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SFUSD hopes recruiting more Black teachers will lead to a positive response from students

by Aurora Oliva

On February 9th, 2015, “The Huffington Post” published an article about San Francisco headlined “School District Wants To Help Close Achievement Gap By Recruit- ing More Black Teachers.” The article talked about the importance of students having a teacher they could identify with.

SFUSD held a recruitment event in which 45 Black teachers met with district educators and turned in their resumes for employment.

Kenyatta Scott, who is not only a math teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, but also the boys and girls soccer team coach says, “I was hired 13 years ago. My degree is in mathematics, and my certification is in mathemat- ics. I’m a Black, male teacher, and that was like ‘Oh wow!’.”

Our school only has seven African American teachers, displaying the problem posed by the “Huffington Post’s” article that schools don’t have enough teachers that can relate on a cultural level with their students.

Our schools population is around 7.4% African American. Although the specific demo- graphics vary from year to year the African American student to teacher ratio is much lower com- pared to the overall population.

Kaya Leir-Love, a white freshman at Abraham Lincoln, said, “My eighth grade algebra teacher was one of the best teachers I’ve had my en- tire life... And she was black.”

Black freshman Zevonte Hamilton, said “I’ve had black teachers before, but they weren’t adequate, but I’m all for a new recruitment of Black teachers that will help my learning.”

Many students are accepting of the step that San Francisco Unified School District wants to make. Francis Calder- on, a Latino senior, at Abraham Lincoln says “I think this will help students have positive role models in their own schools.”

Similarly, Morgan Wallace the Peer Resources teacher and GSA sponsor said, “Right now we have al- most all white teachers in San Francisco Unified and very few white students, and I think that is not a good thing.”

Both “The Huffington Post’s” article and Wallace talk about the importance of students to be able to identify themselves with an adult in their schools, whether it’s putting different students with different ethnicities in a classroom with an open minded white teacher, or white students in a classroom with an African American teacher.

“If the staff has a diversity understanding with- out being a diverse of cultures themselves, that would also help,” says Jeremy Traylor, the main office secretary.

Swen Ervin, an SFUSD human capital special- ist, talked about the benefits of this idea in “The Huffing- ton Post”. “For white students, having more teachers of color in their schools provides them with an image of what people of color are. That can go a long way to dispelling a lot of stereo- types that they might pick up.”

SFUSD’s efforts to try and help students succeed are slowly making progress. In the long run it is hoped both stu- dents and teachers will have a further understanding of each other. More students will be able to connect to an adult, which may lead to higher academic scores throughout the year.

Fleas out, students in: the Little Theatre is open

by Ashley Judilla

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Throughout the 2014-15 school year, the Little Theatre was infested with fleas.This February, the Little Theatre finally reopened. No longer infested with fleas, the space is ready to go for upcoming events such as the spring play.

What caused the fleas to infest the theatre in the first place? Many suspect that the fleas came from the rats and raccoons around Lincoln.

Besides drama students, the Improv club also utilizes the room.

Luckily, the unavailability of the Little Theatre hasn’t affected the preparations for the spring play. The spring play’s auditions will be the week after Spring Break, so having the Little Theatre ready in time is vital.

Elaine Walenta, drama teacher, found that the Little Theatre was infested around September 2014 when one English teacher Caitlin Morris’ classes used the space, and a student reported to Walenta that fleas had bitten students.

Many students use the Little Theatre. For example, Daniel Kim’s English classes use it for reenacting “Hamlet.” Mr. Kim’s AP English students had to prac- tice and perform in his classroom instead of the Little Theatre. The students first started out using the theatre and ended up receiving flea bites. With thirty students rubbing elbows in a classroom, the students also re- ceived flea bites when they first started out in the Little Theatre.

According to Walenta, Lance Tagomori and the custodians attempted to exterminate the fleas, but the fleas would only come back a week later. Tagomori then contacted the district and eventually an exterminator came in to assess the issue. After the exterminator’s handiwork, no one has reported anymore fleas being in the theatre.

Relieved and happy that the Little Theatre is now available, the drama department can use the theatre to prepare for the spring play and Improv can prepare for their show in April. Despite no reports offleas, teachers such as Walenta will monitor the Little Theatre.

“We’ll see after Spring Break if they come back,” said Walenta.

The school has been having a serious vermin problem this school year. Tagomori and the custodians have worked togeth- er to trap the raccoons and mice, but students and staff still see them running around, or, at least they see the mess they leave.

One student has reported seeing a mouse run past their feet after school one late afternoon. Walenta has to store paper products (such as paper cups) in a way that the mice won’t gnaw their way through.

“I hope it won’t be infested anymore,” said Hana Bixler.

Lincoln Highschool turns 75, huge party will be thrown

by Daniel Fielding

Abraham Lincoln High School will be having its 75th birth- day party on Saturday October 3rd, 2015, and everyone is invited. The event will be last- ing from noon to late evening.

Taking place mainly on the blacktop area of Lincoln High School, the party is set to have sports tournaments, live performances, presentations, carnivals, food trucks, vendors, music, a decades dance and even a car show.

It is being hosted by the Lincoln Alumni Association and has been described by BSA coordinator Rosemary Kamkar as “like going to Disneyland,” and “a 5-ring circus.”

She also states, “It’s certainly the biggest party Lincoln has ever done.” Kamkar and the Alum- ni Association are predicting peo- ple to show up in the thousands.

“Everyone will get a program with times and events that are happening through- out the day,” says Kamkar.

One of the more interesting activities at the event will be the decades areas.

Kamkar describes these as “rooms and areas around the school themed around specific decades from Lincoln’s 75 year history. You’ll have the 40s and 50s grouped together, the 60s and 70s together, the 80s and 90s together, and of course 2000 and beyond.”

But the nostalgia fest doesn’t end there. A decades dance will be held later in the evening in the North Gym comprised of music from all of the previously mentioned eras of the school.

The sports tournaments so far include 3-on-3 basketball, 6-on-6 volleyball, and singles and doubles tennis. Attendees are being asked to get their own teams together and sign up online.

Music teacher, Tristan Arnold, and Drama teacher, Elaine Walenta, are already planning performances from the Visual and Performing Arts Department for the event.

Kamkar has also invited any and all Lincoln clubs, current and previous, to perform as well. “GDT has been pulling alum- ni together. Splinter groups from different graduating classes are merging as one,” says Kamkar. “It’s exciting!” This event is nearly seven months away, but the school is already buzzing about it, and the Facebook event group al- ready has 229 confirmed atten- dants and 153 “maybes” out of the nearly 1,200 invited so far. The attendance will only be in- creasing as the event nears. “We’re going to be rely- ing a lot on social media to get the word out,” says Kamkar. Regardless of the rest of the city, Lincoln alumni of all ages are sure to show up. Mustang alumni have a repu-

Attendance sheets will no longer exist

by Junhui Lei

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Teachers were getting new laptops mainly for attendance purposes. As of March 17, all attendance would be taken on these new laptops, which were sent out to all certified staff in early March.

“The primary purpose of [the new laptops] is for [the teachers] to take online attendance,” says Lance Tagomori, assistant principal. The San Francisco Unified School District decided to purchase a new model of lap- tops in order to standardize the attendance procedures.

Synergy is a system used by the school district to collect and store all students’ information, including transcripts, schedules, parents’ information, and more. Now, teachers may use Synergy to access to students in- formation and take attendance.

Attendance is taken online, however, students’ notes still have to be turned in in paper.

“No, [absence notes and PTLs] still have to be done,” says Yvonne Kawasaki, attendance office secretary. “There’s not a central office to monitor [the processing of students notes],” Kawasaki adds. Even though Synergy replaces the old way of doing attendance, students still may not turn in notes online.

“Now we are on to online attendance, here’s the problem: They have one day [to turn in the attendance],” says Kawasaki. After one day, the window frame for the current day attendance would be over.

Although the online attendance streamlines the process, it also brings out some confusion. “I am not sure what to do with students who are on field trip,” says Daniel Kim, English teacher, “Whether to mark them excused or unexcused, because the program does not allow me to click excused absence and only allows me to click unexcused absence.”

However, not everyone was qualified for a new laptop. Only certified staff members are qualified, but classified staff are not.

Although the laptops are primarily used for online attendance, they are used for other school purposes. “[Teachers] can also use it for curriculum planning, communication on Schoolloop, for grading,” says Tagomori.

“Probably using it to look at data when I meet with other teachers,” says Kim. With the new laptops, teachers can use them to share documents during meetings, instead of writing notes on paper.

Overall, bubbling attendance is going to be history. Teachers are now using Synergy to replace the traditional attendance sheet.

SFUSD changes policy on vaccinations

by Dana Yong

Due to the recent outbreak of measles in California, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has changed the vaccination policy regard- ing the personal belief waiver.

The personal belief waiver allows parents and guardians to opt out of having their children vaccinated while still allowing them to attend school. How- ever, with the threat of a mea- sles outbreak in San Francisco schools, SFUSD has altered the policy to state that if there is a reported case of the measles, any students that do not have proof of immunization must stay home for up to three weeks.

According to Barnaby Payne, principal at Abra- ham Lincoln High School, three weeks out of school is the recommendation from the World Health Organization.

The majority of children in the United States are vaccinated. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90% of chil- dren were vaccinated in 2013. In an article published by the Washington Post, there were reported areas in San Fran- cisco in which over 5% of kin- dergarteners attending public schools had been exempt from their vaccinations due to the personal belief waiver in 2014.

Parents and guardians have many reasons for not vaccinating their children. Some par- ents believe in the importance ofdevelopinganaturalimmune response, rather than having deactivated virus injected into theirchildren.Othersswearby herd immunity; the idea that if everyone else is vaccinat- ed, it is unnecessary for their kids to get vaccinated as well.

Conspiracy theories that pharmaceutical companies and doctors are using vaccines sim- ply for profit, disregarding the well-being of the population, are widespread on the Inter- net. Religion can also be a fac- tor of deciding whether or not to have children immunized. However, many anti-vaccination parents and guardians focus on the potential side effects of

vaccinations and decide that those side effects are worse than the risks of actual disease.

On top of these ideas, a research paper was published in “The Lancet,” a medical journal, in 1998 which linked vaccines to autism. With the support of actress Jenny McCarthy, who stated on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2007 that the “soul