because students just need space and distance from others sometimes. After these check-ins, a student who has had their head down comes back into class, gets started on their work and is more productive. Germain also said, “It depends on the student. If it’s a student I have a good relationship with, I ask them if they’re ok right away and if they say no, I check in. But if it’s a student who I’m not too close to, I observe them from afar to see how they’re doing and any changes in their behavior. Then I slip them a note or something telling them I’m here for them. [And] then I tell the rest of the teachers to keep an eye out in case this carries over to their class or in case one of them has a better relationship [with the student].”
Germain raises the point that if a teacher is not close with a student she wouldn't want to make them feel uncomfortable by taking them aside or talking to them out of class. This awareness is important because you never know if they’re going through something personal and students might not trust that teacher to talk to. If a student doesn’t feel comfortable opening up, then nothing would really get solved and the class will not be productive.
Carlis Martinez, a Boston Public School 7th grader at the Haley Pilot Middle in Roslindale, noticed how her school handled students who were upset in class. She said, “Usually when I’m mad or upset and can’t focus in class they send me to the counselor’s office so I can relax. Sometimes they would just switch my class.” This kind of support in a BPS school allows Martinez and other students to help them get an education and stay focused in class. 
Marielis Mejia, an 8th grader at Match Middle, talked about her experience with support at her school. I asked Mejia if she ever talked to an expert when she was upset at school and what teachers did for her. She said, “They just sit me down and talk about what's going on then they give their input on what I should do to make the situation better.” This interaction shows that the school talked to her and helped her face the problem and so she could focus on more important things. 
As teachers and students can agree, students can get help at school. Boston Public Schools in particular helps students because of the methods they have at school that support their learning. BPS is helping students feel more comfortable at school and not feel stressed or overwhelmed. On the BPS website the county says, “Today, we are providing our students with more stability and continuity, new opportunities for inclusion, and higher-quality programs that are aligned with district efforts to help all our students reach a high standard.” They want students to succeed even through times like this. 
Additionally, to help support students, BPS has, “30.7% [of students] are educated in substantially separate classrooms (spend 60% or more of the school day outside of the general education classroom).” This shows that Boston Public Schools are trying to help give students the extra support that they need.
Student supports are important because it can help students have a better education in the future. If a student feels supported and comfortable, not only will they be able to figure out how to learn but they’ll find confidence that will help them overcome more challenges. 
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School News
COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on high school seniors
Makayla Robinson
Dreams of senior events at the end of our high school careers have been crushed by the appearance of the wild coronavirus. Imagine starting high school, watching your senior friends that you grew attached to walk the stage and graduate, and when it is your turn, it isn’t even going to happen. Not only are graduations cancelled, but many seniors will also miss out on their spring senior night, senior prom and many other senior traditions that many were very excited for. This is what is happening to thousands of seniors across the world due to the pandemic. Not only is this virus affecting seniors, but also the people who have influenced and inspired them won’t be able to celebrate with seniors in order to prevent a pandemic from getting worse.  
COVID-19 is a virus that mainly affects the respiratory system in someone’s body but affects people more intensely if they are older or have pre-existing health conditions. According to the New York Times, the virus started in China in late December of 2019 and spread to the United States a little under a month later. Due to the virus rapidly spreading, schools and other non-essential businesses shut down and people began to self-quarantine and isolate themselves at home. 
Boston Public Schools officially shut down on March 17, 2020 and will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Spring is one of the greatest and most challenging times for seniors because of getting ready for college and other events that celebrate the last year in high school. However, since COVID-19 exists, this senior spring will be extremely different. 
Caitlin Francis, senior advisor and senior teacher, made the switch to online learning when schools closed and has set a google classroom for every class she teaches. She also has zoom office hour meetings for students and announces when they are going to happen virtually for when people need extra support. Before quarantine, she used to provide office hours as many times as she could and provide opportunities for people to make up work and get help on assignments whenever it was needed. Earlier this school year, my grades dropped a lot and she helped divide what I needed to make up and stayed after school with me to help me finish work. Now that school has gone virtual, Francis says, “I miss my students so badly and I am always wondering whether or not I’m supporting them enough when I don’t get to see them in person.”
Keith Belcher-White, a senior at the Academy of the Pacific Rim, is struggling with his online classes. It was easier to get the work done and understand the lessons better while in school because, “sometimes [I] need that small push to get [me] going.” Because he doesn’t get the support he needs, he hasn’t been studying at all. 
For students who can’t work independently, it will be hard for them to take an Advanced Placement (AP) exam that is online and that also has no multiple-choice questions. AP exams are issued by the College Board and scored on a five-point scale. A three is a passing score for most colleges, but some more academically rigorous universities will only accept a four or a five for class credit. There is no harm in failing, but if someone were to meet the college’s passing score or higher, it is highly encouraged to submit the score to gain college credit for a class and then be able to take more advanced classes earlier. APs are especially helpful if the AP class is aligned with what one plans to major in college. Typically, if a student were to take AP classes they would in their junior and senior years of high school.   
According to the College Board website, AP exams have been reduced to free-response only and the allotted time has been cut in half. This makes the exam harder because, from the first-hand experience of taking AP exams in my junior year, the multiple-choice has helped boost my overall score and helped with my free-response questions. Now that classes are online, it consists of more independent learning which makes it trickier to retain information than learning in a traditional classroom. 
Although AP classes are harder, there are people still struggling with their honors or even regular classes. Being a senior in high school, you need to be able to pass your classes to graduate and virtual schooling is making it harder because of internalized senioritis, being tired of school and also needing to focus on college decisions. 
The pandemic has also caused many seniors to not have a traditional prom this year. Many schools may have their prom canceled or have a virtual prom due to COVID-19. At the Academy of the Pacific Rim, for the 44 senior graduates in the class of 2020, there was a google form survey sent out with many different options as alternatives to prom. Francis mentioned options such as, “a virtual prom with our own DJ over zoom, joining a nation-wide virtual prom event or canceling prom altogether.” Currently, there has been no definite solution to what is going to happen for prom this year. 
Throughout this entire school year, I believe all high-school seniors have been finishing the college process, taking leadership roles in and out of school and been working very hard this entire school year despite the intense senioritis feeling of just wanting to graduate. Especially now, of all times, when we have to do our part to try to stop the pandemic, we all need to put those crowns on our heads and know that we are amazing and royals no matter our gender, race and whatever else makes us all unique. 
Despite having to learn virtually, Francis is still staying positive through all this and I think we all should too. She shared that her hope, “is that seniors will be able to take something meaningful away from all this and grow from it, and become even stronger than before.”  
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School News
Justifying arts education: Why art school is actually underrated
Ellen Auer
Don’t you think your life would be boring without art? I mean, if you notice your surroundings, art is all around you. In fact, nature itself is art. While I do agree that traditional education is important, and leads to higher chances of finding jobs, the arts are important as well.  
Most people underrate art schools and think they don’t give their students a proper education like exam schools or traditional schools. They believe that art takes so much time that it gets in the way of studying and other types of beneficial learning. 
I myself am a teenager who very much enjoys the arts. To be a lover of art and not have the ability to share with others our ideas and express ourselves often feels very suffocating. To those children who wanted to go to an art school but their parents wouldn’t let them — this article goes out to you!
Often parents want the best for their children, but they may underrate the arts because they want their kids to do better than them financially, and they feel it’s unlikely that their child will be one of the few that “make it big.” This can lead parents to discourage their kids from pursuing the arts. 
Even if parents don’t actively discourage their children, they still often don’t understand how important the arts are to their kids’ happiness, even if the work is hard.
“It’s interesting ‘cause there’s no reference for being a film producer, especially if you’re like — if you’re typically from an immigrant family,” said Chris Hyacinthe, a film producer based in Los Angeles. “Any artist’s career [is] kind of abstract and it’s harder to explain and essentialize to your family what it is you’re doing, why you left home, why you're getting underpaid or whatever — like what’s the end goal?”
Even though it may be hard in the beginning, many artists find it rewarding when they finally succeed. That feeling makes it worth it. Everyone starts off from the bottom, working their way to the top, but it’s a phase. At one point in life, we’ve all faced financial instability. It’s normal.
The arts are also really important to our culture; the art industry and its economy contribute to humanity.  Artists provide us with services that make us happy. Animation is art, advertising is art, the whole entire fashion industry is art.
Our society relies on the art industries for profit, so you can still make money. Let's say the government completely got rid of art in general. What would happen to all of the advertisements? Who’s going to buy companies’ products? Who’s going to stick with the latest trends? Or find a cure for their sick loved one? Maybe even a cool vacation spot for the summer?  No models? No sponsors, no clothes left to sell because no one knows they exist. No more new television shows or movies. I know how much y'all like Marvel and DC movies, well guess what? There would be no more. My point is that this is why arts education is important! Without people studying the arts and then becoming professional artists, there would be no filmmakers, photographers, or makeup artists to make your fav celebs look on fleek! Nothing!
There are also academic benefits to participating in the arts. A 2016 study of elementary schoolers in Alabama found that students who took music or visual arts classes performed better on standardized math testing than their peers who did not take art. Researcher Molly Elizabeth King suggested that music was correlated with high scores because it provides an opportunity for students to process emotions and develop problem-solving skills.
Can I be honest, though? The arts can sharpen your creative skills, but I think some of it just depends on the student. Art affects everyone differently. Some say they do better in tests after arts involvement while others say they do worse. As King noted in her study, the arts support important learning and coping skills, but they cannot fix existing academic problems. 
“There are many other factors that contribute to a student’s success (including environment, parental support, and exposure to experiences),” King wrote. “However, research has validated that participating in music can enhance a student’s potential in several key areas.”
Even if the arts are not guaranteed to raise test scores, bringing art projects into the classroom can support learners of different styles. There are different types of learning styles: auditory, tactile and visual. I myself am a visual learner. I often do better with equations once I look at one of the teacher’s examples.
When I was in eighth grade, one of my teachers tested our learning styles through a memory game. She had us look at a selection of items and then covered them, asking us to write down everything we saw. I was able to recall all of the items, but I definitely couldn’t do that if it was a list read out to me. 
In the classroom, similar things come up with lectures. Simply hearing a teacher talk might not click for some students, but allowing students to create diagrams or design posters with drawings may help them remember the information. 
I believe as long as we're doing something that makes us happy, that's enough. You can manage your schedule in order to take care of arts and traditional education. It may be a rocky path to a professional arts career, but as long as you don't give up you can have a strong career in the art industry.
For Hyacinthe, art is a necessity, and he can’t imagine life without it. 
“[Without art life is] boring, uninteresting, and … boring.”
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School News
Your dream job may actually be a nightmare
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” 
This is one question that is asked to children, yet some adolescents and adults struggle to find an answer. Researchers from Junior Achievement and EYA used a survey of 1,000 13-to 17-year-olds, to find that 91% of the 1,000 teens knew their dream job. However, when asked why they were interested in this career, 28% of boys said “I think it would be fun,” 21% said “I’d be good at it,” and 17% said, “I’d make a lot of money.” Likewise, 23% of girls said “I’d be good at it,” 25% said “They would like to help people,” and 20% said, “It would be fun.” These answers from the teenagers demonstrate a lack of guidance toward a secure and enlightening career. Students are guessing what the experience of these careers are, rather than having a deep understanding of how they work or any exposure to the day-to-day. 
With the uncertainty of what career to pursue comes the stage of college where there are loans to be offered and many potential fields of study. This means that students can rack up debt if they find that the subject their studying is not for them. This begins to create more debt and stop careers before they get started. An example of this is if someone has gone through four years of medical school to become a doctor and then decides that they actually want to be an engineer. This person has not only wasted four years that could have gone toward being an engineer or studying engineering, but they’ve also accumulated thousands of dollars in debt, which means that they won’t have enough money to pursue being an engineer. If you need more education that costs money, but even if you don’t often people end up taking a pay cut to start over in another career area.
This is also a lasting problem with current adults who have not found a career path to their liking. This causes depression and a trap where people live paycheck-to-paycheck without a way out of the job. A lawyer shares his unpleasant experience during his career with Business Insider when he complains, “I have all these crushing student loans, so I’m living in a moderately sized apartment … I don’t have time to do anything. It’s amazing how little time you have when you work all the time.” The issue the lawyer made was he gambled that he would like the career of a lawyer when deciding to go to graduate school instead of exploring.
However, there still are ways to preserve a future career that is fulfilling and filled with hope. Valduvino Gonçalves, director of guidance at New Mission High School, advises that students can learn more about careers by “doing some kind of self-assessment [and] then using a Naviance platform to research the type of careers that exist ... then follow up the research with the competition by talking to a counselor or teacher.” In addition, Gonçalves advises to take on internships. “Sometimes it takes you to do the job first until you figure it out,” he said.
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School News
Theatre Director Jenny Herron keeps students' passion for the arts alive.
In mid-March, Boston Collegiate Charter Schools’ annual musical was canceled only hours before opening night due to concerns of the novel coronavirus. Being theater kids, you can imagine the hysterical reaction they had to their performance being canceled. After tearful speeches in the dressing rooms and exchanging hugs, the decision was made to have the cast perform one last time in front of an empty audience, recording it for the parents to watch on their computers.
The person who had to break it to them was Jenny Herron, the director of the school’s production of Mamma Mia and founder of the drama club. 
“It's heartbreaking,” Herron expressed. “ ...So many students put so much work into it and not just work, but heart. It goes beyond just the hours that they spent working on it. It goes down into, like, what it means to them.” 
Herron and the cast of twenty-one students have worked tirelessly on the play for three months, staying after school for hours every day. The effort put into the production makes the closing of it even more devastating. 
“Nobody would decide that they're going to stay after school from three to six pretty much every day if they didn't love it,” she explained. 
Having to perform an entire show for no one to see is not an ideal situation, and has never happened in the history of Boston Collegiate theater. Still, the lack of audience applause at the end of the numbers (other than the cheering from those offstage) and the silence after every punchline did not dim the energy and passion put into their final performance. 
Regarding there being no crowd to elevate the show and feed off of, Herron still felt that, “Quite honestly, it was one of the best performances that I have seen in terms of the passion that was put into it from a high school show.”
With schools being closed for the rest of the school year, Herron still did not retire her director’s hat for the year. She is going to be putting on a high school play through Zoom, She Kills Monsters. 
Herron’s process of deciding to do her first (and hopefully only) Zoom play came from her love of the community building that happens during the rehearsals. 
“If I had to choose whether we would have the rehearsal process time together, and then not be able to do the show  [or vice versa] I would choose the rehearsal time together in a heartbeat because that's where the real work happens. And that's where also like the community gets built. We're gonna just play on Zoom because we can still have those parts of it. You know, we can still have the community aspect, we can still have the ability to work together and grow together as actors.”
The quarantining of the nation has triggered a discussion about the future of online learning and using the internet for more untraditional things. Herron recognizes the difficulty of not every area having access to the internet, making it harder for such a transition to take place. 
In terms of having plays performed on Zoom and other alternatives regarding the arts, she states, “Yeah, I think it is a good alternative for now. And if we continue to have [internet access], I think it'd be a good alternative in the future. But I guess I also think that it's probably not the only alternative.”
Despite COVID-19, the arts prove to be resilient. 
“I feel like that experience convinced me that art is kind of flexible, and it's adaptable. And even if it's not happening in the traditional way, that doesn't mean that it can't still be free.” 
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