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Green Academy Pushing for Water Conservation




by Brandon Yuen           

            This past month, Lincoln’s own Green Academy had a guest appearance on ABC 7’s news in regards to their efforts at pushing for water conservation at Abraham Lincoln High School.


            According to ABC 7’s news report, Valerie Ziegler, Green Academy’s current teacher, says, “Their job [Green Academy students] to educate their peers, and in the sense of water conservation they’ve given presentations to grade level assemblies, talking about how their actions matter.”


            Christian Vasquez, a tenth grader featured in the news report, says, “ The goal we are trying to accomplish here in Green Academy is to educate people about the environment, for example, using less water and energy.”


            “I’m inspired to do this because I have an interest in science as well as curiosity.” Says Vasquez. “It also was a bonus to be able to teach people about what we do here in Green Academy and how we influence the environment. Ever since I joined Green Academy they’ve been teaching me about how to save the environment.”


            On top of water conservation at school, the Green Academy students have been taking it to the next level by focusing on saving at home.


            Chris Rodriguez, the other Green Academy student featured in the news report, says “At home, I try to take shorter showers. I try to not keep the tap on, like, when I’m brushing my teeth.”


            The Green Academy has more than just their current and ongoing water conservation project. According to Vasquez, they’re also going to elementary schools to educate the youth about water conservation. On Wednesday, January 27th, Vasquez and a few others went down to Robert Louis Stevenson elementary school, dressed in costumes, in order to perform a play in efforts to spread the vision of water conservation.


            According to ABC 7, the San Francisco Unified School District was mandated to cut down on ten percent of their water usage if they wanted to continue using water for landscaping purposes from October of 2014 to June of 2015. The SFUSD ended up saving 43% of their water due to the action being taken such as Green Academy’s approach to save water by reducing use at home and by other means such as replacing pipes, fixing drains, and more.

AP Applications Enter the Digital Age

by Junhui Lei

Last year, students desiring to take an Advanced Placement (AP) course would fill out a hard copy of the AP application and turn it into a counselor. The counselor would sort the AP applications and enter the student information into a computer. However, the administrators have put an end to this complicated AP application process and have started to bring it into the digital era. Starting this year, students may only submit their AP applications through an online site, which is sent to students via SchoolLoop mail.

“It’s time-consuming to have to enter it [AP application information] all in [to the computer],” said Susan Akram, the assistant principal in charge of curriculum. In previous years, Akram had to enter student information into her computer, and this process usually took about a week and a half.

With students submitting applications online, it is more efficient for students, teachers, and counselors.

“We want to streamline the process and increase the access," said Daniel Kim, the AP Literature teacher and one of the proposers of the new system.

“We have a Google Document that has all the information, and it merges into one document, so [processing the application] is a little bit easier,” said Akram.

Now, the students are the ones who enter their own information into the Google Document, so that the administrators do not need to enter all the AP application information, which saves some time.

“I like the online application a lot better because it’s very convenient and faster,” said Yan Peng, a sophomore who has experience with both the hard and digital copy of the AP application. She prefers the online application process.

Akram has a reminder for the AP applicants. “Students should continue to have communication with their counselor about their schedule for next year. The counselor remains the primary person for them to contact about their schedule.”

Akram also points out one important fact, “Students [are] expected to attend information sessions with AP teachers for any AP classes that they are accepted to.”

Although the AP Application process has changed, the criteria remain the same. According to the Advanced Placement (AP) program at Abraham Lincoln High School, the entry of students will be based on GPA by relevant subject or prerequisite class, attendance, number of AP classes a student is requesting, access for first time AP applicants, and desire for the classes to reflect the demographics of our school population.

Specific AP courses may also use secondary criteria, which are portfolio work, teacher recommendations, and standardized test score to evaluate entry.

SFUSD negotiates contract giving teachers monetary and personal benefits

Teacher payraise.jpg

by Philip Wang

            In December, SFUSD teachers approved a new contract for a 12% pay raise and additional benefits by an overwhelming 78.3%. 2,799 members voted yes in support of the contract, and 607 voted no.

            According to Christian Geiser, representative of the Abraham Lincoln High School’s Union Building Community, SFUSD teachers and their union, the United Educators of San Francisco, had been gathering signatures from parents and the community because teachers had not had any pay raise for the last seven years. Their previous contract with the district had not been re-negotiated since last spring, so the union wanted to remake a new one.

            Geiser describes the disagreement over the pay increase, “The union wanted 21%, and the district was offering eight and a half. Yeah, a big divide.”

            The union and the district managed to reach a compromise of 12%.

            “However, not all teachers voted in support of the contract,” Geiser states, “Some teachers voted no because they thought the pay raise 12% was too low. They wanted a higher increase.”

            According to Geiser, some teachers were willing to go on  strike to boost the pay raise up to 15%. However, Geiser argues that these teachers would not have the support of their co-workers and would divide the union.

            Barnaby Payne, who also supported the contract says, “Teachers began to advocate for a pay raise, which in my opinion, is long overdue, and even the 12% isn’t enough; teachers deserve more.”

            A detailed description of the contract’s core priorities as follows: SFUSD teachers will receive a 12% salary increase phased in every six months for the next three years, paraprofessionals who specialize in certain fields like special education will receive an additional 3% salary increase, starting in their eighth year of employment for K-12th grade. Elementary school teachers will receive 150 minutes of free prep time every week.

            Additional benefits of the contract continue: teachers will receive 45 days of paid child-bonding/maternity leave, gain bereavement leave (due to the death of a close one), and obtain specific benefits to special education teachers.

            According to Payne, this new contract will significantly affect the educational system for the upcoming years. With a higher budget and pay, both the school and teachers will have the resources to give their students the proper education.

Feeling enthusiastic about school funding, Payne envisions , “keeping class size below 30, providing access to technology, making sure students have the tools to be successful, getting access to the higher quality teachers, getting access to the college application process, and also learning about career pathways for the 21st century as well.”

Lincoln to offer Ethnic Studies classes in coming year


by Dana Yong

            This fall, new students are not all that Lincoln will be welcoming. On December 10, 2014, the San Francisco Board of Education agreed to present all SFUSD high school students the opportunity to take ethnic studies classes beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

            Currently, the class is approved as an A-G requirement for the UC system. It is considered G as an elective under history, meaning it cannot replace existing history classes, such as U.S. History or Modern World.

An organization called I-SEEED (Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational and Environmental Design) has been working with school districts all over the nation, including SFUSD, to bring Ethnic Studies to schools.

The intents of Ethnic Studies, as stated by I-SEEED, are to help develop involvement in the community and social responsibility. It is hoped that, with better insight about the world around them, the students will be able to be active, informed participants in society. Therefore, the class should create a more unified world altogether.

Barnaby Payne, principal at Abraham Lincoln stated that Lincoln previously offered an Ethnic Studies course three years ago, however since then it has been unavailable.

Leon Sultan and John Hutchinson volunteered to teach the course as a ninth grade elective, but each transitioned to other courses. Sultan now teaches AP Human Geography, which has had a high demand, and U.S. History. Hutchinson moved on to teach AP World History, but as of now does not teach at Lincoln anymore.

            “I can see the value of the course,” says Sultan on his past experience. “I think the class helped to open students’ minds to issues that they had observed but had never really thought about before. It taught them solidarity and to consider other people's perspectives and what other people have been through.”

            As for the Lincoln community as a whole, Sultan believes the class helps cultivate a sense of awareness in social issues, which in turn teaches students to respect each other and build a sense of solidarity. “It does a lot to help students be more aware of the world around them and the societal forces that shape their realities.”

            Although the course has had a positive impact on the students, Sultan is worried about how adding a new class will affect the existing classes offered at Lincoln. As previously stated, the class is an elective. According to Sultan, the required courses (U.S. History, Modern Word, American Democracy/Economics) are already very large. The possibility of having to assign the class to a current history teacher without hiring someone new would just exacerbate the situation.

Barnaby Payne, principal of Abraham Lincoln, is optimistic and feels that these classes are a great idea. “It just really helps young people and adults understand the multicultural perspective and history of the country, compared to say, other curriculum.”

            However, Payne is concerned about the conflicts that this class may cause. Knowing that students are already required to take three years of social sciences, he is unsure how the course will fit into schedules. He believes that if the course would be considered a requirement under A, which is history, many more students would be interested in enrolling.

            Joseph Hsia, senior, who had taken the class during his freshman year in 2011 when Hutchinson taught it, feels that it was interesting and helpful. “It teaches a lot of valid points,” he said “I think it educates students on sensitive topics that they wouldn’t typically want to talk about.” Hsia agrees that the class would have an overall positive effect on the Lincoln community.

            Senior Nelson Chan feels that Ethnic Studies would be an interesting course to take. “If it was available this year, I would have considered taking it,” he says, “but I probably wouldn’t have ended up enrolling because it’s just an elective and my schedule is full as it is.” Because it is an elective, Chan sees problems in attracting students to enroll in the class.

            Junior Jonas Xie likes the idea of offering Ethnic Studies classes here at Lincoln. “It would add in perspectives of groups of people who have been oppressed in certain periods of history.” He feels that history is typically taught from a singular perspective and would like to see a change.

            According to Payne, as of right now, it is unclear who will be teaching Ethnic Studies at Lincoln. The course requires a good deal of professional development, meaning the class cannot simply be taken over by an existing teacher without training.

            Although implementing this course will take adjustment, it is hoped that it will provide students with a stronger sense of community and a deeper connection to themselves and those around them.

Wink world graffiti at school raises questions

Wink World.JPG

by Brandon Yuen

            Returning from winter break, students and staff stumbled upon a wall stained with white graffiti reading “WinkWorld” and “WinkyWorld.”

            “We’re unsure of the exact date as of now, but the event did occur sometime between the two weeks of winter break,” says Barnaby Payne, the principal of Lincoln.

            “The perpetrator is most likely a former student of Lincoln,” says Jeremy Traylor, the main office secretary.

            The suspect graffitied two places in the New Building including the northern stairwell and the wall adjacent to the New Building with Abraham Lincoln’s logo.

            As of now, the suspect has yet to be identified publicly.

            According to Alex Doukovinkoff, one of Lincoln’s security guards and head of the graffiti club, the purpose of the graffiti has a meaning deeper than what it seems. “Wink, or Winky, is actually the nickname of Will Jameson, an alumnus who graduated two years.” says Doukovinkoff. “And the intention of the tagging was out of respect to Will Winky Jameson.” News of Jameson’s death last fall had shocked students and staff.

            “If the guy [suspect] had just come to me, we could’ve done something in his honor,” says Doukovinkoff. “What this guy did was vandalism. In fact, we’ve already made one [graffiti art] in memoriam of Will. It’s on the wall opposite from the cafeteria. It reads ‘Winky’ and was painted by Brandon Gaunue [a student at Lincoln ] about two months ago in the beginning of December.”

            “Graffiti has now been occurring less than ever due to security cameras and the graffiti club,” says Payne. “The security cameras allow staff to identify suspicious activity, giving a disincentive for those who want to commit activities as such.”

            “It’s important to pay attention to what the message of graffiti is. To me, it seems political and beautiful. It [graffiti] is often a way of a young person to seek recognition.” says Payne.

            The graffiti presented in the New Building over winter break may have been done out of respect and for Jameson and for recognition for oneself, but whomever the suspect is has yet to be identified.