september 30, 2013 Parkway North High School
Students, Teachers Speak Out About Lab Changes Aurora Wrancher Editor in Chief
What do you think of the new Academic Lab changes? I don’t like them because I don’t get to see every teacher that I need to see I like them because they help lab teachers give their students more one-on-one time
I like them because they help keep me organized I don’t like them because they make it difficult for me to get everything done
The poll, posted on the Library Home page, received over 3000 responses. *This does not mean 3000 people; many people responded multiple times.
plished with your lab kids before they leave, it doesn’t really allow for that,” said Bannecker. Another change that was made to Academic Lab was that students no longer have it on late arrival and early release days. This means that they will go to all classes for an hour and a half instead of having to take have a shortened class period. While removing Academic Lab from late arrival and early dismissal days might stop things from being chaotic, it could cause problems for people who miss school or need to take tests on days that there is no lab time. “When we had those days, and it was only 50 minute classes, it was very chaotic. It was because we really felt like we needed to preserve the class time and make the class time longer instead of having it be chaotic during lab time,” said Marquart. While freshmen won’t really affected by the changes to lab, upperclassmen will probably have a rough time adjusting to this lab, because it is much different from what they are used to. “If I could change [lab], I would make it the way it was our freshman year. You stayed in your lab for 15 minutes and then when the bell rang, you traveled and came back the last 15 minutes,” said Carson.
Phot by Renee Allozi
When students leave school for the summer, they expect to come back to things being a little different. Changes in school structure are common. However, this year Parkway North changed the Academic Lab procedures. While the intentions behind these changes were good, the realization of them are not. “We had a lot of teachers saying it was hard to help everyone [following the old procedures],” said principal Dr. Jenny Marquart. The idea behind the new structure is to allow teachers time to focus on students who come to see them and not have to deal with interruptions from their own lab students to get signed in and out. Also, requiring students to stay for a half hour means that they aren’t trying to get attention and then leave. It is supposed to make academic lab less hectic. These new procedures were meant to keep things moving smoothly in labs. “I like that it gives me an easier time to help kids because I’m not dealing with kids coming in and out during travel time. I can make sure that the kids that need help are here for 30 minutes so I can talk to each one of them [and] I can spend more quality time with them, rather than just doing a really quick check in here,” said English teacher Jennifer Bannecker. “I think students will see the benefit of it. It’s a better opportunity to get help,” said Marquart. However, not everyone likes the new system. If a person just has one question to ask a teacher, forcing them to stay for the entire half hour causes them to not get everything done. Students are even signing a petition to get the Academic Lab travel times changed back to what it was last year. Now, students are rushing to get to where they need to go and do not have the same bonding experiences with their lab. “With the lab structure that we used to have, I used to do some more lab bonding activities like birthday parties, and we’d check in and have some time to have conversations
about how things are going. I don’t have as much of that,” said Bannecker. Also, the way Academic Lab was set up before enabled students to go where they needed to go in the hour that they were allowed to be out of the room. They still had to have planners signed and were accountable for where they went but were not limited to two places. This can be especially problematic during finals time, when people need to use their last lab days to study and prepare for their finals. “Lets just say, during finals, [I just need] teachers to check this and answer a question, and I’m moving on to my next class. By that time [the hour provided before the changes], I’ve gone through all of my classes, instead of just having to go to two,” said senior K’Myah Carson. Many students feel that these lab changes are not helping them to be productive. If a student misses a day or two of school because they are sick, they will not be able to get to all of their teachers in that Academic Lab period. They would have to find other time to go and see their teachers or they would have to just stretch their visits out over a long period of time, which could cause some students to begin failing. “It’s hard going from having freewill to being told what time to leave and what time to go when I could be doing other things and its slowing me down,” said Carson. The ten minutes of lab that students have from 9:20 to 9:30 a.m. were designed so that students would have time to get to the first priority location, while still having time to check in with other teachers if they need to. However, it really doesn’t leave much time to do anything except get to the first priority class. Before students are able to leave, they are in lab for ten minutes. During this time, they are expected to listen to announcements, write goals, fill out their planners, and take surveys if needed. “The first ten minutes of lab is really stressful because there is a lot of business that needs to get done. The announcements take up five minutes of that time and then you have another five minutes where if there is something that you need to get accom-
A student signs a petition to change academic lab procedures.
Seniors Want More Privileges Than Given Kori Clay Community Editor Senior privileges are an aspect of the final year of high school that most underclassmen look forward to; however, while the current privileges are appreciated, the administration should keep current privileges while introducing new ideas for improving current senior privileges. “Based on my experience, the Viking Pass privileges are a good program,” said senior principal Dr. Tori Cain. Currently, the senior privilege looked forward to by most seniors is the Viking Pass. The Viking Pass allows seniors to go off-campus during academic lab if they meet certain criteria. “I would probably go home, or go get
something [locally] to eat,” said senior Katelyn Williams. However, some seniors believe the requirements set for the Viking Pass need to be changed. To use a Viking Pass, a student must have no more than seven tardies, no unexcused absences, no I’s or U’s in citizenship grades, and no D’s or F’s in any classes. “Seven tardies is not a good requirement, [because] sometimes I’m late to school,” said senior Brianna Daggs. “There shouldn’t be requirements to leave,” said senior Brianne Holt. Cain believes the current requirements are good but an addition to the list of requirements for Viking pass should include students being “involved in more clubs [or] at least one activity.” Viking passes are not the only feature that seniors would like to see changed. “Se-
niors should get to leave during lunch,” said senior Julia Snow. This is one of the main complaints among seniors when asked what privileges they think they should have. Currently no students are allowed to leave school during lunch. “We can leave to eat food for lunch. We’re old enough to make our own decisions without getting in trouble,” said senior Edin Bracic. If a senior is able to meet the requirements currently in place for the Viking Pass and prove that they are mature enough to handle leaving school during lab, then they should be allowed other privileges as well. Leaving for lunch would give students time to relax without being confined in the commons where things can get loud and very hectic.
Senior Elizabeth Tran thinks the food offered at school is not very nutritious. She said, “We can get a better lunch” at restaurants near school or go home for food. Seniors could visit different restaurants and have a wider variety of food to choose from. Even though not all of the food nearby is healthy, seniors should be able to make the choice on where and what they want to eat. Soon, they will be going off to college and have to make that choice on their own. Now would be a good time to practice that decision making and break into good habits. In the near future, changes may be made to enhance the seniors’ privileges. Dr. Cain said that she is “still open to new ideas; there is some improvement [that could be done].” However, she also believes that if a person is “new somewhere, you don’t change things right away. It takes time.”