Changes to be fulfilled for the next school year

Srinidhi Seshadri, Web Editor

New Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a new homeroom time and homecoming in the tennis courts are just a few of the changes to be implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.

NGSS is an adjustment in the science curriculum that has been in the works for the past few years and will be in place for the following school year. The California State Board of Education adopted the standards in 2013 and have since gradually put them into effect in districts across the state. Earth science and space science will also be integrated as requirements into the three core science classes: biology, chemistry and physics. Some teachers such as chemistry teacher Jon Penner, however, are not in favor of these new standards.

“[NGSS] may be beneficial for a majority of schools in California, but I don’t think it is necessarily beneficial to Lynbrook because it’s hard to fit something into the curriculum that students may not need,” said Penner.

As a part of NGSS, students will also have to take a standardized test in the spring that requires an earth and space science background to score well. The NGSS curriculum places a heavier emphasis on applying concepts learned in class to real-world problems by integrating various scientific practices, like engineering, into the courses as grounding practice in research.

“I love the opportunity to teach space science in physics but it comes at the expense of losing some of the topics that I currently teach, like optics,” said physics teacher Thanh Nguyen. “It would be nice if we could all teach what we wanted, but part of being a teacher is realizing that that’s not necessarily the best for our students.”

Earlier this year, the district and staff made the decision to change the schedule for next year in response to a California law that required school to start after 8 a.m. The new bell schedule includes three tutorials each week. The staff has decided to instead have “homeroom” on specific Fridays during the school year where students will have a space to build a community where various topics can be discussed. A group of teachers and students will meet over the summer to put together a bank of resources that can be used during the homeroom period.

“The reason we’re having a homeroom is because we want students to feel connected, we want them to feel valued and we want to make sure that they have an opportunity to discuss issues that are important to them,” said Principal Maria Jackson.

Students will be randomly placed into a homeroom class with other students in their grade level, and they will meet on most Fridays during the year. Some Fridays, like rally days or those near the end of a grading period, will instead have tutorials.

Changes will also be made to homecoming, the biggest spirit event on campus. Due to the construction taking place in the quad and the cove during next school year’s homecoming, all homecoming skits will occur on the asphalt area near the tennis courts. Furthermore, the class gauntlets will be held in front of the girls’ locker room instead of near the gate where they are usually held.

Another difference in next year’s homecoming are the dates, since homecoming will occur during a week with no school on Monday when freshmen homecoming skits are usually held. Homecoming cannot be rescheduled for a different week because the football game is scheduled for that Friday. This causes scheduling conflicts, as the usual four class homecoming days and the final rally day will not be able to fit into a single week. The solution for this is to have the rally during lunch on the senior homecoming day, the Friday of that week.

With changes in the science curriculum, a new homeroom and the homecoming location and schedule, Lynbrook is readily adapting to growing trends and needs of its students and community. Although some of the changes may not be ideal and opinions are divided, staff are working together to provide students with the best opportunities.