Vol. 11 Issue 3. April 2018
#ENOUGH Student Walkout
The ALICE Drills
Features and Opinions
Hundreds of Students Walk Out p.5
Students Speak Up During the Walkout p.6-9
Was The AlLICE Drill Enough? p.14-15
What's Up with the Temp at IACS? p.16
Examining Exhibition Night
xhibition night is a night for students to showcase their best work. Often times teachers will even create assignments around exhibition night, so that the students have a piece of work to show off that demonstrates what they have been learning in the classroom.
This concept of showing off student’s learning and hard work is great, but could the school make it more meaningful?
Often times students will not even show up to exhibition night if they do not have a project to present in person, or are not offered extra credit. Also, students do not get much time to prepare for the night. It seems as the years go by that less and less effort is being put into showcasing the work of IACS students.
Making Exhibition night more meaningful might cause students to be more invested in their work, and the night its self.
Some teachers already create assignments that make exhibition night mandatory. Maybe if more teachers did this, or put more emphasis on the night it would allow for more student participation and investment.
By Becky Reynolds
The Innovator is a student–run newspaper at Innovation Academy Charter School in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, committed to providing the IACS high school community with accurate, informative and up–to–date stories, and a public forum for student expression.
The Innovator is entirely student–run, and therefore, all decisions are made by students. The editors will often seek guidance from the faculty advisor, but all final decisions are made by the Head Editor. Questions, comments, or concerns should be directed to the Head Editor.
The Innovator is an open forum for student ideas and opinions. Ideas and opinions can be sent to The Innovator in the form of a letter–to–the–editor. The editors reserve the right to reject student submissions if they breach any of the policies listed in our charter. All editorials reflect the unanimous opinion of the newspaper staff.
The Innovator is going to start coming out monthly in magazine format and occasionally in minivator format. You can also access articles online at theinnovator.org.
All submissions can be sent to:
About the cover: Image taken by Ethan McTeague, it is from the student walkout that is covered in this issue of the Innovator.
In this issue
Seniors Working Hard on Semester Long Projects p.4
Snazzy Socks at IACS p.10-11
Ian Fastert: Singer, Actor, and Writer p.12
A Quiet Place: A Review by Ian Fastert p.13
A Closer Look Into Blizzard Bags Op-Ed p.17-18
Student Poetry p.19
We all know that the school lunch can be underwhelming at times. Kerry Howard is looking into the school nutrition system. She’s working with IACS’s Director of School Nutrition, Karen Drake, to learn more about Innovation’s school lunch programs. “I’ve been trying to learn more about school lunch programs to see what improvements our school can make for lunch,” She said. Howard is making a menu that she’s going to test at lunch one school week.
By Emily Brown and Lauren Donald
Do you believe in ghosts? Elise Labbe is investigating alleged haunted locations all around Massachusetts. “I’m doing researched based on the history, and other personal accounts, and I’m going to interview people who have worked at these places, or lived at these places, and I’m going to make a documentary.” She’s visiting places such as the former mental asylum Danvers State Hospital, the Lowell Catholic High School, and the Tewksbury Cemetery.
Now that it’s the second semester, Seniors are working on their senior projects: independent semester long projects. Students get to pick their topic, and this year they are quite unique, ranging from making a ghost hunting documentary, to a podcast on how fear can have a positive effect on one's creative ability. I decided to interview a few seniors to see what they are working on.
Seniors Working Hard On Semester Long Projects
Like playing video games? Dylan Barrus is designing one for his senior project. He’s using an engine called GameMaker to code the game, which has four characters that he designed from scratch. The gameplay is similar to pong, but you’re supposed to keep the ball on the other player’s side until a timer runs out. Whoever has the ball when the game ends loses. “I’ve had a pretty big interest in computers and also in art for a very long time, so I just wanted to have something that combined the two together,” Barrus said.
By Penelope McDonald
Hundreds of Students Walk Out
If you’ve ever been in high school, you’ve been stressed. Johannes Crueger-Cain is researching how fear and stress can make people more creative, and have a positive effect on them in the end. He plans to make a podcast that covers fear, anxiety, and stress, using research from a survey and individual interviews. He said, “I was really curious why we were afraid, and I wanted to find out more.”
On March 20th, 2018, somewhere between six hundred and seven hundred students left their classrooms and gathered in the parking lot of Innovation Academy Charter School according to a poll conducted by the Student Government. Students held signs, flags, and other paraphernalia as they stood, waiting. One would think students would be happy to be out of class, but the overwhelming feeling hanging in the air around them was of exhaustion.
The walkout was part of the #ENOUGH movement that tens of thousands of middle and high school students participated in across the country, according to the Washington Post and other sources. In schools across the nation, students and faculty are speaking out about gun violence. As of the morning of the walkout, there had been seventeen school shootings in 2018 - one of them that very morning.
The #ENOUGH toolkit on www.womensmarch.com says the demands of the #ENOUGH movement are: “We demand that Congress enact an immediate resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis and dedicating federal funding to research solutions and implement violence intervention programs. We demand Congress recognize all forms of gun violence, including violence committed by police.”
Several other students spoke, including Theresa Namulondo, Nickeyla Samuel, Ian Fastert, Sarah Yoken, Eva Richards, and Jacob Babcock. Their speeches are printed in full on the following pages.
After several speeches had been made, Chavez and co-president Jade King read the names of the seventeen students and faculty members who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018. The victim’s photos were held up, and while originally Student Government had the intention to light candles for each victim, due to weather, the candles could not be lit. Instead, students held up an unlit candle for each victim.
In an email sent to the student body, Student Government said that the walkout was “in protest of gun violence and as tribute to the lives of the seventeen fallen victims of the Parkland shooting. Student Government does not hold an affiliation with any particular method of preventing gun violence, and will not as a whole be emphasizing or endorsing any of these methods.” The #ENOUGH walkout was organized by the IACS student government. Class President Sebastian Chavez gave a speech to start the event.
Every single citizen of the United States has the right to own a firearm, but that does not mean that every single student and teacher standing here today should be denied their right to live and feel safe in their own school.
I’m not here to preach to you, or tell you what to believe or exactly what to do about this issue, I simply ask that we as a community do something, anything to raise awareness and combat the epidemic that is plaguing America. There have been at least 14 school shootings in the U.S. this year, 6 of them took place after Parkland. That is 7 school shootings in a month, the majority of which I doubt you heard about, I know I hadn’t.
Regardless of your personal beliefs that number should not rest easy with you. 21 people have been killed on school grounds in a month, and most of them are nameless, most of them, like so many others are doomed to become statistics.
I ask all of you, if one of those 21 people were a close friend or family member, would you want justice for them? Would you be okay with letting them become a statistic?
Your voices are valuable, what we are doing today is powerful. Regardless of your personal beliefs I think we can all agree that something needs to be done about this issue, and right now that is not happening.
Speak up, don’t let anyone tell you that your voice doesn’t matter, or that what we are doing right now “doesn’t achieve anything.” If we accept this then the cycle continues until someone you love becomes a statistic.
Don’t let yourself become a statistic.
I want to encourage everyone here not to hesitate in telling your friends, family, and loved ones what they mean to you. Because under current legislation, we are living in a nation where you risk your life every day going to school— or anywhere for that matter.
17 people dead. Children, murdered. Children with potential and dreams they will never be able to see through. Children with families grieving for their loss, who will never be the same.
Despite unfollowed tips to the FBI, death, and school shooting threats he made on social media, Nikolas Cruz obtained a semi-automatic weapon. Legally.
Why is it this easy for anyone to have military grade weapons?
Why is it this easy for someone to commit a massacre?
The 17 deaths in Parkland could have been prevented. The 58 deaths in Las Vegas could have been prevented. The 49 deaths in Orlando could have been prevented. The 15,549 deaths by guns in 2017 could have been prevented
I refuse to go to school in fear. I refuse to risk my life getting an education. I refuse to accept that there is no solution.
At this time, gun control reform is non negotiable.
To do nothing is a disgrace to those who have fallen, and it ensures more will in the future.
By Variuos IACS Students
Students Speak Up During The Walkout
First developed for use against the Allied forces during World War II, assault rifles quickly became a go-to weapon for military forces around the world. They have been used in almost every major conflict since, ranging from the Vietnam War in the 60s and 70s, to the so-called “War on Terror” in the Middle East.
And just a bit over a month ago, one was used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, taking the lives of 14 students, 3 staff members, and injuring several others. The use of this weapon once meant for use against dangerous enemies in dangerous conflicts has effectively brought about war-zone conditions in a place meant for educating the future generations of the United States and of the world. A place where the only thing that should fire are the neurons of a thinking student… where the only thing that should strike a student is an overwhelming sense of curiosity, not the rounds of an AR-15.
So I ask you to look around you. To your peers, your friends. And ask yourselves this: How is it than in just over 2 weeks, a group of teenage high school students can round up over 90% of a school’s population - accounting for more than 700 students - as a part of tens of thousands of others across the nation, under the same one cause - safer schools in the US - yet a group of 535 grown men and women sitting on Capitol Hill cannot come together in agreement regarding the same cause - the safety and wellbeing of our schoolchildren.
How many lives have to be lost, how many children have to die in the arms of their professors, before Congress can pass sensible and effective legislation to prevent innocent teachers and curious students from becoming casualties of war, forgotten statistics on a sheet of paper.
It is times like these when students, parents, teachers, must all unite instead of cowering under metal desks and wooden bookcases. Times when we must work towards preventing the next act of gun violence instead of preparing to fend off against it. Times like these where we must stand up for our beliefs instead of sit down and wait for them. Change will not come unless we make it.
It is your own right to go about this however you’d like - because whether you believe in arming teachers or imposing stricter regulation upon those who are allowed to use firearms, we all believe in the safety of American schools. The people in Capitol Hill claim they do, so why can’t they prove it to us too.
Theresa Namulondo and Nickeyla Samuel:
Nickeyla: the year of the ratification of the right to bear arms.
Theresa: The year that 1,800 people died from mass shootings.
Both: 30 mass shootings alone this year.
Theresa: Movie Theaters,
Nickeyla: On average, about 1 school shooting every week so far this year.
Both: When will this stop?
Thersa: We shouldn't be attending school in fear.
Nickeyla: It’s funny how the girls dress code is stricter than bringing weapons to school,
Both: As if senators think boys are more scared of girls legs than they are of guns.
Both: But ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
Both: It’s our time to stand together.
Nickeyla: Not only as students, but members of the community.
Nickeyla: If we don’t fight to stop this who will?
Both: We’re blaming society… but yet,
Both: WE ARE SOCIETY!
Today we stand together in the memory of 17 individuals very similar to us. That thought, that we aren’t very different from these folks, is heartbreaking to me, because when I look at this school, all I see is amazing people. Losing any one person of this school would be a powerful blow to our school community, and losing 17 of you is unthinkable to me. It’s ridiculous that this a thing I should be scared about, right? But I am; I’m really scared that this is a possibility and I wish something would be done about it. And I think we, the students, can do something about it. But that’s not what today is about; today is about honoring these individuals, and carrying them with us in our thoughts. That doesn’t mean we can forget them after this though. These people, even if none of us have met them, deserve more than that. The world is so busy; big, new things are always happening, and it’s easy to forget the past when you’re swept up in it all. Memory is one of the most powerful things we have though, and we can’t let that waste away. So when these 17 minutes are up, I ask you one thing; that you carry with you the spirits of these people, and you keep them in your memory. They can help you think more about the world, and ways you can change it for the better.
It’s what they deserve.
Good morning everyone, thank you for participating in this event.
You know something? I’m tired- exhausted, even. I’m tired of being told to shut my mouth when I hear discrimination or injustice. I’m tired of hearing the excuse, “you’re too young, but you’ll understand one day”. I’m tired of being asked to shut my eyes in the face of injustice by a generation before my time- a generation that didn’t grow up seeing far too many school shootings on the news and then wondering if we’re as safe in school as we think we might be. I’m tired of being misunderstood, although my message is clear: I want to pursue an education without fearing for my life. My grandparents’ generation- the worshipers of Nixon and Reagan- might think I’m being a little dramatic…. And to that, I say:
April 20, 1999-the safety of Columbine high school was corrupted and 15 lives were lost.
April 16, 2007- 32 students at Virginia Tech lost their lives.
December 14, 2012- 20 young children and 6 adults were killed.
And on February 14, 2018- 17 lives were lost.
How many lives have to be lost before congress stands with us? We, as students, and as people, cannot sit back and allow the safety of our education to become compromised. No student, anywhere, should have to stomach the idea that the place where they can go to learn and invest themselves in limitless knowledge is unsafe. If congress doesn’t listen, we will make them hear us! Thoughts and prayers on social media are not enough, and never will be! We are the future, the next generation, and we demand to be heard. We will not rest until students don’t have to go through active shooter drills anymore. Active shooter drills have become the norm- like a fire drill! Children across America are being raised with the notion that one day, the safety of their school might be compromised. How is that okay? Is the second amendment really that sacred that we, as a people can’t confidently promise that students at any institution in the United States is safe? Why do these questions even need to be asked? Our own Declaration of Independence promises life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all men and women. When any life is lost to a school shooter, we are breaking that promise. We will not rest so that all lives lost in school shootings were not lost in vain. This is our time. We will honor their memories and fight.
Eggplants are everywhere these days, from a popular emoji to stuffed animals to instagram memes. These ankle socks are patterned with cartoon eggplants that look remarkably like... eggplants.
These swamp creatures keep your feet warm and toasty, a far cry from their non-sock dwelling counterparts.
By Ethan McTeague and Lauren Donald
Beetle Juice is not the only star here, this very well known frog is on someones feet. Its Kermit
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… space shark? Join sharks and other sea life in floating around the universe with these funky socks found on an IACS teacher!
Snazzy Socks at IACS
Wear this unnerving image of Michael Keaton in “Beetlejuice” around on your leg to ward off interlopers and attract fellow fans of 80’s movies!
What better animal to wear on your feet during the day than the fox, a sly animal that hides from predators the way IACS students hide from their homework?
In 1965 the hippie movement started but it apparently never ended.
Need a little spice in your life? Try wearing spicy socks! These beauties have every type of hot sauce or spice you could ask for.
You may know Junior Ian Fastert from class or as Thurston Howell from the drama program’s latest show, Gilligan’s Island.
Ian has been writing one of the May shows. A Day on the Town is about two people who meet a series of strange and funny people during a day exploring their town. Auditions were Thursday March 22nd for grades 8-12 and parts have been casted. The show will be May 17th, 18th, and 19th.
Ian has been doing theater for six years now. He most recently played the part of Thurston Howell in the show Gilligan’s Island. One of his favorite shows was Man of La Mancha last year, in which he played Dr. Sanson Carrasco. Being able to have well casted characters who are excited about the show made this show an amazing experience for the cast members.
Fastert is a creative student, and he always tries to express himself and do what he enjoys. He is in chorale and has been since sixth grade. He really enjoys singing and uses that talent during drama.
Ian fills his schedule with his job at Panera Bread and schoolwork. He also occasionally attends boy scouts and martial arts, but recently he has been too busy.
Ian’s favorite class is English. He enjoys writing in his classes. Ian said, “I like writing a lot and to push myself to understand books… and the writer's meaning.” One of his favorite assignments was an essay he wrote about the book "Girl Interrupted" in his Literature of Madness class last semester.
One of Ian’s favorite things to do is to write. He spends his free time writing movie reviews on letterboxd.com. Ian tends to include a few personal things as well as his opinion on movies that he watches. On his page you can see a list of his top 40 favorite films, including Moonrise Kingdom, currently his favorite movie.
As you can see, Ian keeps himself busy with his many extracurriculars, job, and school work. If you are interested in reading some of his reviews, you can find them @https:// letterboxd.com/ArmsOfEternity/. Or you can read the one featured next to this article.
If you would like to be featured in next our next issue you can email @firstname.lastname@example.org or dm our Instagram @innovatornews and let us know!
Ian Fastert: Singer, Actor and Writer
To find and read more of Ian's reviews go to @https://letterboxd.com/ArmsOfEternity/.
By Emily Brown
A Quiet Place: A Review By Ian Fastert
There's no peace to be found in "A Quiet Place," the horror debut of John Krasinski (Jim from The Office, who also co-wrote and stars in the film). Its tight 90 minutes are spent pulling its characters from one life or death situation to another, making sure to keep your heart racing while it's at it.
It's less of a horror movie than a thriller, similar to last years "Split" or 2016's "10 Cloverfield Lane," two wonderfully odd and anxiety-inducing experiences.
With A Quiet Place however, the journey through panic comes at us with an almost complete lack of dialogue. Yes, don't let your intuition of modern movies get you confused; the "quiet" of the title means QUIET, and you're going to be listening to either the softest sounds to ever strike fear into you or the films' violin-heavy score (what horror movie score doesn't abuse the violin anymore? It's almost worthy of a restraining order at this point).
The score is very hit or miss, managing to elevate some scenes while causing others to make you think "this again?"
What really sells the movie is the presentation, showcasing this genius horror premise in the kind of atmosphere it deserves, allowing the quiet brush of a dress hitting the ground and the sound of feet jogging through sand paint the picture of the world these characters live in better than any dry narration ever could.
Does "A Quiet Place" have problems?
Yes. The monsters that stalk this poor family have the problem of almost every 2010's movie monster design, meaning they look like little versions of the monster from 2008's Cloverfield (which was a boring design to begin with). The way they incorporate their acute hearing into the creatures' features is interesting though, so I'll give it that. On top of this, there is a fake out jump scare involving raccoons which makes absolutely no sense. If they've been making that much noise the whole time, how haven't they been killed yet? Dumb ass raccoons. The score, as I said above, wasn't fantastic, which is more of an issue here than in most movies as it is depended on to provide tension. But, again, when it works, it really works, and some scenes are good enough on their own to push past the generic pitfalls (Oh the things they drag Emily Blunt through in this). My biggest issue with it is the ending, which is very abrupt and doesn't wrap anything up. It's almost as if the team making the movie came up with this cool finale but couldn't find a way to actually film it, opting instead to just allude to it happening after the movie ends. It's odd, as it doesn't even resolve any leftover emotional beats, even if there are very few present in the film to begin with. Not that that is really a problem, as that isn't what the movie is about. A Quiet Place is a simple movie that wants to make you paranoid about little noises and is presented in a unique way that distinguishes it from every horror/thriller that has come out in the last few years. The movie jumps from creative set piece to creative set piece, managing to keep a movie-going audience who would usually find something like this boring engaged. To sum this all up, I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the heart palpitations you get after downing three cans of Monster without the ten minute bathroom trip such a binge would cause you.
ALSO: Please adjust your seat before the movie, because like… everyone in the theater can hear that. And if you're reading this, I'm talking about you, lady in row F. Not cool.
With recent events going on in schools around the country, school shooting, marches, and drills are on everyone’s minds. IACS administration has been working to bring awareness to the situation, like with our walk-out and ALICE drill practice.
On Wednesday March 7th, the school had an organized ALICE drill which, for most classes, turned into a simple lock down. ALICE stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate.
In the past when schools had an active shooter drill, they really only told students to sit in a corner of the room with locked doors, which is known as a lock down. Although called an ALICE drill, which would require students to block doors or leave, for a lot of the classes it was as if they were practicing a simple lock down.
The ALICE drill held at Innovation started with an announcement that there was an intruder in the auditorium hallway, that came over the phones in every classroom. Teachers then gave directions on where to go in the classroom and what else the students needed to do to prepare as if a shooter was actually in the building. Some classes were instructed to leave the building, while others were only to lock doors and sit.
According to High School Spanish Teacher Warren Billings, the staff had a meeting before the drill occured to discuss what they would do in their classes and in other parts of the school if a school shooter trespassed the IACS hallways.
The drill lasted for about 5 minutes, and many students were upset at how the drill was carried out. In some of the classes students were able to somewhat have a realistic drill by walking out of the classes, while others were less realistic. Sophomore Ashlyn Bisso said that “some teachers were not doing enough, there were some that weren’t barricading doors... but some went outside with their hands up like it was an actual drill.”
Innovation is trying to help students to be familiar with the ALICE drill. For example, they had everyone in the building participate in a practice drill. Administration also required advisors to discuss the practice drill, and shooting in general, However, as Bisso stated “it is a tough thing because we don’t know when it could happen or where we will be.”
It is difficult for the school to prepare for every situation, but practicing a few more scenarios could help to protect students. One student in my Spanish class discussion had said that at other high schools like Dracut High, they had a more intricate type of drill. Police officers came in with orange rubber guns and acted out a school shooting.
Although students want to be prepared, do we need a drill as extreme as this? Students want a drill that is less organized but more realistic, according to a discussion in my Spanish class after the drill. If a school shooting were to occur, no one would know when it would happen or where they would be at the time at the time.
Due to the unpredictability of a school shooting, having only High School Principal Erik Arnold and High School Dean of Students Stephanie Kelly know when the drill will take place could help students and teachers to be more prepared if this was to actually happen. Also, a longer drill where different scenarios, like students addressed by teachers to their students could also help to prepare for the different situations that could potentially occur during a real school shooting.
In Anna Cynar’s biology class, students were instructed to evacuate the building. Two of the students in that class, Catherine Nganga and Maddie Pinette, had said no one was taking it seriously and they were all walking outside. Cynar confirmed that she felt the class was not taking things seriously. “We were all walking because everyone in front of us were walking,” Nganga continues to say “it was like a joke.” When students got outside, they lost their teachers and everyone continued treating the situation inappropriately. “We just need to be more prepared” says Nganga.
Many students think the staff shouldn’t have been so organized with a drill like this, as in real life situations things would be a lot more chaotic. Teachers decided what to do if they were in a specific classroom, what to say to their students at the time of the drill and many other details.
Having the exposure to drills is good, but was this drill enough? What else does our school need to do to prepare our students for dangerous situations like these? Billings pointed out “It’s just ‘Hey we wanna be safe’, well make it happen.”
Our school practiced the ALICE Drill, but was it enough to prepare our students? Should we be doing more?
Was The ALICE Drill Enough?
The nine Furnaces in the basement Captured by Emily Brown
What's Up With The Temp of IACS?
By Ebony Moore
Tanka One by Ebony Moore
The singing of the birds
Caress my ears as I sigh
The wave of sound flies
Through the silence of forests
Calming, my meditation
Feeney says “it tends to take the better part of the day to get it up to 70 or 72 degrees so usually right when you are getting out of school.” IACS is a 90,000 square foot building. The school has a nine furnaces and one just for the library. Even with all of these furnaces, our school is not always as comfortable a temperature as students would like.
Being an IACS student comes with knowing how to layer clothing. While the second floor may feel like 77 degrees, the basement may feel like 40. It is not rare to hear someone at IACS talking about the temperature in the halls. The constant flux in temperature around the school is always on people’s minds. Bob Feeney, Director of Facilities, says he hears about the temperature of the school daily.
According to mass.gov Massachusetts Law about Winter Heat, schools should be kept warmer than 68° F. Feeney says IACS attempts to keep the temp around 70-72 °F. However, as any student can tell by sitting in class, this is not always the case.
A part of the problems begins with the way the heating system works. NOVA is the heating and air conditioning system that the school uses. IACS relies on their computer system to control the temperature, but unfortunately that technology is broken. The school is currently trying to replace the system rather than fix it, which is expensive so it will take time.
Another part of the temperature issue is that the fourth floor has a hot water system of its own and when it malfunctions that floor gets cold. To solve this problem, the facilities staff has to “bleed the line,” says Feeney, meaning they have to move a bubble of water through the line of the heating system. This makes it so that the hot water can continue to move through the pipes to heat the building.
One of the biggest inconveniences for students can be deciding how to dress for school the next day. Although it may have been hot in one of the classes, the next day it could be freezing.
Also, most of the time there is a big difference between the temperature inside the building versus outside. It is easier to adjust to a colder classroom by bringing layers, however, it is not as easy with a hot class. Students find uncomfortable temperatures to be distracting in class because it is harder to adapt. “When its cold I won’t mind it because I can just put a sweatshirt on and I’ll be fine” says Junior Christian Boyle. Many students complain about the temperature and talk about it pretty often. Jimmy Foye says “it’s freezing, its unbearable… its un-brrrrr-able.”
Heater for the library only Captured by Emily Brown
Inside and Outside by Ebony Moore
Within the garden grows
Your mind, your heart, your soul
Within the garden grows
Everything you know
Outside the garden is
The place you've never been
The things you thought were myths
Leading, pleading, sins
Within the garden's safe
But holds things you tend to take
For granted, 'till you make
Choices and your garden breaks
Outside the garden creeps
In your head, your skin, your dreams
Nothing's as it seems
And inside, your place careens
Your garden and the outside
Begin to coincide
You can't run, you can't hide
You might think you've lost your mind
However, you just need to breathe
So your garden can plant the seeds
That the inside and outside you see
Can reside together in peace.
By Emily Brown
Chilled water pipes for AC Captured by Emily Brown
By Zachary Hamann
Senior Zach Hamann Examines whether Blizzard Bags are useful or just tedious
A Closer Look Into Blizzard Bags
This past month we’ve been hit with a ridiculous amount of snow storms and nor’easters, resulting in a number of school closings. While snow days are nothing new to IACS, this year the school has been bombarded with snowstorms and resulted in an influx of cancellations.
To prevent classes from running until July, the administration is piloting a new program called the “Blizzard Bag.” Rather than extend classes into the Summer, teachers can assign eighty minutes worth of homework to students, and if the students complete the work by ten school days after the snow day then then it counts as a class day for the students. Likewise, if the students don’t complete the work after ten school days, it counts as an absence in the class. The thought process behind it is that students will be able to take eighty minutes out of their snow day to get the assignment done the day of, here is a rather lenient due date if students decide to put it off, or do not have access to internet. While perhaps a good idea in concept, it comes with some significant flaws that need to be addressed.
Perhaps what’s most egregious about Blizzard Bag is how it affects Seniors. Part of the benefit of being a Senior is having a set graduation date, thereby not needing to attend classes afterward regardless of the amount of snow days. This is great because this makes seniors able to fully relax and enjoy snow days, and enjoy a much needed break to school, that underclassmen do not get. Now with Blizzard Bag Seniors are required to make up work they otherwise did not have to do, so they are not absent for a day they would not have to attend anyway Because of this change, the program is fairly unpopular among the Senior class. But even the underclassmen have some problems with the program.
Even though the assignments for Blizzard Bag are filling in for the work that would be done in class, it effectively just becomes more homework. While some teachers use Blizzard Bag to get students to work on already assigned homework and projects, others create specialized assignments that need to be completed in addition to what’s previously been assigned. This means that depending on what classes you’re taking you could have four new assignments to get done. Making seniors do one extra assignment they wouldn’t have received because they would not have been in class for it is bad enough, but four at once makes getting all the work done almost impossible, especially with a number of students getting senioritis. I also imagine the underclassmen would find this difficult to manage as well, as dealing with four assignments at once would cause stress for anyone
For a single snow day, Blizzard Bag work isn’t too difficult to manage. Students are given a 10 school day window to complete each assignment, so it's not impossible to manage.
However, it becomes almost impossible to keep up with all the work when there are multiple snow days in a row. Since the program has been launched, we’ve had four snowdays with three of them being blizzard bag days. This adds to what’s already a massive workload and makes it difficult to remember what needs to be done and when.
Another problem is that a lot of the assignments feel like busy work. Blizzard Bags are supposed to fill in for a missed class period, but it can never exactly emulate the in-school environment. While you’re expected to do 80 minutes of work per assignment, in an actual class can range from lectures, videos, in-class projects and more. There’s simply no way teachers can properly replicate an official in-class lesson, so the best they can do is to assign more homework.
Part of the benefit of being a senior is being able to relax on snow days, knowing they won’t have to worry about making up more work. Making Seniors do more work on what should be a day of leisure is nothing short of criminal.
Another issue arises when students lose power as a result of the storm. If a student doesn’t have access to the internet there is no way for them to access Blizzard Bag and figure out what they’re supposed to do. This likely won’t be much of a problem for too many students, as they have 10 days to complete each assignment at school and at home when the power returns. Even if power is such a problem students should be able to talk about it with teachers and work some sort of agreement. Regardless, it can still put some students at a disadvantage and create some unnecessary stress, which once again for seniors should not even be a remote possibility because they would not of had to make up this day.
The Blizzard Bag program is still in its infancy, so it's possible that in the future it will be tweaked so that the problems it has won’t be as pressing. One obvious change of course is to no longer require Seniors to do it, and to compensate the ones who have unjustly been forced to do so. Another possible change would be to limit the amount of assignments students receive in a set period, so they don’t need to tackle multiple Blizzard Bags at once.
Perhaps the crazy amount of closings the school has had in such a short span and the high amount of Blizzard Bags has given students an unfair first impression of the program. If there hadn’t been a large influx of snowstorms recently, Blizzard Bag may not have been controversial. Even still, changing up the Blizzard Bag program should not be out of the question, and more thought should be put into how to deal with high amounts of cancellations in such a short time, particularly in way that doesn’t affect the senior class.
2. What does a blizzard bag take the place of?
4. What color is Ian's shiny jacket?
6. Who wrote the poetry in this issue?
9. How many different speeches are there in this issue?
11. What type of sharks are on the socks?
12. What is the main character of the Tanka poem?
1. What is Ian Fastert's favorite movie?
3. What type of socks should you wear if you need some spice in your life?
5. What company does the school use for heating and AC?
7. Who is doing their senior project on haunted locations?
8. How many furnaces are in the basement?
10. Who wrote the blizzard bag article?
The Innovator Crossword Puzzle