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THE PAW PRINT An Independent Publication of Wilde Lake High School •5460 Trumpeter Rd. Columbia, MD 21044 • Volume 42, Issue 2 •

Winter Storms Derail Learning, Testing Remains on Track


REMAINING BUILT-IN INCLEMENT WEATHER DAYS: 0 *As of March 12, 2015 Icy roads and sidewalks called for early-morning plowing (Left photograph by Ben Townsend, right photograph by Misbah Farooqi). By Jenny Lees Copy Editor-in-Chief

Just before midterms, arguably one of the most stressful times of the school year, Howard County was hit with a series of weather-related delays and closings. While winter weather put student learning on hold, it did not slow the arrival of high-stakes county and state tests, including midterms. In the two-week stretch before the endof-first-semester testing, Howard County had one closing and four delays. While students were happy for the time off and additional sleep, many admitted that the winter weather could not have come at a more inconvenient time.

In the few weeks preceding midterms, most teachers are already trying to pack in the last bits of information, tests, and study guides to wrap up the first half of the year. This year, with days set aside for PARCC test preparation and the winter weather, their time was crunched and lessons were cut. “They needed extra time to go over concepts before tests, but we didn’t have that time,” said junior Rebecca Chamblee. Chamblee, who takes multiple G/T and AP classes, said the lost time definitely had an impact on workload, comprehension, and grades. “There was more homework, I had to study more on my own, and it made it harder to understand what I needed to

know,” said Chamblee. This increase in work comes from the pressure put on teachers to cover all of their material in a shortened class. “We either didn’t do some of the work from the delay days, had to cram it in, or missed all of the work,” said junior Sophie Bertrand. Accompanying the struggle to learn all of the required material was an increase in pressure. “I was definitely more stressed than usual,” said Bertrand. For Ms. Schulman, who teaches multiple levels of Chemistry, one solution would have been to delay the mid-year testing, since midterms are worth 10 percent of a student’s grade.

“With something that large a percentage of a student’s grade for the year, they should not be expected to learn it on the fly or not at all and still take the test as if nothing happened,” said Ms. Schulman. Though midterms are over, the winter weather is not, and students with upcoming PARCC and AP tests are facing the same pressures that the delays caused for midterms. “The problem has been the snow since the midterm. We’re starting the third quarter, and we’re starting a new unit. We’re behind, especially in AP,” said Ms. Schulman. As of February 26, the county had used up all five built-in inclement weather days.

Afterschool Study Hall is Helpful Though Underused By Gabby Christopher Staff Writer

Any student who has ever played on a sports team can relate to the stress of juggling sports and school work. To help ease this stress, Wilde Lake now holds an afterschool study hall in the cafeteria for athletes. “The study hall was created to provide students involved in sports with a structured place to quietly study and finish homework before practice,” said Mr.

Abeo, who founded the study hall. James Pender is a sophomore who attends the study hall regularly. “When I leave practice, I usually don’t go straight home, so I end up getting home late. By that time, I rush through my homework because having to do homework after practice is really tiring.” said Pender, who is on the wrestling team. “I like going to the study hall, because it gives me a place to do my homework, and I can just re-

lax when I get home from school. By the time I get home, I’ve already finished everything,” said Pender. “At the study hall, I’m still full of energy, and everything from school is fresh in my mind.” However, Pender is one of few students who utilizes the study hall. While Pender attends the study hall voluntarily, Coach Wingfield decided to make attendance mandatory for the boys varsity basketball team. “Some of the athletes think of

it as a punishment, when it really isn’t,” said Wingfield. Wingfield intends for the study hall to help athletes keep grades up and manage time better, but it will only be effective if students attend regularly, says Wingfield. Still, some players, who have asked to remain anonymous, have expressed that they don’t plan on attending in the future. The study hall will continue to be available for students during the spring sports season.

“At the study hall, I’m still full of energy, and everything from school is fresh in my mind.” -James Pender