by Anthony Beron
Some of us come to school hungry, usually because we got up late. It affects our whole day. We can’t concentrate, daydream instead of eating crunchy Doritos or sweet mandarins. So why not let us eat in class?
At McClymonds, students can’t eat in class, said assistant principal Clayton McKinney. His reasons: possible ant or rat infestation; distraction in the classroom.
“Food makes a cleanliness and rodent issue, and it’s distracting for the students. However, we’ve been pretty lenient in the past,” he said. But McKinney acknowledged, “Students should have between four and six meals a day.”
Not so in math teacher Mark Rizkallah’s class. Although Rizkallah could eat in class in his high school in Riverside, California, he supports school rules that prohibit eating in class.He doesn’t eat himself and believes that it distracts from learning. “It’s about who has authority,” he said.
Students disagree with all the reasons for prohibiting food in class. Some teachers eat in class. Students need to eat more frequently and have fewer breaks.
“The food becomes a distraction only when all you’re focused on is trying to sneak a snack,” said Brandon Aninipot, a junior.
In San Francisco, nine high schools and two middle schools have a program called Grab N Go, breakfasts conveniently packaged in bags with all of the components of the meal so students can grab a meal quickly from the cafeteria line or from carts on school grounds. These breakfasts can be eaten in class.
“The Grab N Go Breakfast is one of the best things we offer our students at school,” Mission Principal Eric Guthertz told The San Francisco Chronicle. “To know that even in the morning rush all of our students can grab a bag, head to class, and have a full belly to begin the day, is powerful. It is a joy to stand in the hallway greeting each student by saying, “good morning, grab your breakfast and have a great day!”
Food helps teenagers because it strengthens memory, energy levels, and concentration. Research shows that the brain obtains energy from glucose and that fatty acids strengthen synapses, which are related to memory. Antioxidants reduce stress by destroying extra oxygen in the body’s cells. Amino acids — found in protein-rich foods — help concentration and alertness, as well as mood, sleep, and memory.
Because food helps regulate stress, strengthens memory, and provides energy, students should be have the opportunity to eat during the school day more often than just lunchtime. How can someone succeed in school without remembering what happened in yesterday’s class?
Engineers with Swagg: the New Mack Look
by Kardel Howard
McClymonds has a new class — engineering. That means new toys, new tools, and new equipment that students can play with in their newly renovated $60,000 classroom, according to Lynn Baliff, educational consultant.
The new improvements start with the backpacks that were distributed to the Principles of Engineering class. The backpack doubles as a solar-powered cell-phone charger. Its solar panel is sewn into the front of the backpack, and when placed under sunlight, absorbs the energy and transfers that to its solar-charged battery. A USB cord plugs into the charged battery while the other side plugs into the phone; then it charges.
Other equipment includes a “master computer” that allows the teacher to monitor all the computer activity in the classroom.
The engineering class also has a 3D printers that turns models that are made on the computer to become a physical form. The 3D printer creates the model onto the platform by melting plastic filaments into a shape, and keeps tracing the model until it is no longer amorphous.
“The class is advancing,” said Katherine Hall, engineering and math teacher. In addition to the introductory course, Hall also added an advanced engineering course, Principles of Engineering.
“Next year,” she added, “there will be a third course for seniors.”
The engineering course counts as an elective and has a curriculum that encourages students to use their creativity and think more critically in using their mathematical abilities to solve equations.
There are 20 students total enrolled in the Intro to Engineering class and 15 in the Principles of Engineering class. Students like Kelton Runnels, a junior, enjoy the new STEM curriculum. ” I believe this engineering class is now opening a lot more doors for us than sports,” says Runnels.
As he sees it, McClymonds is turning over a new leaf.
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