All posts by cacampora19

April Snowstorms Bring May Flowers?

By: Chris Acampora & Kristen Plahn

With most people’s weather forecasts looking like something straight out of February, nobody would believe we just started spring here in Hanover.

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Last week brought warm temperatures along with high winds. But over the weekend and into Monday, New England’s weather decided, “hey, I’m not feeling this temperature today… or this week, maybe I’m having another ‘off month’ so let’s have another week of winter…”

The snow Monday caused many students to wonder if school would be cancelled, or dismissed early, and if various afterschool activities would take place. Luckily (although that is debatable among students), we did finish the school day and added another tally to the 180-day requirement, instead of adding another day in June.

The storm posed a risk for drivers heading out into the weather. All drivers were advised to drive slower than usual. The snow and ice  made the roads increasingly dangerous, even to those with cars equipped with all-wheel drive. Another precaution was to make sure your roof was cleared before even pulling out of the HHS parking lot. If your roof wasn’t cleared, you risked having a snow-covered windshield as soon as you put on your brakes.

The recent weather also contradicted the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” With newly budding flowers buried under snow and ice, it might be a while before we see green lawns and blooming gardens.

 

What Could Have Been Purchased With $$$ Spent on Campaign

 by Chris Acampora and Kristen Plahn

Jeb Bush is now yesterday’s news, but nobody seems to have talked about what it took to get his presidential campaign off the ground. Bush, the former governor of Florida and brother of President George W. Bush, spent $58.8 million on his campaign (including super PACs and donations). That’s almost five times as much as Hillary Clinton has spent! Here’s a breakdown of what other things could have been bought with that $58.8 million . .  .

  
  
Hopefully this fun little comparison has made you realize how expensive — and potentially wasteful — a political campaign can be.

Replace ‘No Homework Tuesdays’ with Work-free Weekends for Real Break

By Chris Acampora and Kristen Plahn

In December, students were given the gift of no homework assignments on Tuesdays. But, was this a rip-off? Tuesdays in December are limited and that makes homework-free days hard to come by. If the school system wishes to continue with “No Homework Tuesdays,” as they are dubbed, then they should consider having more than the two half days in December that we had this year. The combo of a half day with no homework almost creates a day off, a day that is free to do things with friends and family.

Superintendent Matthew Ferron started “No Homework Tuesdays” across the district this past December to give students “family time.” But the policy actually reduced it. Because of Tuesday’s lack of homework, many teachers gave homework on the weekend to make up for it. The weekends are prime time for being with family; a Tuesday, not so much. In addition, “No Homework Tuesdays” could actually be counterproductive, and increase student workload. If you look at the five Tuesdays we had in December, you might realize that Christmas break was one week and some teachers gave homework during the first week in the month which. That reduced our “No Homework Tuesdays” to a mere three days. Since Tuesdays are mid week, teachers who can’t assign homework that day just push plans back a day.  If there are five school days in a week, and only four days to give homework, where does the last one go? The weekend.

A possible solution to this dilemma is a “Work-free Weekend” policy in the month of December. This would benefit teachers as much as their students. Students are going to put more effort into homework on the weekday, rather than the weekend, where most homework can be rushed through late Sunday night or early Monday morning. This means teachers will have a higher success rate on homework, increasing test grades and students’ final grades. It’s truly a win-win for teachers, because it gives students and teachers more family time. Teachers also can move ahead with teaching with a full week available, rather than feeling they have to skip Tuesday nights.

We propose the idea that, in the 2016-2017 school year, “No Homework Tuesdays” are replaced with the “Work-free Weekends in the Month of December” policy. This idea will benefit students and teachers simultaneously, making the busy month of December better for all. We hope this idea is seriously considered by administration as a viable option for the student body next school year.

Elementary School Switch-Up: Explained

By Kristen Plahn and Chris Acampora

Fun Fact: Sylvester School opened as a high school in 1927. It next became a junior high school, then a middle school for grades 5 and 6. The building then housed fourth graders and half of the fifth grade, before finally becoming what we have now: a school for third and fourth graders. With Center School teaching k-2 and Cedar School set up as k-4, Sylvester completed Hanover’s elementary school system.

With the aging Sylvester School becoming unfit for students, school officials had a tough decision in front of them: how to reorganize the elementary schools to best meet the needs of students. In late October, Hanover Superintendent of Schools Matt Ferron announced the new plan. In an email to parents, Mr. Ferron explained that for the next few years Center School will house grades 2-4 for the entire town while also undergoing renovations. Pre-K through first grade will be moved to Cedar.

The biggest question raised by this email is the future of the Sylvester School. “We will be working as a community in the future to determine a repurposing plan for this historic building,” said Ferron.

The switch between schools might seem complicated now, but it will benefit all parts of Hanover in the years to come.

 

BREAKING NEWS: No More PARCC, Sort Of

By: Chris Acampora and Kristen Plahn

It’s been decided by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (try saying that five times fast…) that there will be… drumroll please… NO PARCC.

But while 8 out of 11 commissioners on the BESE voted for the discontinuance of the PARCC test, it’s not completely gone. In deciding whether to stick with MCAS or fully adopt PARCC, the state chose something in the middle: MCAS 2.0. Massachusetts will still be involved in developing PARCC, and PARCC and MCAS 2.0 will share some questions. Some questions on MCAS 2.0 will be specific to our state’s content and standards.

While PARCC was being piloted in the last couple of years, teachers, students and parents across the state raised many complaints about the test — and not just that it was hard. The test had serious flaws, such as printing errors, and a general lack of information about the rules. Many teachers were against it as  “a waste of class time,” inspiring faculty members to wear stickers reading, “MORE LEARNING, LESS TESTING” around HHS last spring. The fact that the test had problems with the scoring system didn’t help the students either, making their testing unfair, and leaving the teachers baffled. Last year’s PARCC test was also in its early stages. Right after HHS students took the English PARCC, it was shortened from three sessions.

The fact that the test was timed was also controversial. Teachers argued that students were not used to timed tests (during MCAS, using extra time was encouraged), and that taking a timed test is a skill that needs to be learned. What is most shocking is that many test-takers found that the PARCC was more tiring than MCAS, even though it was shorter (perhaps because it was timed, students felt stressed out and rushed). Another complaint from teachers was that PARCC was administered in April, too early in the school year, before all of the material on the test could possibly be covered in class.

Hanover students are still slated to take the PARCC this spring. The Freshmen class of 2019 will be the first to use the new MCAS 2.0, scheduled to take the test next year.  It’ll be curious to see what students and teachers think of the new test.

 

Will the Trump Get Stumped?

By: Chris Acampora and Kristen Plahn

Trump was a Democrat?

According to CNN, in 2004 Donald Trump told them that, “In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat.” What is most shocking is his response to whether Hillary Clinton would do a good job in making a deal with Iran over their nuclear weapons program. “Hillary’s always surrounded herself with very good people. I think Hillary would do a good job,” he told CNN back then. It’s surprising to hear this especially when headlines like this come up: “Clinton, Trump trade insults as rhetoric heats up between front-runners.”

Trump’s Addiction to Twitter!

Donald Trump has recently been sending at least 40 tweets a day! Trump is definitely “high energy!” Jeb Bush, who Trump has considered, “low energy,” tweets less than 10 times a day.

Here are a few of Donald Trump’s recent memorable quotes!

October 26Remember that Carson, Bush and Rubio are VERY weak on illegal immigration. They will do NOTHING to stop it. Our country will be overrun!

October 25: Ben Carson has never created a job in his life (well, maybe a nurse). I have created tens of thousands of jobs, it’s what I do.

 

October 24: @JebBush had a tiny 300 person crowd at Senator Tim Scott’s forum. I had thousands, and they had real passion!

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If Donald Trump cares so much about the people of America, then why does he want to eliminate vaccinations that keep thousands of people from getting sick? He says, “It happened to somebody that worked for me recently. I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of the sudden they go in and they get this monster shot . . . they pump this into this little body and then all of the sudden the child is different a month later.” In reality, vaccinations, or, the ‘monster shot,’ save millions of people. Despite assurances from the CDC and research in scientific journals debunking any link between autism and vaccines, a movement opposed to existing vaccine protocols has taken root in the U.S., and Trump supports it.

But despite not wanting vaccinations in America, Trump still has been able to provide jobs to people who need them. Does that give you enough courage to vote for him though? We need a president who we can count on as a good and strong leader, not one who speaks of change for the better and the outcome is worse than before. Can we count on him?

Informal Poll: To Trump or Not to Trump

We asked some people around HHS if Donald Trump would make a good president if he won. Though our sample was small, the majority said that he would not be a good POTUS. Of the 12 students we surveyed, 10  said no, with one answering yes and one conceding “possibly.”

Of the 12, 10 said that they wouldn’t want Trump to win, one said yes to Trump, and one said possibly because, he “wanted to see how fast America will go downhill.”

A question for you is, who do you agree with? The yes group? The no group? Or, if you dare, the possibly group?

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Trump also has some good things going for him. He says what others candidates are afraid to say and speaks his mind. He also has lots of business experience that could boost the American economy. But what most voters need to realize is that the next president will affect Americans for the next 4-8 years! So maybe he’s fun to laugh at now, but American politics is no comedy! In the long run, a Trump presidency would likely turn our laughter to tears.

Have something you want to say, let your voice be heard in the comments below

 

Ms. Turner: Five Shows a Day!

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Teacher Spotlight

Kristen Plahn & Chris Acampora


This week’s teacher spotlight is on Ms. Diane Turner, the hilarious freshmen English teacher. Before becoming a teacher she was the Assistant Director of Advertising and Public Relations for Coldwell Banker in Massachusetts and also worked in Jack Conway Co. Real Estate. After years of working there she decided to go to the University of Massachusetts in Boston and then to Cambridge College to get her master’s in education. She is here at Hanover High School today because one of her professors told her she should teach high school English because high school students can analyze literature in a way that younger students cannot.

“I like to think I do 5 shows a day”

Ms. Turner likes seeing the desire to learn in her students. She loves seeing their enthusiasm and their ability to enjoy reading and learning. If you enjoy her class, you probably agree with Ms. Turner who says, “I do five shows a day.” There are some students who might have strayed from their capabilities like the time Ms. Turner gave a vocab quiz and a student taped the answers on the back of the person in front of her without their knowledge!

“I love the water”

Aside from teaching, Ms. Turner loves the water, and wishes to own a houseboat, since being on the water is second nature to her. She also has two dogs, Cody and Maddy, who will do just about anything for food. One time, she had a friend who had leftovers from a restaurant on the kitchen table and Cody ended up eating everything, paper and all. Her favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and her second favorite is “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. If you are lucky enough to be in her class this year, then you will definitely have a lot of fun!