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News 02/2011

News

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News

Abraham Lincoln's Dropout Rates Decline

                Recent reports by the California Department of Education (CDE) state that San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) dropout rates have declined hugely. Specifically, Abraham Lincoln High School had one of the biggest decreases in dropout rates, which was acknowledged by an article in the San Francisco Examiner, stating that from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2008-2009 school year, the dropout rate declined from 9% to 3.7%. However, Principal Barnaby Payne has not even seen the official data yet and lots of talk about the validity of the CDE’s statements have been rising. So, if the data is legit, what caused the drop?


            The CDE measures the dropout rates with a relatively complex method. All students who have extended absences or requests to leave school are tracked by individual schools by unique “exit codes.” These exit codes simply make tracking the students easier for local and state departments of education. The school then reports to their districts what each student is planning to do after their leave. Districts report to the CDE and only if the CDE cannot track the student’s status at the schools and districts’ specified location, the student is counted as a dropout. Most students who do leave school usually lack graduation credits, so they go to continuation schools, such as Ida B. Wells, where they will be able to take a lot more classes.


            “Rarely, kids drop out of Lincoln,” said Payne. “They leave for credit recovery at continuation schools. The continuation schooling is a better reason for students' dropping out, since they are allowed to take more classes than the number of classes they are already struggling with.”

Therefore, students primarily drop out because of their lack of credits for graduation and failure to pass classes.


            Payne also believes that the state and districts have been trying to better standards in education. Cyberhigh and after school courses have been offered to students in the past few years as a way for students to save continuation school as a last resort. Here at Lincoln, students are allowed to take a few courses with these programs to make up for their credits.


            The huge decline in dropout rates, then, do seem to be quite plausible.

 

by Dylan Kuang

More Tests?!



The San Francisco Unified School District is thinking about giving English benchmark test that will help show teachers what students have learned.
These tests called MAP, would be given four times a year. The district hopes to make learning more equitable for students. “These tests will keep teachers on the same pace, so that they are all teaching and learning the same thing,” said Assistant Principal Susan Akram. Students will be on the same track as their peers in other classes, and other school. They will all be learning the same concepts.


But will more tests help students? Teachers debate over having more instruction days to teach and having students take tests to make sure they are on track. Some teachers believe taking tests throughout the year, would give evidence of how students are doing. And some other teachers argue that on top of all material teachers already have to teach, teachers would lose four days of instruction out of the school year to give out these test.
Students already have to worry about daily assignments, projects, and tests. Having the CAHSEE, California Academic High School Exit Exam, the PSAT, Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, and the STAR, Standardized Testing and Reporting, more tests would just be overwhelming.

 

by Lisa Lam

Familias Unidas


Community (noun) — a group of people sharing similar characteristics or interests. The Mustang community always has the best in mind for the students and families. For example, Familias Unidas, also known as the Latino Family Outreach Event, is designed to inform Lincoln’s students and families of Latino background of the school’s many programs it has to offer. “The main goal of the event,” said Lincoln Social Studies teacher and Familias Unidas organizer, Leon Sultan, “is to increase the contact between Latino students and families and Lincoln staff and programs.”


            Originally founded by a group of teachers by the name of “The Movement,” Familias Unidas is now planned by ten Lincoln teachers and several students. This year a total of about 16 organizations, such as the Wellness Center, the academies and the Parent Teacher Student Association, will be giving information and demonstrations at the event. Other events include “student volunteers who work as translators, school tours, School Loop sign up and demonstration for parents, food, an awards ceremony, a demonstration graffiti mural being painted outside, a raffle, a dance performance by La Raza Unida and three Advanced Placement Spanish students will read aloud essays that they wrote about Latino identity,” said Sultan.


            Informing the students about Lincoln’s various programs is not the only goal of the event.  “Other purposes of this year’s event are to celebrate Latino culture and the achievements of Lincoln’s Latino students,” Sultan said.


            In the past, Familias Unidas was held in the Mission District. The location change is not the only new addition to the event; graffiti demonstrations, School Loop tutorials, essay reading and the award ceremony were also added to this year’s event.


    “I am very proud of how the Lincoln community has stepped up and really embraced this event,” said Sultan. “I love to see how everyone who is a part of the process brings their own talents to creating something better every year.” The four-year-old event will be held at Lincoln on Saturday February 26th.

 

 

by Tiffany Do