Friday Homeroom, a new school website and construction for a new quad and cafeteria are major changes at Lynbrook this year. Despite the many additions Lynbrook students must adapt to, staff and students hope these improvements will pay off in following years.
Due to the FUHSD decision to start all five schools later than or at 8 a.m., a new bell schedule was created. With the later start time comes a later end time, which may be beneficial for students needing extra sleep. This can be a drawback for athletes, however, as the schedule cuts into their after school sports hours.
The new schedule also includes a Friday Homeroom period. In Homeroom, students have the chance to bond and interact with one another. The purpose of Homeroom is to improve student’s social and emotional lives on campus by relieving students’ stress.
“Over the years, through many student surveys, we have gotten feedback about students feeling disconnected from one another, or feeling a high level of stress, or anxiety at school,” said Kathleen Sullivan, an assistant principal in charge of School Climate and AP Testing. “We thought Homeroom might be a way for students and staff to connect in a fun, relaxed, homework-free and grade-free environment.”
In an effort to encourage students to be more engaged during Homeroom, teachers have introduced new activities each Homeroom, including games involving teamwork and stress-relieving activities such as meditation. Teachers take into account students’ suggestions, personalizing each Homeroom experience to address the needs of students.
“The main activity that we did last Homeroom is a guessing game in which everybody wrote down the name of a famous person on a sticky note,” said drama and literature teacher Naomi Rollins. “They had to go around and could only ask yes or no questions of the other people as to who they were.”
One of the most noticeable changes on campus is the new construction zone where the quad and the cafeteria used to be. The first phase of construction included a PE classroom, a new dance studio and a combined weight room and fitness center. This was completed in spring 2017 as part of the field house addition, the first multi-story building on campus. The ongoing current construction of the quad and cafeteria are a part of the second phase of construction, scheduled to be completed next year. By 2020, a guidance and student service building, as well as an auditorium lobby addition, will be completed.
While many are looking forward to the new quad and cafeteria, both students and staff have to cope with the added inconveniences to Lynbrook campus life, including the noise and the blocked paths from construction, which have added inconveniences to Lynbrook campus life.
Although some teachers find it difficult to teach classes with the loud construction noise, they have adjusted through various methods, such as playing music in the background during class time.
“I think [the noise] just causes me to pause, and sometimes lose my focus for a second, but usually I’m able to pull it back,” Rollins said. “Sometimes, I play music to cope with the noise, especially when we read ‘Dos Palabras,’ a Latin American story. I played Latin American guitar music in the background, and I don’t think it is bad to have music playing while we teach. It’s a little distracting, but I have been able to continue my teaching the way that I need to.”
In addition, the blocked paths cause trouble for students and teachers while getting from class to class on time, especially to and from art and music classrooms that are near the construction site.
“People who have classes that are closer don’t have to rush, so they walk slower,” said freshman Caroline Hou. “The narrow space between the construction zone and the language building forces me to stay behind them so I have to walk slowly too. After they reach their class, I have to run the rest of the way to 3D Design.”
Meanwhile, the school website was redesigned to improve organization and accessibility. The improved design is more modern and less cluttered.
“[The website] looks a lot better than before,” said sophomore Alec Chen. “Some parts are a little harder to get to, for example, School Loop, and the popup at first launch is a little annoying, but I would say it is an improvement overall.”
Ultimately, these changes on campus are intended to improve student life. Despite the temporary inconveniences they might bring, many staff and students are looking forward to seeing the results of these changes in the near future.