With the new year comes changes to California's education system, among them the replacement of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program with a system that uses the Smarter Balanced tests, designed as part of a nationwide effort to transition to a common educational structure.
Although the San Francisco Board of Education manages many aspects of public schools, the activities and functions of its school board members are obscure to the average student.
In an effort to rectify five years of budget cuts and a complex funding system, an ambitious new state funding bill is in effect for the current school year. Beneath the bureaucracy the plan is simple: more money for California school districts and more freedom to spend it.
This year's budget outlook is sunny, as a greater than expected amount of district funds have helped the school avoid a predicted deficit. Each year, the school plans for the upcoming year's budget, which comprises two of the largest funding blocs - the Weighted Student Formula, a per-student allocation that accounts for demographics, and an additional supplementary fund that depends on the number of AP exams administered during the school year.
With the bubbling volcano of school activity cooled down, and the temporary end of hassled days consumed by homework and lessons, the fair season of summer began, and with it, my travels around the globe.
Inside the brick walls, around the lines of lockers, between the rows of desks and within the minds of high school students, a war rages on. The war has been silent for the most part, with battles occurring internally, save for the occasional outburst or breakdown.
But there, in that limbo of uncertainty and absence of fate, lays the true beauty of high school, the light shining above the bridge. In those three years after childhood and before adulthood, standing on that awkward bridge, you have one of the rarest commodities in life.
The line stretches around the corner of the gym, trailing up the stairs and towards the end of the sidewalk. Lined up like prisoners being marched to their execution, the students standing in the line buzz about nervously, expressing in hushed and hurried tones their anxiety about the Advanced Placement exam they will be taking soon.
Despite competing against veteran teams, a group of Lowell Advanced Placement Japanese language students won first place in the Southern California Japan Bowl in Los Angeles on March 1.
Temporary staffing gaps in biology and Advanced Placement Biology classes this semester have been filled by different teachers, including a new long-term substitute. Due to an administrator's leave of absence for the rest of this semester, biology teacher and former science department head Dacotah Swett assumed administrative duties, leaving her position as science department head to chemistry teacher Jonathan Fong.
In a traditional classroom, class time is used for lectures and lessons while homework is reserved for personal time. Math teacher Patrick Fahey realized, however, that such a one-size-fits-all model does not take students' individual needs and pacing into account, and does not provide much interaction between students and teachers.