Photos by DESTINY RAMOS, MARSHALL SCOTT and CRAIG MORRISON
The Redlands East Valley varsity football team faced off against Citrus Valley High School in Dodge Stadium on Friday, Oct. 8. A well-played game by the Wildcats, but the Blackhawks took the win with a final score of 7-57.
Redlands East Valley put up an admirable performance at the game. With the score aside, they showcased many great traits of the team.
However, a few crucial flaws gave way to the landslide victory. These hiccups revolved around inconsistency.
Inconsistency with tackling was a huge part of the problem. Many times Wildcat defensive players were in the correct position but were unable to bring the opponent down. These occurrences resulted in Blackhawks gaining points and eventually touchdowns.
Citrus Valley High School, wearing the white and black uniforms, kicked off to Redlands East Valley High School, wearing the red and black uniforms, on Oct. 8 during the third quarter of the game. This sight was a common occurrence due to Citrus Valley’s high score. (CRAIG MORRISON/ Ethic News photo)
Another area of improvement is speed. The Wildcats’ safeties and cornerbacks were simply not fast enough for the Blackhawks’ wide receivers. The Blackhawks’ receivers would gain a lead between their defenders and easily catch a throw for massive gains of yards.
On the positive side, the Wildcats displayed many noteworthy attributes during the game.
The Wildcats’ quarterback had great, fast and accurate throws. He was throwing the ball quickly after receiving it which really helped the Wildcats pick up some yards.
The Wildcats’ offense also improved play variety. More passing plays were seen in this game compared to the previous one and even a fake punt was attempted.
In addition, the Wildcats’ defensive line was working hard this game. Kaden Khalloufi, linebacker for the Wildcats, was able to sack the quarterback in the middle of the third quarter.
All in all, the Wildcats have some areas that need improving but put up a great and entertaining game on Friday.
Citrus Valley Analysis:
Citrus Valley made their ultimate comeback on Friday, Oct. 8 as the varsity football team faced off Redlands East Valley. The Blackhawks put much hard work into this game, which clearly paid off with the win and score of 7-57. The varsity team had lost their previous two games to Centennial and Cajon high schools, with the winning teams leading by ten or more points.
One of Citrus Valley plays during the third quarter that resulted in another touchdown for the Blackhawks. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic News photo)
The Blackhawks were off to a great start. Eight minutes into the game, player number four made the first touchdown of the night, which was the beginning of the Blackhawks’ touchdown streak.
The Citrus Valley Spirit Crew attended the game and led students with chants such as “you have no field” and “we can’t hear you.” Although the chants were well unexpected, the Blackhawks did not disappoint their team.
The first quarter ended with Blackhawks leading 0-14.
The second quarter was consistent with two touchdowns and one field goal. Wildcat player number 23 had gotten REV’s first touchdown, but that would have been the only time the Blackhawks would allow the Wildcats to score that night. At second-and-27 in the game, player number 4 made a 20-yard touchdown pass. The score was 7-27, Blackhawks leading by halftime.
The third and fourth quarters had the Blackhawks leading by more and more points. Great plays were made that eventually resulted in the high score and victory against REV. The Wildcats may not have gotten the best score, but they did fight hard and gave an entertaining game.
Spiritleaders Ashley Pham, Jenna Negrete and Malani Tauli cheer for their team after the final Blackhawk touchdown in the fourth quarter. (DESTINY RAMOS/Ethic News photo)
After a prolonged period of time that students were adapting to distance learning, April 19 marked the day that high school students in the Redlands Unified School District were able to return to school if they opted to. However, things on campus didn’t look quite the same as they did prior to the pandemic. Students now have to wait in a line to get their temperature checked before entering the campus. Instead of daily bulletins through the intercom system, principals and staff give frequent reminders for everyone to wear their masks and to social distance. Signs on the floor indicating the correct direction to walk in the hallways were also implemented to steer students from greater exposure to each other. Although all procedures and directions have been executed for the safety and health of everyone on campus, in-person school isn’t what students are entirely used to.
With the return from spring break, the question of what the last quarter of school will look like for Redlands Unified School District schools remains.
Although neighboring districts and schools across the country have already returned to either hybrid or even in-person learning, RUSD has remained completely virtual up until this point.
With a start date for the new hybrid schedule of April 19, the decision of whether or not to return has been made by students and their families.
Image of Lilian Mohr’s desk, a senior at REV, where she attends school through zoom calls on the featured ipad. Mohr is just one of many students who opted to continue their learning virtually this year. (Lilian Mohr/ Ethic News Photo)
Some may be wondering why students would choose to remain virtual given all of the challenges of virtual learning and teaching that have occurred during the last year.
Marin Mohr, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, has opted to not return to in-person learning on April 19th.
“I think that at this point I just want to finish out these classes on distance learning, because I haven’t even done these in-person yet. I don’t know how things will change once I get into the classroom, and I think I’ll just wait it out” says Mohr.
Mohr says, “I know some people who just need to get back in the classroom and I understand that too though. I think just for me distance learning is the best choice.”
For seniors, this is their last opportunity to return to high school before graduation, and yet a significant proportion of seniors are still opting to stay at home.
Amelia Campos, a senior at REV, says “I am choosing not to go back to school because I think the transition from going online to in person is unnecessary. During class it is easy to get distracted, but when I am at home I tend to get more work done during the day.”
Campos highlights some of the advantages she feels comes with distance learning, saying “It helped because I focused on my work other than focusing on what goes on at school. It also relieved the “pressure” of having to find an outfit and getting up early in the morning.”
With the return to school, there is a level of concern that the students who opt to remain at home will miss out on social interactions or school functions that can not be adapted virtually.
Campos says “I don’t think I will miss out on anything. I stay connected to my friends through text messages or sending funny videos we find on social media. If I can get the same education at home and stay connected with my friends, I do not think I am missing out on anything.”
The safety of students and staff has been at the center of this return to in-person learning, with multiple safety measures put in place on campus, hopefully making the return feel safe for all who participate.
Campos says “I just feel safer at home right now, but the safety precautions are nice to have. I do not think I would risk bringing covid home, but I can see why others would be more comfortable at school with everyone following protocols.”
Christina Vargas, also a senior at Redlands East Valley, says “Honestly I just don’t think the few possible benefits of returning to school at this point, with the year almost done anyways, is worth the risk and the hassle for me.”
On Wednesday, April 14, five days before students returned to in-person school, Redlands East Valley High School students and parents received an email from Assistant Principal Ronald Kroetz. The email included an attached document to inform students of the many procedures set in place to help create a safe learning environment on campus. In regards to lunch, the document explicitly states that the school “anticipates that there will be a minimal choice of meal options” and “if you are a picky eater you might want to bring your own lunch”; thus, students were warned of a potential lack of variety; however, they were not informed of any other details that specify what on campus grab & go meals would look like.
Previously, students getting hot lunch would get to choose their lunch items from a selection, then proceed to checkout to pay. Now, prepackaged lunches at school come at no cost for students, which allows anyone to easily walk up to their school’s cafeteria to grab one.
According to Betty Crocker, the director of Child Nutritional Services, Child Nutritional Services is “providing a unique service.” She relates that “due to COVID and safety requirements, all of the [meals] are a cold service with items individually wrapped.” These safety guidelines limit the type of food available for distribtuion.
This prepackaged lunch consists of a total of five items: one pack of Jack Links’s chicken tender bites, sunflower seeds, applesauce, Beans and Veggie crackers, and a dragon punch. In addition, students are given the option to take an additional milk, apple slices, and applesauce that are not included in the packaged sack. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)
Some students attending both REV and Citrus Valley High School have expressed their dislike for their school lunches and their inability to satisfy them.
This is the case for CV junior Janelle Gallegos. She said, “They are gross and not fulfilling. I eat sunflower seeds everyday for lunch, because it’s the only good thing they serve.”
While this is Gallegos’s personal opinion, her disapproval of the insubstantial quality of food is a common complaint shared by other students. REV freshman Kris Garcia said, “Well, see the problem is that it is very little food, and the very little food that they have is very trash food.”
Cia Anderson, a REV freshman, said, “It’s like prison lunch. Basically I was like telling my parents about it and they were like ‘yeah it’s like prison lunch.”’ Thus, Anderson acknowledged the lunches inadequacy and her parents agreed.
However, not all in-person students are upset with the current pre-packaged lunches and some have expressed their contentment.
REV sophomore Deacon Arne said, “I just really need to eat. I think it’s good.”
While it is true that students are given the option to prepare their own lunch for school, not all in-person students have that option. For some, school lunch may be the only meal that they receive all day. This stresses the important responsibility of the school to provide a nutritional and fulfilling lunch for students.
Lunch is especially vital for student-athletes, as it is generally the last meal they have before after-school practice or games. These athletes rely on a nourishing lunch to give them the needed energy to perform to the best of their ability in their sports.
The time at which the school will return to serving hot lunch remains inexact. Crocker states that child nutritional services “[looks] forward to resuming our hot breakfast, lunch and after school meal programs when we emerge from the pandemic”; however, there is no exact date that pinpoints when emergence from the pandemic will take place. Thus, on campus Grab & Go meals will continue for the remainder of this semester and possibly the beginning of school in august.
Redlands Unified School District Child Nutrition Services is still offering their Curbside Grab & Go meals for no-cost.
“This is where we provide all families bulk-style meals along with the individually wrapped meals, eggs, bagels, and strawberries,” said Crocker.
These bags, containing a week’s worth of meals, are available to be picked up between 6 to 8 a.m. every Wednesday at either REV, Redlands High School, Mission Elementary School, Clement Middle School or Beattie Middle School.
Redlands Unified School District Board Members approved a resolution on April 13 for high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year. This resolution will be in effect starting April 19 when high schools transition to hybrid and in-person instruction.
Screenshot of Redlands Board Meeting via livestream on April 13. Board Vice President Ed O’Neil led the meeting by introducing each item.
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Ken Wagner said of the resolution, “it would be a grade freeze with the ability of students to be able to improve grades thereafter but not go down at that point.”
Wagner also reminded the Board that they had approved this similar suggestion in March of 2020 when the pandemic began, prompting the transition to distance learning.
“Again, similar to what we did last year, this year is more based on the transition opportunity that creates a disruption eight weeks before the end of the school year,” Wagner said.
Whether or not high school students choose to return to in-person instruction on April 19, the Board anticipates that this resolution will allow for less stress and greater flexibility for students as the end of the school year approaches. Vice President Jim O’Neil and Board Member Alex Vara both spoke out in favor of this resolution.
“I think it’s a great thing. I hope our kids take advantage of that,” said O’Neil.
Vara said, “It’s a great idea, especially during this pandemic, we need to be flexible and we are definitely being flexible and we are ensuring that our students have the opportunity to graduate and move forward, because everybody is at a different level when it comes to distance learning and access.”
The Board passed this resolution with no objections amongst its members.
Redlands East Valley High School Assistant Principal, Ronald Kroetz, recognizes that the Board implemented this as a way to help students feel more comfortable if they are transitioning from distance learning to in-person instruction,
Kroetz said, “Our goal is that we create a positive learning space where students can focus on improving grades, mastering content and getting involved in more hands-on learning.”
Redlands High School junior Alper Sharip said, “So I think that this could be a good idea, again this might bring some energy out of the students and everything, but you know during these hard times, we kind of need a boost like this. I think it can be helpful. It all just depends on what your teachers set the grade cap on. I think the grade cap should be at least a letter grade.”
There has not been an official set grade cap from the Board, however, it will most likely vary among teachers and how much they would like to implement as a grade cap.
Sharip continues, “I think this does definitely help in-person learning and I know this is just going to be temporary, but it can encourage kids to come back to school to encourage some normalcy before we go back to full in-person next year.”
The Redlands School Board voted on schedules for returning to in-person instruction for secondary schools on April 1. Middle school students will return to school on April 12 and high school students on April 19. Each student can choose whether they would like to opt for in-person instruction or continue with distance learning and may mark their decision on Aeries.
As spring break approaches, students of the Redlands Unified School District will decide whether they will return to school with appropriate safety measures or continue Distance Learning from the comfort of their homes. (ISAAC MEJIA and ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)
Redlands Unified School District staff and parents received an email on March 17 from the Superintendent Mauricio Arelleno. The email proposed an original in-person schedule for high schools within the district. This concerns Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands High School, Citrus Valley High school and Orangewood.
The schedule is a hybrid between in-person and distance learning, and it would take effect on April 12, the second week after spring break ends. According to the email, an emergency special board meeting will occur on Tuesday, March 23 at 5 p.m. where the district will be “approving the plan as presented, approving the plan with modifications, or not approving the plan at all.” The meeting will be broadcasted and accessible via a link on the district website.
An excerpt from the email sent by Arelleno that explains the schedule above:
Secondary students who choose In-Person would attend school In-Person two (2) days a week (Group A on Monday and Tuesday; Group B on Thursday and Friday) and attend classes via Distance Learning on their Non-In-Person days (Group A on Thursday and Friday; Group B on Monday and Tuesday). This schedule maintains four days of instructional continuity for all students, while providing the In-Person opportunity to those who so choose. Families that choose to stay in the Distance Learning model will attend their classes during the afternoon Distance Learning sessions.
Wednesdays will be an asynchronous day for all students which will allow teachers and support staff time to plan and/or they may also provide office hours to support students. An asynchronous day will permit time to thoroughly disinfect the campus beyond the daily routine.
According to the email, parents will have until Sunday, March 21, 2021 to decide whether or not their students will be attending school in-person or if they will remain on Distance Learning. This gives families four days to decide how their children will end the 2020-2021 school year. Arellano made sure to address the fact that if families change their minds, they are able to make a preference request to the administration for consideration. If by March 21, you have not picked a preference, students will automatically be placed into Distance Learning by default.
Although there is a plan for the new schedule to get students back in their seats in class, the question of how students will be separated into groups is still undetermined. There is a plan for a group A and a group B for both online and in-person classes but the organization of these students is still undetermined and will be discussed at the upcoming board meeting. For students who choose to return to in-person instruction, they should be expecting a new system that includes following proper protocol of distance learning, the use of health masks, and health screenings. Schools will be administering more detailed specifics regarding the Safety Plan which will outline the general outline of the reopening of the school plan.
This change will not only affect students, but teachers as well since they now will have to double plan for an in-person and online lesson and still put forth their best effort to cover as much curriculum as possible without overwhelming students.
Eva Shinnerl, Redlands East Valley Advanced Placement Language and Literature teacher said, “Any system we choose will have advantages and disadvantages. Some students desperately need to be back on campus, and others prefer to stay home. After a year of distance learning, I’m thrilled that some students can return. If students get less time in each class during fourth quarter, that’s the necessary compromise we need to make to get students on campus. Teachers don’t want to give up instructional time, but many students’ mental health needs will be better met if they’re able to come to school.”
Students will only be receiving two days of instructional class time. This paves the way for more assigned homework and more stress as the school year is quickly coming to an end and finals/AP exams are right around the corner.
Catherine Mikhailova, a junior at REV, said, “I think the new schedule will add extra confusion and be less efficient, because it cuts down on the time we actually spend in class.”
Mary Groninger, a junior at REV said, “I can see why they would want this schedule. They are integrating students back into school and are also reducing screen time. However, it is also reducing class time in general, which can be really harmful. The change couldn’t have come at a worse time. As AP students, we need as much instructional time with our teachers in order to prepare for our AP exams coming up.”
Advanced Placement review books are shown above on Feb. 28, 2021. AP students may better prepare for their exams this year knowing their format choice and possible test modifications. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
College Board has announced that each Advanced Placement student is able to choose the format of each of their exams this year: digital at home or paper at school. This has also prompted changes in exam format in which some AP exams may differ digitally than in person.
Students taking any exams digitally are instructed to download College Board’s Lockdown Browser on their device in order to enhance the security of online testing during their exams. If students check out a Chromebook from school, the device already has the LockDown Browser installed. Thus, teachers are highly encouraging AP students to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any digital exams.
A checked out school chromebook is shown on Feb. 28, 2021. Students are encouraged to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any Advanced Placement exams digitally as the chromebooks are already equipped with a lock-down browser.. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
In Redlands Unified School District, AP students completed a survey finalizing their exam format decisions.
The following AP students explain their exam preferences based on subject groupings.
Math exam perspective
Citrus Valley High School senior Jordyn Usher is taking AP Calculus BC.
AP Calculus AB and BC will comprise 45 multiple choice questions and six free response questions. For the digital exam, these free response questions will be adapted to include answers that can easily be typed on the computer, therefore no creation of graphs will be necessary.
Usher said, “I would rather take this exam in person because it is completely math-based; typing out derivative and integrals on the computer would be very difficult, and I could annotate the important aspects of each question to help me correctly solve each problem.”
Science exam perspective
REV junior Jack Bartely is taking AP Environmental Science and AP Chemistry as his science courses this year.
The AP Chemistry exam will consist of 60 multiple choice questions both on paper or digitally for section one. For section two however, paper exams will include seven free response questions while digital exams will include 40 additional multiple choice questions and only three free response questions.
For the AP Chemistry exam, Bartely said, “Online because the online test this year will have more multiple choice questions and less essays.”
The AP Environmental Science exam will remain unchanged in test format for the digital and paper exams with its traditional 80 multiple choice questions and three free response questions.
For the AP Environmental Science exam, Bartely said, “In person because I have been handwriting the essays in this class all year, and with in person tests we can change answers, but with online they are locked in once you move onto the next question.”
English exam perspective
REV junior Charlotte Baldes is taking AP Language and Composition.
The AP Language and Composition and Literature and Composition exams will both include its typical multiple choice section, 45 questions for Language and 50 questions for Literature, and three free response questions.
Baldes prefers the digital format for all of her exams this year. She said, “I also feel more comfortable and less pressured. I also find I type way faster than I write.”
History exam perspective
AP European History is often the first AP class that many sophomores take in high school. For this reason, it can be daunting for one to take their first AP exam without much experience on how testing was traditionally given.
REV sophomore Emma Miller is taking AP European History as her first AP course.
Asides from the 55 multiple choice questions and one Document Based Question essay, the digital AP European History and AP United States History exam differ from the paper exam in that the digital format requires two Short Answer Questions in place of the Long Answer Essay in the paper format.
Miller said, “I would rather take it digitally because being thrust back into the school environment suddenly on top of taking a stressful test sounds very difficult. As much as returning to school is important, consistency throughout the school year and people’s safety takes priority in my opinion.”
AP exam testing will take place from May 3 to June 11. Students’ testing dates are determined by their decision to take the exam on paper or digitally.
30 years ago today, KTLA aired a candid video of a Black man, named Rodney King, being brutally beat by four Los Angeles police officers. This eye opening video proved to Americans that racism remained persistent in this country as a year later it yielded a not guilty verdict on the charge of assault prompting the eruption of riots into the streets of Los Angeles and surrounding cities.
Redlands teachers Duan Kellum, Jamie Ochoa and Kendra Taylor-Watson look back on experiences on how the Rodney King video affected themselves and society.
Redlands East Valley teacher Duan Kellum was a senior at California State University, Northridge in Los Angeles in 1991 when he witnessed the Rodney King video on the news.
“My roommates and I saw the video on the news and we were not shocked by the beating,” said Kellum. “We were surprised that it was caught on film. ‘Finally’ we all said.”
The video of Rodney King was recorded from across the street by a neighbor named George Holliday. Holliday recently bought a Sony video camera about a month before, and after being awoken from the commotion in the middle of the night, recorded the beating from his apartment balcony following the high speed chase between King and the police. Later, Holliday sent the video to local news station, KTLA, who aired it on March 4.
LA Police Chief Daryl Gates announced on March 7 that the officers involved, Laurence Powell, Stacey Koon, Timothy Wind and Theodore Briseno, would be prosecuted. The video was viewed by the grand jury which indicted the four officers within a week of Gates’ announcement.
The video also became monumental in highlighting the magnitude of police brutality against African Americans in the United States, as before then, ample acts of discrimination and racism weren’t readily exposed to the public compared to today’s access to modern technology and social media platforms.
Over a year after the initial release of the video, Powell, Koon, Wind and Briseno were acquitted of charges of using excessive force on April 29, 1992. This provoked an outburst of riots in the LA area between April and May, known as the 1992 LA Riots. Resentment against the jury’s verdict fueled rioters to engage in looting, arson, and assault in local communities.
Redlands High School teacher Jamie Ochoa had moved back to California from the Philippines in 1991 to discover the well-known video of Rodney King that was being displayed on various news channels. As an 11-year-old, she couldn’t quite understand the severity of the event.
“There was chaos happening near me, tension, but I was so young, I could not understand,” Ochoa said. “It seemed cruel and unusual, hateful and filled with anger. My 10-year-old heart couldn’t take it.”
“It was an odd feeling, seeing this violence happen on TV–real people, not actors–and it did not make sense,” said Ochoa.
Citrus Valley High School teacher Kendra Taylor-Watson was living in Crenshaw in South LA when the riots transpired.
Taylor-Watson was able to first-hand witness the severity and impact of looting and the riots in Crenshaw.
“People were running with TV’s, couches, some even had food. I later saw others taking chairs and heavy metal equipment to break windows of local business. Glass shattering and mobs of people rushing into clothing stores, furniture stores, shoe stores you name it and it had been broken into,” said Taylor-Watson. “All up and down Crenshaw Blvd. Cars were pulled on the side of the road while the looters packed their cars with stolen items.”
LA Mayor Tom Bradley declared a state of emergency and about 4,000 national troops were sent to Los Angeles to help quell the riots.
Altogether, the riots lasted approximately one week.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the riots yielded 775 million dollars in insured losses, about 1.4 billion dollars today.
Taylor-Watson said, “The elderly especially suffered because they had to travel further to a grocery store, bank and other significant establishments that people take for granted until they are gone.”
The riots also intensified tensions between African Americans and Korean Americans in LA, as shortly after the Rodney King video, 15-year-old African American Latasha Harlins was shot by Korean American store owner Soon Ja Du on March, 16, 1991. Du had mistook Harlins for attempting to steal a bottle of orange juice leading to Du killing her on the spot.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Community Relations Services collaborated with law enforcement and African American, Korean American and Latino leaders to curtail racial tensions as well as to cease violence and destruction in the city during the riots.
Taylor-Watson said, “The community was forever changed after the not guilty verdict of the policemen that beat Rodney King.”
After a little over five months of online school, children all over the world have been negatively impacted by the lack of socialization, absence of in depth learning and failure to find positivity. During online classes, the grades of many students have seen a negative stride in comparison to previous grades. Many feel as if they are falling behind in reading and math due to the lack of interpersonal communication.
“You aren’t in a classroom, [so] it’s really hard to focus with all the other noises,” said Emma Ainsworth, a senior at Citrus Valley High school.
Featured is a desk that is similar to one that many students face on a daily basis. Students have also been forced to face a difficult school year that can lead to loneliness and stress (Emily Prinstein/ Ethic Photo).
Many students have failed to turn in assignments due to the confusion on things such as due dates, where to turn in the assignment and even unclear instructions on how to complete them. Among the schools that have initiated online learning is Iowa State University, which notes that “without the routine structures of a traditional class, students may get lost or confused about course activities and deadlines.”
Teachers use different platforms for their students to turn in assignments, which can become confusing and overwhelming for their students. Many of these platforms are new to students such as Kami, Google Classroom, Edulastic and many others.
“Sometimes it can be confusing turning in many different assignments on all of the different platforms, and at times it causes me to forget to turn things in,” said Hayley Prinstein, a senior at CVHS.
During online school, many students also leave early from their classes while some do not show up at all. Students do this because they are unmotivated and believe their teachers won’t notice.
Because of the lack of structure in distance learning, many students have resorted to cheating on tests and assignments. While their grades may show that they are doing well with online learning, it may be a different story at home. This greatly affects how students learn, and as they move onto further and higher learning they are not going to be prepared due to the way they have adapted during distance learning.
Another issue that has arisen is the home life of some students. It is apparent that students need somewhere they can go to study and focus. While at home, some students struggle to find this place due to siblings, pets and other factors.
In some cases, students may also not have access to all of the supplies they need such as not being able to access the internet. This causes significant disruptions to many student’s learning, and will only escalate further problems with assignments and tests.
Overall, online learning has had its ups and downs for many students. While some schools hope to re-open their doors soon, students will have to make do with distance learning until then.
A recent post on social media of the actions of students at Redlands East Valley High School led to a problematic week of final exams for students and administrators alike. Two female REV students, one a senior and one a sophomore, can be seen in a video posted on the platform TikTok making racial gestures towards a young Asian American influencer. This video went viral and school administrators, such as Robert Clarey, were contacted along with the district superintendent, Mauricio Arellano.
Both the family and authorities would be contacted over the situation and work with the school to find a proper solution. However, this would later create a backlash, as some students believe that the school and administration have failed them more than once and would do so again. Several students claimed that they had been in similar situations of discrimination, but the administration only stood by. Inara Khankashi, a sophomore from Citrus Valley High School, says that “at a school where the majority of students are people of color, it is unacceptable that acts of blatant racism just go by with no consequences.”
Students have expressed concerns about not only the incident itself but the district’s response to it. When the incident first was reported to the administration, an email was sent out that explained the school’s legal limitations to enforce any direct discipline due to the fact that the incident did not occur during school or on campus, although they did not condone the student’s behavior. Victoria Lee, a sophomore at REV, says “although I understand that the school may have their hands tied as [her] actions took place off-campus, it upsets me that these two students haven’t been correctly disciplined nor grew from their actions.”
Many students brought up the discussion of creating a resolution through a committee of students and administration. It was passed in October in response to the community calling out racism to be a health crisis. Within the resolution, it states “Now, therefore, be it further resolved that the Redlands Unified School District Board of Education will implement and reinforce, with intent and fidelity, policies and practices that reflect a conscious effort to ensure racial equity, equity of access and service, cultural education, and diversity at all levels within our organization”. Some adults, like Susan Broome, parent of two former students from RUSD, say “I oppose the resolution because of its many false premises and assumptions, and ideological promotion.”
Some students have expressed their disapproval and disappointment with the action that the district has taken towards the REV student. Joleen Bakalova, a sophomore from CVHS and a contributor to the resolution, says “the REV Administration should have followed the guidance we outlined in the resolution against racism. After all, what good is a resolution if it is not implemented.”
A post from the Wildcats for Change Instagram explaining the stance of the group and some students at REV. (Photo credit to Wildcats4change Instagram)
Wildcats for Change, a club at REV that looks to help fix social injustice at the high school and through the district, have created Instagram posts that many believe are much more helpful than anything the district has done. In response, the Redlands Unified School District has incorporated small townhall-like meetings for students. These meetings were separated into two days each for the different schools. Each had small groups in breakout rooms on the video communication platform Zoom filled with student and teacher representatives from Students For Change, counselors, and other district members to answer any questions for the students. Brooklynn Rios, a sophomore at REV, says “they spoke a lot about how they wanted to implement these changes to benefit the students and what standpoints we had about school and how it can be better.”
Featured Photo: An illustration depicting the feeling that many students have felt due to the past events, as some might feel muted and unimportant. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News Art)
Many studies have shown that too much screen time negatively affects minors’ brains. Due to distance learning and COVID-19 shut-downs, many kids have been spending a lot more time in front of a screen than they used to. In addition, much of this time is not by students’ choice, but as a requirement to be successful academically.
Before quarantine, the expectations for most classes was that cell phones were to be put away. Fast forward a few months and students are required to spend their entire school day in front of a screen. For Redlands Unified School District high school students, this is from 8:30 a.m. to 2:12 p.m., with scattered passing periods and a 30-minute lunch, five days a week.
Students with seventh period or who need extra support continue until 3 p.m. and those trying to stay involved with extra curricular club zoom meetings, often stay on longer. This does not yet include the many hours of studying and homework assigned that require using a screen.
Due to social distancing, screen time is the safest way to connect with friends and family through social media or online games, and so the screen time continues.
Poll: How many hours do you spend on the screen for school each day?
According to NewYork-Presbyterian, “Children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests.” With online learning, it is almost impossible to spend less than two hours on screens, as classes usually take at least six hours, and homework and studying several more hours.
NewYork-Presbyterian also says that, “Some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex.” The cortex is the part of the brain that is related to critical thinking and reasoning.
This dramatic increase in screen time is very clearly taking a negative toll on the mental health and possibly the brain development of students.
By staying socially distanced, washing our hands and wearing masks when going out, everyone can do their part in helping the spikes cease, flattening the curve, and so that hopefully students can return to school and work in person for everyone’s benefit.
No Homecoming or Prom. No school rallies. No fall Friday night football games. No concerts, plays, or sporting events. No painting student parking spots. No college acceptance celebration days. No paper toss. No end-of-the-year trip to an amusement park. It may be possible that seniors not experience an in-person graduation this year.
Class of 2021 high school seniors are facing the inevitable loss of their last year of high school. For them, this year is supposed to be remembered as a once-in-a-lifetime experience to cherish moments with friends and classmates before they all take on different paths following graduation. However, given the different circumstances imposed by the pandemic, seniors are forced to trudge through the year via distance learning without the in-person connections formed or developed with friends and teachers.
Redlands High School senior Linda Estrada said, “It impacts mental health because it is stressful to try to teach yourself a lesson you didn’t comprehend in class and when it comes up to that quiz or test you feel uneasy because you don’t know if you taught yourself the correct way to do it.”
To incite positivity for these high school seniors, Marci Atkins, mother of a senior at Redlands High School, started a Facebook group titled Adopt a Redlands Senior. This event is open to any seniors enrolled in RHS, Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley, Orangewood, the Grove, and Redlands eAcademy. Parents of the class of 2021 seniors are encouraged to post about their seniors where they tell the group about them along with a photo. Anyone else is welcome to read their post and comment if they would like to “adopt” them. By doing so, they commit to compiling a goodie basket or gift bag to deliver to their adopted senior’s house.
With more than 200 people in the group, seniors have received overwhelming support through the delivery of gifts from people they didn’t even know.
“I was surprised and very thankful,” said CV senior Destiny Shaughnessy, who received a blanket, car freshener, candle, bracelet and some candy in her gift bag.
“I think this helps seniors because they have worked hard and struggled to get to graduation,” said CV senior Azul Amaro. “Every senior/student has obstacles not just in school but in life as well and I think that with a small/big gift it can make a senior’s day, week, or month better.”
Amaro received a gift basket with a large assortment of items: a sketchbook, some sketching pencils, some fuzzy blue socks, a mermaid reef candle, a 2021 magnetic calendar, a blue glittery scrunchie, some candy and a bath bomb.
Estrada said, “It gave me a boost of confidence knowing people see what we are going through as seniors.”
Redlands High School senior Laura Estrada with a gift basket on Nov. 14. Estrada received a makeup palette, gift cards to Starbucks and Taco Bell, some scrunchies, face masks, and nail polishes from Sergio Vazquez, parent of a Citrus Valley high school senior. (Courtesy of Laura Estrada)
Anyone wanting to adopt a senior can find all the information through Marci Atkin’s FaceBook group “Adopt a Redlands Senior.” Even small gestures, such as flowers, balloons, or a card, truly brighten up seniors’ days. All people are encouraged to participate and appreciated greatly for making this year’s seniors feel special given these unique circumstances.
Images of equality and exclusivity symbolizing love for anyone (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)
During the last Redlands Unified School Board district meeting on Oct. 27, 2020, Resolution 12 was passed with the help and support of the NEXGEN Student Board. Resolution 12 covers the topic of making the schools in Redlands Unified District inclusive to all.
NEXGEN United, a Redlands Unified student operated community organization working for “racial equality and justice for all”, declared racism as “a public health crisis” as said by their instagram. In doing so they created a resolution to bring to the attention of the RUSD school board. This is significant because, due to the recent California Assembly Bill 331, school boards are encouraged to incorporate curriculum to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ students, racial injustice, and all around inclusivity of students regardless of economic background, gender and/or sexual orientation. The school board will ensure this by implementing policies and practices, such as equity of access, services and cultural education.
Some students on the NEXGEN board, such as Mauricio Pliego, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, who “personally worked on the resolution” saw an “opportunity to create a more understanding and safer environment” for RUSD students. Inara Khankashi, a sophomore at Citrus Valley, and a NEXGEN member, is “extremely pleased it passed”. She said that “the District genuinely needs change and student representation, especially people of color ones, should assist in bringing out that change.”
R-12 ensures that future Redlands students are informed and educated on racial, LGBTQ+ and other social issues. Through reinforcing policies, the district hopes that practices and RUSD student/member participation can bring them closer towards a safe and equal learning environment to lead to a brighter future.
If a historian were to one day indulge in the thickest textbook of them all, that being of the never-ending year 2020, a large portion of the content would probably be dedicated to the new dimension of distance learning and Zoom.
The transition to distance learning was quite stressful for students having to attend multiple classes via Zoom every day while channeling their full attention to learning new content in front of a screen. Possible distractions arise at home, such as phone notifications, family members, or outside noise. For many students and teachers, Internet issues have also proven to be a struggle in learning.
Redlands East Valley freshman Vincent Hernandez said, “When I was joining my class, I got kicked [out] more than four times because of my WiFi.”
“One of my teachers got kicked out of their own class for like five minutes,” said REV senior Donecia Campos.
Without having the social aspect of school, it is understandable that students feel out of the loop or unengaged sometimes in class. Teachers have attempted to revive the social aspect of school by forming breakout rooms in their classes, a Zoom feature that enables the teacher to put their students in groups separate from the main Zoom meeting. These breakout rooms are generally used for discussion or collaboration for an assignment. However, oftentimes students feel the Zoom breakout rooms are too awkward when they’re with fellow peers they aren’t close with.
“Some people in my breakout room were actually talking instead of being on mute the whole time and not getting any work done,” Citrus Valley freshman Aiyanah Johnson said. “That’s really relieving because breakout rooms can be very awkward.”
Amidst the difficulties of distance learning, it is somewhat alleviating to know that most teachers form a camaraderie with their students over common struggles.
REV sophomore Faith Morales said, “I was drinking coffee in one of my classes and my teacher called me out saying she needs her coffee too in the mornings to keep her going.”
Alexander Marquis, a REV sophomore, said a common student phrase he hears is, “Teacher, you’re on mute.”
In particular, students notice that teachers struggle with forming connections with their students and getting them to participate through a screen.
Citrus Valley High school freshman Joel Barbee said the most common phrase he has heard a teacher say in class during distance learning was “Please turn on your cameras, guys.”
“A funny moment from distance learning this year is that teachers are just as confused as the students. The mishaps are pretty funny,” said CV freshman Haley Bond.
For students, many funny class moments revolve around not realizing their microphones were on during class.
Barbee said, “I was on FaceTime with my friend and I forgot I had my mic on.”
“I didn’t mute myself and I was screaming,” said REV junior Alex Miller.
Nonetheless, some students have been able to reap the benefits of having to do distance learning via Zoom. For example, a regular school day at Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley, and Redlands High School would last from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but distance learning prompted the schedule to be modified to 8:30 a.m. to 2:12 p.m. allowing for a later start time and slightly earlier end time.
REV freshman Lauren Amaro said, “I enjoy that I can wake up later than I usually would for school.”
Likewise, REV freshman Mia Uribe said, “You can go to school right when you wake up. You don’t have to wake up early.”
Redlands High School junior Isabelle Verjat said, “I like that I don’t have to put on shoes and can sit however I want to. I also enjoy that my dog is around me pretty much all day.”
In response to something she enjoys about distance learning, REV junior Ella Fletcher said, “Not having to waste travel time? Wait no, being able to have my pets around 24/7.”
“We can eat during class and wear our pajamas,” said REV junior Ali Sirk-Bun.
Redlands High School junior Paul McClure said, “I can make my own lunch. It has been really enjoyable to cook up a good meal every day.”
REV freshman Arron Gomez said, “I brought my computer to the kitchen and made nachos.”
Bailey Bohannnon, REV junior, said, “[I] can sleep in between classes and I could literally take a shower during lunch if I really wanted to.”
Digital artwork, made with the app ibisPaintX, depicts the realities of distance learning. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)
As students head into the winter season, the distance learning chapter continues.
On Oct. 13, Redlands Unified School District held their monthly board meeting to inform and update the community of issues in the RUSD, including the status of a Redlands East Valley sports stadium.
The district has sent out a request for qualification and a proposal from architects for a stadium. They will soon be planning a rubric and grading the proposal from the architects. The proposal will be brought to the next board meeting for the board to deny or approve.
Paul Cullen, the interim assistant superintendent of business services, discussed in the board meeting how the district has $11 million in the district’s development funds.
Yet, only $6 million would be possible to be used for a REV athletic facility due to the district’s needs to replace portables, start street improvements near a future middle school, and repair the swimming pools at the high schools.
2 years ago, Redlands East Valley High School football team competed in a game in Redlands High School’s stadium. Over the past years, Redlands High School and Citrus Valley High School have been sharing their stadium with REV. (Photo credit to Shireen Takkouch)
Cullen advised against using the entire amount of $6 million for the stadium.
Cullen said, “Should anything catastrophic happen, the district would need that $6 million for repairs,”
Superintendent Mauricio Arellano agreed with the idea of possibly using part of the fund for the stadium and introduced the possibility of using $2 million from an appraisal of the district’s 9.1 acres of land towards the stadium.
During the community input segment of the board meeting, Laura Mapes, along with Melissa Campos and Jill Green, announced a committee formed called the Coalition to Support the RUSD in the Completion of a REV Athletics Stadium.
After hearing discussions in board meetings and being encouraged by local news outlets for a committee to be formed, these parents of RUSD took action.
“We are very eager to help RUSD in any way necessary,” Mapes said. “We have connections with other entities, businesses, parents, teachers and etcetera to ensure this stadium can be built under RUSD guidelines and supervision safely and expeditiously, so that it can be enjoyed by all in attendance.”
The committee plans to help supplement the completion of a stadium if needed through fundraising and asks the board to have the stadium to be on the agenda every monthly board meeting, a board member to be appointed to the committee, and to be able to work with the facilities.
At the next board meeting on Nov. 10, the board may vote on the proposal for a stadium for REV.
By ISAAC MEJIA, ARIANA GHALMBOR, NYLA DE CARVALHO and HANNAH PATRICK
Redlands Unified School District parents, staff and students were notified on Monday, Oct. 26 about the power outages that affected local areas and impacted the online learning experience for students and teachers.
Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino county experienced power outages. As many as 9,688 San Bernardino county customers were affected. The power outages throughout the counties occurred for two reasons: high winds and preventative measurements. According to the SCE website, “high winds can damage power lines.” As a safety precaution, they “shut off power in high fire risk areas as a result of extreme weather conditions.” The company restores power only after their crew inspects power lines and confirms that it is safe to do so.
Many students in or around the San Bernardino county area were among those affected and encountered the darkness within their houses and apartments. Some students reported that the stores and fast food restaurants in their areas were closed down by 1 p.m. in the afternoon. Others reported the produce in their refrigerator getting hot and spoiled or rotten, while others said they couldn’t shower, charge any electronics or do homework because the power was out. Some even chose to move locations temporarily.
Additionally, many students throughout the district struggled to attend classes. Even after the power went back on, Cyrus Engelsman, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, said that he still continued to struggle. “The power outage left my house without power or internet all day,” Engelsman said, “I was not able to go to any of my classes and missed out on a lot. When the power came back, some of our light bulbs ended up dead, which was very unexpected.”
Teachers across the district had trouble using Zoom as well, as many of their students could not attend class as regularly scheduled. Jana Bailey, an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) coordinator from REV says, “It didn’t really affect me, but it affected a handful of my students.”
Wendy McClung, a mental health teacher, said she had to change her lesson plans for the day to accommodate her students’ needs. “Although my home was not affected by the outage, many of my students were unable to attend class. I spent much of my day responding to emails and being mindful about slowing down my lesson so those who had missed the day could easily catch up.”
While some students and staff of the district dealt with the power outages, it was found in a small study with a sample of 15 students that 60% had been affected. Anneliese Reese, a freshman at REV in the unaffected 40%, said, “Yuh, was all good.”
Student-athletes and coaches have been anxiously awaiting the resumption of high school sports following the cancellation of the spring sports season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is required that if sports teams practice in person, they wear a mask if possible, minimize the sharing of equipment, and maintain a distance of at least six feet apart when applicable.
Redlands Unified School District recently transitioned into phase one of returning to athletic participation on Oct. 1. Student-athletes must complete the online athletic clearance process and sign a pledge to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. As for coaches, they must also sign the pledge and are required to complete COVID-19 online training.
Guidelines for phase one of returning to athletic practices include the following: outdoor conditioning only, ten or less per conditioning group, no equipment usage, six feet social distancing with masks, no spectators or media, and masks must be worn unless conditioning with proper social distancing at nine feet.
As a result of high school sports seasons being pushed back to January, three seasons had to be condensed into two. Fall sports for this year include football, water polo, volleyball, cross country and cheer with each following differing guidelines.
For example, water polo may use the pool facilities, but each lane is limited to only one swimmer with each person in every other lane going in the opposite direction.
In addition, cheer is prohibited from vocalizing chants and volleyball must conduct practice outdoors at this time.
Redlands East Valley football team practices consist of bodyweight conditioning exercises, such as upper, lower and full-body movements, footwork and agility drills, plyometrics and sprints.
Redlands East Valley head football coach Richard Lunsford times his players as they do sprint intervals on Oct. 20. Coaches wear masks the entire time and athletes are advised to put theirs on when practice ends. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
“Being able to start these small group conditioning sessions has definitely given us a little ray of sunshine in the darkness that has lurked over us since this pandemic has begun,” said Richard Lunsford, head REV football coach. “I have high hopes for this upcoming season, but we will know much more in the weeks to come as the data continues to come in to health officials and we hopefully see the number of cases decrease.”
Prior to starting in-person practices, REV football engaged in virtual group workouts. Players now express their exhilaration to begin in-person training once again.
Football player Noah Sorenson, REV senior, said, “I am obviously very excited to be beginning practice. The situation as you know isn’t ideal and being able to have fun and stay safe is an incredible undertaking for anyone.”
“These things aren’t easy but the steps we take now will allow us to go back to normal,” continues Sorenson. “Here at REV our practices consist of conditioning and only conditioning which for now is fine because many of us need the help, but I do hope soon we will be able to follow the footsteps of both the NFL and college football in having regular practices and games, of course while keeping social distancing in mind.”
Redlands East Valley football players engage in conditioning exercises during modified practices on Oct. 20. Athletes were distanced at least six feet apart from each other on the baselines of the basketball courts. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
REV junior Zachary Mendieta, a fellow teammate of Sorenson, said, “It’s definitely different than what we are all used to but I feel as if the transition went smoothly with how bad everyone just wanted to be back out on the field. I know that all of my teammates were so eager to be back to in-person practices that we just did anything that was told by administration.”
Mendieta recalls, “I even missed practices for a little head cold so I wouldn’t risk getting our sports shut down, and pre-COVID, I would always go for a little sickness like that.”
If a staff member or student does contract COVID-19, they are required to inform their school site so that RUSD Risk Management can determine the following steps.
Until then, all coaches and athletes must abide by requisite protocols concerning the safety of everyone at practices.
Lunsford closes football practice on Oct. 20 by reminding his players “you know the drill when you leave” followed by a collective response from his players: “masks on!”
With laws in effect urging people to maintain social distance in order to prevent high amounts of coronavirus cases, many organizations have temporarily discontinued their volunteer programs or no longer accept new volunteers.
Volunteering has many benefits for students and the community. It helps individuals learn to problem solve, develop social skills, meet new people, and gain experience for a future career. According to the Help Guide, students partaking in the community “can also help protect [their] mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep [them] mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.”
Shannon Cockerill, a junior at Redlands East Valley, does over 100 hours of community service each year.
Cockerill stated, “Sometimes, when you feel lost, helping someone else find their path leads you to your own.”
Below are 5 ways you can gain community service hours safely during this pandemic.
Check in with seniors citizens
With the coronavirus outbreak, older adults and people who have pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of suffering from COVID-19. Many seniors have been isolated in order to protect themselves from the virus. Being isolated from members of the community and their loved ones can lead to loneliness and cause depression, anxiety and more.
Contact local senior centers, nursing homes and retirement communities in the area to offer help by talking to senior members.
Due to the new laws in place pertaining to COVID-19, the district shifted from a traditional education experience to distance learning. Distance learning consists of 100% online learning for students and staff through the use of virtual class meetings and assignments.
This new method of learning has led some students to struggle understanding new concepts. Riley Anthony, a senior at Redlands East Valley, provides a solution to this problem by creating the Distance Learning Exchange as a forum for students and parents to ask for free tutoring and students and parents to offer free tutoring.
Anthony stated, “I created this group to help student who need help but also create opportunities for community service that other students might need,”
Due to how rapidly the virus is spreading, homeless individuals are very vulnerable to receiving the illness. Along with the virus outbreak, many families have been affected by the wildfires spreading in California. Many are in shelters, as they have been forced to evacuate their homes. This creates a need for care packages for members residing in local homeless shelters. Some items to include in the care package are hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, cleansing wipes, cold weather clothing, blankets and non-perishable snacks & bottled water.
Create and donate homemade masks
With state orders encouraging the use of masks for everyone and requiring them to be worn in public places, masks are essential to community members. Homemade masks can be easily made with any type of sewing material and sewing machines. Check out Deaconess to find many different organizations in need of mask donations near you.
Donate goods you produced
Many students have found themselves starting small businesses as quarantine has left them more time to pursue entrepreneurship. If students donate the items they have created in their spare time, the hours spent producing the goods created can count toward volunteer hours.
Also, check out resources, such as VolunteerMatch, that notify individuals of upcoming volunteer opportunities near their location for more and new ways to give back to the community.
An infographic describing different ways for students to get involved with the community during a pandemic. (Miriam Yordanos / ETHIC NEWS)
With the constant adaptations faculty and students have made through this pandemic, the annual college activities hosted by Redlands Unified School District career centers have found a way.
These events are all provided and curated by the RUSD career centers. The designated offices and administrators have strived to create a vast assortment of college aid even through these unforeseen times. And though there may not be the same face-to-face environment, this new online setting won’t interfere with career center coordinators and their mission to help their students get ready for college.
The Redlands East Valley career center during a normal school year, would have been filled with students listening to numerous college meetings and receiving guidance from Vanessa Fairbanks and other staff. (Photo Credit ROP CRS Norma Nuno)
As a central hub for the arranged activities, the Google Doc constructed by the career centers gives vital information to students anywhere from freshmen to seniors. The access to students is divided upon different days and times where the links are accessible from the document. If you have joined your graduating class’s Google Classroom, there may also be alerts and reminders there. Some of the various happenings include online informational sessions with select colleges and universities, various workshops and events with the UC’s, and then there are the opportunities from the RUSD college partnerships which also offer on-the-spot-admissions.
A portion of the 17 pages long document created by four teachers, Kari Hill Citrus Valley High School Career Center Teacher, Vanessa Fairbanks Redlands East Valley High School Career Center Teacher, Deborah Severo Orangewood High School Career Center Teacher, and Christa Padilla Redlands High School Career Center Teacher helps and directs students in the right direction when searching for college events.
As far as the informational meetings, most colleges and universities have chosen to use Zoom as their main platform. An advantage to these meetings is whereas previously there would be one or two admission counselors as representatives leading the in-person meetings, many colleges have designated a majority of their admissions team to be on the Zoom at the same time. This allows for them to be answering questions in the designated Q and A section while the presentations are being conducted. These Zoom seminars allow for a different environment where one would usually have to miss a class period to attend the in-person versions, but are now offered after school in the comfort of your own home.
When it comes to the effects of the coronavirus and quarantine, people are quick to point out the obvious: boredom at home, not being able to go outside, and difficulty connecting with others, but there are more effects than just the obvious.
Living paycheck to paycheck is one of the lesser known, long-term effects of the pandemic. Those who live by waiting on the next paycheck work like a balancing act: trying to balance how much money is used on food, but also save for bills.
Destiny Gonzalez, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, understands this struggle. “It is worrisome, because you don’t know if this check will last the time it needs to, ” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes you have to cut some necessities off just to make it to the next paycheck.”
Photo made with Autodesk Sketchbook, a drawing and sketching app. (Aileen Janee Corpus / Ethic News)
For others, this was just another way of living, but it is now harder due to pay cuts and layovers. REV senior Celeste Chala also experiences the hardship of balancing money, “My mom gets really stressed out even more now because the rent is higher especially in a house, even if she is paying half the rent.”
REV sophomore Brooke Rowan and her family recognize the difficulty of adjusting to a lower budget, “As soon as we get [a check] we already know where the money is going, but we still seem to have a little bit of money to do some fun and cheap activities. Rowan and her family use their extra money “as vacations, trips to San Diego, [or] going to amusement parks.”
Losing one’s home, or commonly known as eviction, is another effect of the pandemic; it can bring extreme amounts of stress due to the fact that the tenant must leave at a certain date without accounting the amount of belongings in the home.
“It was the worst because the owner only gave us like a month to leave,” said REV sophomore Natalee Lopez, “and it was 10 years worth of stuff in the house”
Renters living under the threat of eviction experience poorer self-reported health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, according to authors of a 2017 study published in ScienceDirect.
“The [eviction] was stressful to [my mother’s friend],” said REV senior Celeste Chala, “it came to the point where [she was] so stressed out she had a seizure in Target. We were given a short amount of time and I believe that they expected us to pay some money up until move out day.”
Especially during this time of extreme changes, mental health can be greatly improved or deteriorated. Some students find ways to make use of the extra time at home by self-care and learning new skills.
“[I have m]ore time for mental stability,” said REV senior Gloria Bahena, “[and to] find peace within myself and develop new skills such as learning new languages.” Bahena believes that without quarantine, her mental health would have definitely been worse, but that too much of a good thing cannot always be good.
Some students might feel drained after being on a computer for so long or not having enough face-to-face interaction with friends.
“Honestly, I am a very social person,” said REV freshman Haylee Lyon, “and without physical contact, it’s very hard to find a way to stay positive.”
Other students feel relieved from not having to deal with drama at school, such as REV junior Chloe Moore, who said “I’ve had a lot of free time to focus on my mental stability. I’m so much happier, and I don’t have to deal with drama at school.”
Kaedyn Nelson a REV sophomore has been learning new skills and taking time to self-reflect. “I have started to learn how to drive, [and] I started dancing again,” said Nelson. “Distance learning has forced me to really sit down and pay attention, and get good grades. Yes, my freshman year was very bad: I was in and out of trouble, and I lost my phone for another year. During quarantine I was so stressed with the fact that I couldn’t go to school or see my friends or just go out anywhere, that I decided to make decisions to get me in trouble for the three months. After that I really focused on myself and what I could do better.”
Making sure that there is food on the table, moving out of a loved home, or taking care of one’s mental health are feats that anyone could be facing.
Rowan sees the light at the end of the tunnel, “I’m still sort of hopeful that we can get through this together as a whole.”
The fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year underwent the implementation of online learning and video communications via Zoom and Google Meet due to the severity of COVID-19 cases. With this experience, students and teachers expected improvement in learning for August of 2020, having more time to prepare. However, it was quickly distinguished by frustration, exhaustion, and confusion due to the long school day being online.
Having to start the year with distance learning revealed that this school year would not be the same as last quarter. The last quarter of school was an undemanding academic period of time in consideration of the countless circumstances students could be facing. Students’ grades from the third quarter were only able to increase and attendance was still taken simply to check in on students to confirm their wellbeing. It is understandable that there should be more rigor now, but increasing hours online proved to be more exhausting and unhealthy than considered.
Prior to the start of the school year on Aug. 13, staff members worked tirelessly to establish how they could efficiently make distance learning effective in regards to the various home situations every student may be experiencing. Nonetheless, teachers are facing the expected difficulties and complexities of giving quality instruction to students through Google Classroom and video sessions. Every day, teachers work overtime to figure out ways to accommodate this heavy schedule.
At the moment, RUSD’s distance learning schedule is the same for each weekday: one 50 minute class period and five 45-minute class periods separated by five-minute passing periods and a thirty-minute lunch break. This schedule does not adequately account for the excessive amount of time teachers and students are spending staring at their screens and sitting each day nor permit enough break time to use the restroom or perform any movement to stretch before the next class.
Redlands High School sophomore Kayleen Lim said, “Five-minute ‘passing’ periods are not enough to smoothly transition our minds from one period to the next. I’ve even heard teachers say this with their own mouths. The teachers know the schedule is really inadequate.”
A block schedule should be implemented in exchange for this current schedule. With a block schedule, students would have three classes each day for four days each week in which each class consists of one hour periods or blocks. The other day would essentially be a checkup day with twenty-minute class periods for teachers to answer any questions or go over anything quickly preceding a twenty-minute screen time break before the next class.
With one hour blocks, teachers would be presented with the opportunity to provide instruction in the first half of class and then assign independent, screen-free classwork for the student to do offline in the second half of class.
The primary goal of executing a block schedule is to reduce the amount of time students and teachers are spending on the computer. According to Aaptiv, an online health and fitness magazine, excessive time spent staring at a screen can cause eye strain, sleep disorders, headaches, depression, and an increased risk of obesity.
Yucaipa High School applied block as their distance learning schedule this school year. Each day, school starts at 9 a.m., and students are finished with online instruction at 12:30 p.m.
Redlands East Valley junior Jamil Mouri said, “I believe that the distance learning format that is currently being employed by our school is ineffective because it does not permit teachers with enough time to finish lessons, testing is much harder due to the shorter class periods, and students are spending roughly 6 hrs in front of a screen, not including the amount of time [they have] to spend on homework.”
“Overall, schools should employ a block schedule at some point in the week whether it be on Wednesday and Thursday or Thursday and Friday. In my opinion, Thursday and Friday would work the best because teachers then are able to test the students for longer periods,” continues Mouri. “The block would allow for students to get the help they need and ask questions instead of being forced to suffer in silence due to the time restraint over six periods a day.”
Dr. Michelle Stover, Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher at Citrus Valley High School said, “Yes, I do believe the current DL schedule can be improved to ensure the well being of students and teachers. A five-minute break is not sufficient to transition from one class to another, to take a break to go to the restroom, or to simply unwind after a 45-minute lesson.”
“Being a science teacher, block schedule works really well for a lab, activity, demo or just to have time to transition from screen to real-time with students having hand-on applications, such as being on their own, researching or doing work online, with or without teacher supervision,” said Stover. “It depends on the student because some work better alone or some work well with the teacher’s assistance. It should be teacher discretion as long as the content is reached and deadlines are met by the students. Another, a block schedule will limit the daily attendance and video recording a teacher has to do on top of all the other juggling around teaching technology and content among others.”
On the other hand, others would prefer to have all of their classes each day, but with extended passing period breaks.
RHS sophomore Emma Wuysang said, “The only thing I would like to have changed is the spacing between classes and a longer lunchtime. I feel like block scheduling could be helpful but I would rather take all of my classes.”
However, having more time during breaks and lunch would result in a lengthier school day unless some of the student support time is sacrificed. This doesn’t communicate the reality that having such a long school day has already created problems, therefore, increasing the length of a school day makes the issue worse and is not an ideal choice.
RUSD has decided to change the current distance schedule to permit more time during passing period but neglects the notion of changing to block or allowing more time during lunch. The new schedule results in the school day is lengthened by twelve minutes.
This was the new schedule for Citrus Valley, Redlands East Valley, and Redlands High School effective starting Aug. 31.
The revised schedule includes eight-minute passing periods instead of five, which will alleviate stress with a longer break to use the restroom or get a quick snack. Oftentimes, when classes accidentally run late, even by a mere two minutes, students and teachers feel pressured to log into their next class with no break time available to ensure they are on time. Thanks to these longer passing periods, even if a class period does run a bit late, students and teachers won’t feel as much pressure to have to log into their next class right away.
However, this revised schedule takes away time from the student support window after school. Student support is pivotal in providing extra help for students who need it, especially now when students aren’t able to be on campus. Before, the student support period was one hour long, but it now spans forty minutes.
Reduce time online.
Easier to absorb information in chunks.
Shorter school day.
Realistic breaks give time to move, rest eyes, and use the restroom.
Unlimited lunchtime accounts for family responsibilities.
These lyrics are taken from, “Dear America,” the newest song released by Amira Marshall, a sixteen-year-old junior at Redlands High School.
Known artistically as Amira Monet, her music is available on all streaming platforms.
Marshall attends Redlands High School as a junior. At school, she is a part of wind ensemble and is also athletically involved in varsity golf, JV basketball, and track and field. These activities help her to keep more focused during the school year, although it can be a struggle to make time for music then.
“Making music can be draining at times. It takes a lot of time and energy to write and produce a song I’m satisfied with,” said Marshall. “During the year school consumes most of my time, but I try to make music whenever or wherever I can.
Marshall’s passion for music has always existed and recalls that her first exposure to music was in elementary school when she joined band there. As she got older, she became interested in producing music that would allow her the freedom to write.
“I started out using my iPhone and GarageBand to make my very first songs,” Marshall said. “I always kept my interest in producing music a secret because it’s a very personal thing for me and I don’t always love to share my work.”
In 2018, Marshall released her first song, called “Read,” which she recounts was about middle school drama.
“I didn’t expect such a positive response to the song, because it was really just for fun, but it inspired me to go on to make a song called ‘Sorry’ which I released later that year.”
Rapper Mac Miller serves as Marshall’s greatest inspiration in continuing her music. She recognizes and admires his talent as an artist who created masterpieces and is especially fond of his albums, “Swimming” and “GO:OD AM.”
Marshall said, “I loved how Miller used a variety of instruments and sounds to create his songs. He was so versatile with his music, he could create a modern hip hop track but also tie in nostalgic jazz sounds.”
Marshall continues, “An important saying I live by is ‘Keep your eyes to the sky never glued to your shoes [by Mac Miller].’”
When she was first starting out, Marshall first began creating songs with her phone and a pair of Apple earbuds. Through her years of improvement, she has purchased more advanced equipment.
“Today I use my computer, music software called Ableton, a microphone from Apogee, the Komplete Kontrol M32 from Native Instruments, and a basic pair of mixing headphones,” Marshall said. She adds, “However equipment is not everything, anyone can start out with what they already have.”
Amira Marshall’s current home studio is shown as of Sept. 7. Marshall uses the Komplete Kontrol M32 from Native Instruments which serves as a micro keyboard controller, a microphone from Apogee, the music software Ableton, and a pair of mixing headphones to produce her music. (Courtesy of Amira Marshall)
As she starts the process of creating a new song, Marshall first makes a beat that matches the mood she wants to achieve. Secondly, she composes lyrics for the message that she wants to send or for the idea she has. Then, she revises and works on the beat and after the beat is finalized, she generally collaborates with her good friend Grace Sanchez to get some feedback on the lyrics.
After the lyrics are established, she will record in her at-home studio setup and assemble everything together, which is the step that is typically the quickest to complete. Once the song is mixed and complete, Marshall will then send it to streaming services.
“It may sound pretty quick and simple, but it can be a long and tiring experience, but it’s the best feeling when I hear the final result,” Marshall said.
Marshall’s newest song, “Dear America,” was released on July 15.
Originally, she did not have intentions to create this song thinking there was no need to and that it wouldn’t have much of an impact.
“However, it was not until some people I knew began to politicize the Black Lives Matter movement,” Marshall said. “I was so angered and saddened that anyone could think such a thing. I wrote Dear America so people could see that the movement is about systemic oppression, white supremacy, and racism, not politics.”
Writing “Dear America,” came fairly naturally for Marshall due to the unjust instances of police brutality prevalent in America, such as the killing of Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In total, writing “Dear America” took Marshall about four weeks to finish.
Amira Marshall’s album cover for her song “Dear America,” is shown above. “Dear America,” was publicly released on July 15. (Courtesy of Amira Marshall)
The album cover was chosen to symbolize how much systemic oppression deeply affects the lives of people of color.
“In some places in America people of color are set up to fail. They are born into poverty and crime-ridden neighborhoods where getting involved in crime is easier. They go to schools that simply do not have enough resources for them to succeed. They live in places that are being over-policed. They have parents addicted to drugs or no parents at all. People of color have almost all of the odds against them and have to work so hard to succeed just because of their skin color. Even though blatant racism is not as prevalent today, it has infested all of our systems in America. From education to criminal justice, and in workplace environments. Most times it goes unnoticed because as Americans we are used to things being this way. There are too many instances of police abusing their power against people of color and walking away with few or most times no consequences. Systemic oppression has been almost normalized in America for generations. Overall, the album cover represents the magnitude of people affected by systemic oppression. It affects everyone of every age, even young children. It is important to realize this so that change can happen to create a better America for further generations.”
– Amira Marshall
“Black bodies, their children. Life cut short. By the blue man with the gun.”
This quote from “Dear America,” resonated most with Marshall, because she recognizes and values the life and family that Tamir Rice, Eric Gardener, and George Floyd had.
“They were people with a life and family. They were not objects or chess pieces for a game, they were real people,” Marshall said. “Being a police officer is a choice, being Black is not.”
Through this song, Marshall hopes to convey the message that people of color have had a long stretch of mistreatment in a society that claims is already fair, therefore, change must be brought about immediately.
“My main goal for this song was not to have it blow up or for it to be loved by all my friends and family,” said Marshall.
“I want the person who thinks Blacks Lives Matter is political, to hear this song. I want the person who is a Trump supporter to hear this song. I want this song to resonate with someone who needs it. I want to open the minds of those who are closed-minded and help them see that this is a moral issue, not a political one.
Marshall’s main goal as an artist is to bring people closer together.
She is grateful for the continuous and overwhelming support her family and friends give her and her music.
“I am so grateful for my friends, they have always supported my music and always hype me up and promote my music through social media,” Marshall said. “I am very blessed that my friend has always supported me and music. I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing individuals. Shoutout to Callie and Grace for being amazing and supportive friends.”
Although she has a passion and love for music, her true passion lies in medicine. Marshall aspires to attend college to become a doctor.
“I think that medicine and biology are the best combinations of math, science, and English, and it is such a rewarding profession,” Marshall said. “I am not entirely set on a specialty I want to pursue, but right now I am planning to study Epidemiology.”
In terms of upcoming projects, Marshall does have projects currently in the making that will likely be released later this year if everything goes as planned.
Marshall’s music is available on all streaming platforms, such as Apple Music, Youtube, and Amazon Music.
As the Redlands Unified School District enters its sixth week of distance-learning for the 2020-21 school year, students, staff, parents and community members are adjusting to a new way of learning and educating.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state mandates, the district made the shift to starting the school year with 100% online learning for students and staff alike.
There are new specific schedules for each of the different levels within the district: elementary, middle, and high school.
Elementary students complete the school day by 1:30 pm. Elementary school online meetings scheduled for kindergarten through fifth grade specifically accommodate for extracurricular programs, such as the Coding Club.
Middle schools are operating on a rotating block schedule ending at 2:05 pm. Considerations to accommodate choir, the Associated Student Body, yearbook and sport electives were included.
High schools have a traditional six-period day that ends at 2:12 pm. The district has also added seventh period or support time where students can get help from their teachers after the school day is over.
New resources have also been made available such as information on the “Grab and Go” meal programs for families who may rely on school provided lunches. All of the specifics are outlined on the RUSD website.
Although not being allowed to have students on campus is unlike anything that the majority of teachers have experienced prior to March of 2020, many are working to make the necessary adjustments so that students can still receive a high quality education virtually.
Pamela Holcombe, an English teacher at Redlands East Valley, says “We do the best we can. My word for the year is grace. I need to show it to my students. Distractions are different at home than they are at school.”
Featured above is history teacher and Redlands Teacher Association representative Brent William’s classroom on the Citrus Valley High School campus, modified with an extra chrome book for distance learning. Many teachers are using two computers to present content and monitor students in zoom or google meet sessions more efficiently. (Photos courtesy of Brent Williams)
Featured above is the teaching space of Citrus Valley High School teacher Danielle Kinder, designed specifically to accommodate teaching from home. Kinder teaches AP European History and finds creative ways to deliver rigorous content through the screen. (Photos courtesy of Danielle Kinder)
Rhonda Fouch, a physical education teacher and the girls athletic director at REV, says “[distance learning] is challenging, and there’s lots of computer screen time for kids and teachers.”
Laura Brown, another English teacher at REV, says, “It’s a lot harder. I work so many more hours trying to anticipate what I need to show visually, things I do automatically in person. I need to prepare differently because most students are visual learners.”
Chad Golob, a math teacher at REV, says “distance-learning is not as effective with the majority of my students . . .I’m pretty much sticking to the way I’ve always taught, as I don’t believe that more technology is necessarily a good thing.”
Featured above is history teacher and Link Crew advisor, Becky Buyak’s, classroom on the Redlands East Valley High School campus, modified with an extra webcam for distance learning. Provided with the choice, some teachers are opting to work from their classrooms on campus with no students, and connect with their students who are at home. (Photo courtesy of Becky Buyak.)
The students are also working to get accustomed to a totally new way of learning and being taught material. For freshman, distance learning has been their introduction to high school.
“Distance learning is harder than normal school for me because it’s harder for me to focus, and sitting in front of a screen for a long period of time is not easy,” says Gianna Benash, a freshman at REV, “Also, the work being provided is hard to do because the teachers have a hard time explaining the work.”
Riley Simmons, a freshman at REV, says, “As an incoming freshman, a lot is new for me. It seems this year I’m having a lot more work than I used to.”
Issues of ensuring that the mental health of students and staff are accounted for during these stressful times have also come to light.
In regards to mental health, Aidyn Barbosa, a freshman at REV, says “Distance learning has made it worse. I’m not going to lie. I mean, I had bad mental health previously but this just made it a lot worse.”
Dylan Clark, a freshman at REV, says distance learning has impacted his mental health “a bit, because I’m isolated from everyone. It just gets lonely sometimes.”
Nevertheless, students are finding new ways to cope with the current situation and keeping themselves occupied from home.
Riley Simmons, a freshman at REV, says that after school, “depending on the day of the week, I’m doing homework or going to soccer practice.”
While some are taking the more traditional route in staying motivated and organized with new school workloads, others are taking a more unconventional approach.
“Bang energy drinks help me stay awake during class,” says Will VanDyke, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School.
Ultimately, this school year has brought with it a lot of change and, in return, challenges. The members of RUSD continue to adjust and adapt, using a variety of communication tools to keep students and families updated on changes and announcements as they arise.
Superintendent of the Redlands Unified School District, Mauricio Arellano, released a statement on the evening of April 27 that recounts the steps that the district has taken to adjust to quarantine life as well as some exciting news for Redlands seniors.
In this letter, Arellano said, “we continue to keep our students of the Senior Class of 2020 at the forefront of every discussion we have” and, following the reassurance that a formal graduation will take place once laws permit, he announced that all RUSD seniors will receive yearbooks for free.
According to Citrus Valley High School’s yearbook advisor, Jennifer Moon, the organization had to ensure that the printers could print enough copies, and those are currently being worked on.
Refunds for pre-orders and other details regarding senior activities will be communicated with families in the near future.
As millions of high school students across the world enter into a new phase of education during the pandemic that is solely reliant on distant learning, obvious struggles begin to arise as organization flies out the window. Productivity seems more impossible than ever when students have now been given the option to do all their school work in their pajamas and in bed.
Some students may thrive under a more loosely structured education. For example, those who personally decide to transition into homeschooling or online learning. However, any high schoolers that have been going to school five days a week and eight hours a day since they were five or six; struggle without the schedule and structure that attending school provides.
Redlands Unified School district has been out of school since March 13 and began distance learning on April 13. This means that by this point, all students within the district have had at least one week of attempting to find a way to learn from their homes. While some have had even longer, as many Advanced Placement courses began reviewing for their modified exams once spring break concluded.
Now that the “trial period” of distance learning has been completed, many teachers and students have settled into a schedule and figured out what is going to work for them.
Skylar Watson, a junior at Redlands East Valley, is currently enrolled in three AP classes.
She is taking a third year of a forgeign language, an honors math class, and an art elective. Watson said that “forcing myself to wake up at a normal time in the morning, setting aside designated time for each class everyday and making sure I get outside at least once a day to give myself breaks in between my school work has kept me surprisingly productive during quarantine.”
Nonetheless, some students do not have their school work as organized as Watson. There is a great transition from simply a few hours of work a day to around five hours a day.
It is extremely important to create an organizational system that works to log the classes a student will have throughout the week. For example students can make a poster, fill out an agenda, a computer calendar system, and even a Post It schedule to log the classes they will need to attend throughout the week. Writing out all of the virtual classes and their scheduled times will take away some of the stress and risk that would come if all of that information was expected to be memorized.
As far as completing the work that is assigned during these virtual lessons goes, dedicating specific time blocks throughout the day will help all of the work feel less daunting. If one hour work blocks are scheduled throughout the day and are complete with breaks for meals, outdoor exercise, or hobbies, the workload can get accomplished without too much stress.
Other tips for finding success in the new world of distance learning include setting up the notifications of important applications such as the school email, google classroom, and Aeries. This way it is less likely that any important announcements or assignments will be missed.
Students should also participate in the teachers’ dedicated office hours in the classes where they normally struggle to make sure they don’t get behind or confused on the work that is assigned.
Staying productive during quarantine is not limited to only staying organized academically. It also involves keeping important aspects of students’ life healthy such as fitness, mental health, and relationships with friends and family.
Making sure that students are able to find ways to still participate in the activities they loved before the pandemic is essential in making sure that their time is as enjoyable and tolerable as possible.
Though this difficult situation has presented students with countless new challenges, high schoolers have proven to be resilient. They have still been able to be productive, organized, and make the best out of their situation. Through the use of organizational systems, notification set ups, and digital social interaction methods, students today have been able to continue getting their education in a new way. It is true that this situation is much different than any that these students have ever encountered in the past but the ways that they have overcome the current adversity should give everyone hope for the future.
On February 28, students of all grades from Citrus Valley High School, eAcademy, Grove High School, Orangewood High School, Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands High School and RISE Program will attend a multi-school, multi-stage dance called Genesis held at the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center.
The dance will not only include multiple dance floors with several DJs, but also activities such as rock climbing, karaoke, arcade games, human foosball, caricatures and a chill lounge that are all fully included with the ticket purchase.
Genesis’s doors will open at 7 p.m. however lines are expected and the dance will conclude at 11 p.m.
Before purchasing a ticket, students must turn in an additional waiver with the standard dance permission slips. This waiver allows students to participate in the rock climbing activities.
The dress code for the dance is casual attire, however the school dress code still applies. Students are encouraged to dress warmly or in layers as the event has activities both indoors and outdoors.
Students will be able to enter the dance by showing their student ID at the entrance as it will serve as their ticket. Re-entry to the dance once outside the doors will not be permitted.
This event that includes all of the RUSD schools is traditionally held once a year. However, it was not held the previous 2018-2019 school year, therefore this 2019-2020 school year is the dance’s comeback year.
Elementary students practiced for their performance in the upcoming Christmas Parade at Citrus Valley High School on Nov. 22. These students will showcase all their hard work at the annual Redlands Christmas parade, which will take place on Dec. 7 in Downtown Redlands.
Citrus Valley band members worked with the elementary students to master their varied instruments through fun and interactive exercises. The elementary band practiced their marching on the Robert J. Hodges stadium track with the help of Citrus Valley’s marching band drumline.
After the long day of work, the kids were treated to a performance of the marching band’s current field show.
Devin Henderson, Musical Specialist Band Assistant, leads the Redlands Unified School elementary band practice at Citrus Valley High School on Nov. 22, 2019. The students were rehearsing for the annual Redlands Christmas parade performance. (Maggie Snavely/ Ethic Photo)
Devin Henderson, Musical Specialist Band Assistant, leads the Redlands Unified School elementary band practice at Citrus Valley High School on Nov. 22, 2019. (Maggie Snavely/ Ethic Photo)
Kaelyn Henderson, Musical Specialist Band Assistant, assists the Redlands Unified School elementary band practice at Citrus Valley High School on Nov. 22, 2019. (Maggie Snavely/ Ethic Photo)
During the 2019-2020 academic school year, the Redlands Unified School District has made several significant changes. Arguably some of the most beneficial of these changes came with the district’s agreement with the College Board organization.
Redlands East Valley High School specifically, will be offering 20 AP courses and exams for students, ranging in topics anywhere from AP Computer Science Principles to AP US Government. The most impressive fact about the available AP courses on Redland’s campuses actually comes down to their price tag.
In past years, the average cost to take an AP exam was $25 if a student was enrolled in the course. This price, though it might not seem outrageous to all, added up quickly for many students. To put this into perspective, some students take up to five or six AP courses per year.
Financial aid is also provided at the high schools within the district. According the Shana Delmocio, a guidance counselor at REV, “There are fee waivers that students could fill out and then have this year and every student enrolled in AP courses will only have to pay $5 per exam. Students not enrolled in the course will still have to pay the $94 if they would like to take the exam.”
From the perspective of a junior in high school, this seems like an amazing opportunity to alleviate the financial stress that was previously related to taking an AP course. This reduced price equalized the playing field, allowing every student to have the same chance at getting the best education they possibly can in the four years they spend in high school.
When questioned on her opinion of the price reductions, Skylar Watson, a junior at REV who is taking three AP courses this year, said “I think it is really amazing and inclusive that the district has made the cost of the tests more affordable because it is really important that every student has the opportunity to take every course that is accessible to them.”
Although there have been overall extremely positive changes made this year, there is one topic that seems to create some controversy.
Delmonico said that RUSD has offered free PSAT exams in October for students in grades 8-11, and the SAT exams for seniors, since the 2017-21018 school year. The ability to take these exams for free can play a major role in students’ academic careers after high school, yielding many benefits. What doesn’t seem to be the most beneficial, though, is not allowing juniors to opt into taking the SAT during the October testing date.
For many juniors in high school, they are beginning to think about life after high school, whether that entails attending college, entering the workforce, or joining the military. For many students the SAT is a large part in their college decision process, and if the RUSD is focused on providing the best possible academic environment to set up students success after they graduate, then providing multiple free SAT exams throughout all of junior and senior year is the first big step.
If a student is enrolled in RUSD from eighth grade on, they will take the PSAT for free four times but only get two free SAT exams. Although the PSAT does provide an opportunity for some students to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, overall an additional free SAT seems much more beneficial to the majority of the students enrolled in the district.
According to the National Merit Scholarship organization, “Of the 1.6 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.” Then, of those 50,000 students, only approximately 15,000 of those students become finalists.
Currently, the National Merit Scholarship Program does not allow entrances into the program from students who are not juniors. The organization stated that “although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.”
When asked about her thoughts on the opportunity to take the SAT as junior twice instead of once, Tejazvi Gopalan, a sophomore at REV said, “ I think it would be great to get some experience with the actual SAT test because then I would be able to take the whole test including the essay to get a better understanding of the test”. She then said “ it would also help to be fully prepared going into senior year with one more SAT under your belt so that you can learn and improve.”
Students are more eager than ever to focus on their future and to prepare themselves for college or career. Therefore, students should be able to take the PSAT/NMSQT exam their sophomore year and have a chance to qualify for the program. Then junior year, the majority of students who did not qualify can then opt to take the SAT instead on the October testing date. The district could offer the opportunity for juniors to take the PSAT/NMSQT test again if they are interested.
If this new process of SAT and PSAT testing was put in place, it could satisfy the needs of a large population of high school students in the district. It would eliminate one additional preliminary SAT exam for students, giving them more opportunities to increase their score, which could have drastic effects on their college admissions experience.
Ultimately, there are always going to be different perspectives and therefore conflicting opinions when it comes to these topics. There are thousands of high school students currently enrolled in RUSD schools that spend months putting in hard work into AP level courses and studying hard for the SAT in order to have a brighter future. These students have strong opinions about their education system and the district should ensure that every student’s voice is heard when it comes to policies that directly affect them.
Application season is rapidly approaching high school seniors and the time to start thinking about colleges and universities has come. A popular fair called Historical Black College and University Fair concluded in September but will be back in February. Students in California prepare their personal statements, recommendations, and transcripts to hand out to different HBCUs. San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, Victor Valley, Fontana, and Rialto Unified School Districts all opened their schools to host the HBCU Fair. Students from these districts and surrounding districts, like Redlands Unified School District, who attended the fair in September also had the chance to apply for colleges and to get on the spot acceptance.
If students were not able to attend this year’s HBCU Fair, another will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 1, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The admission fee is eight dollars plus sales tax. Students have the ability to purchase tickets online or at the event. Top HBCU universities such as Howard University, Morehouse College, Hampton University and many more will be attending. Seniors are advised to dress professionally and to bring transcripts that include their Scholastic Aptitude Test or American College Test scores and teacher recommendations to apply for colleges or universities. Students who are not seniors in high school are also welcome to attend. The Black Expo gives opportunities for students to find out more information about colleges and universities in order to explore their options of going to an HBCU.
Students that attend the fair who have the appropriate Scholastic Aptitude Test or American College Testing scores and have acceptable grade point averages for that particular college will have an opportunity for acceptance to the school of their choice. The students will have the ability to join the seminars and workshops happening in the areas. Students still have a chance to visit over 50 universities or colleges nationwide. For more updates and the opportunity to buy tickets for Feb.visit https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/events/los-angeles.
The Black Expo event also offers a scholarship for those who choose to apply. The due date for this scholarship that pays for three to four years of college is January 13, 2020. The topic is “Why is a College Education Important to Me.” All entries must be typed, double spaced embedded in the email to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attachments). The email subject must be “First Name/Last name/year/which expo/scholarship”. The winner will be contacted by email and phone three days prior. The winner will be presented at the Black Expo in Feb. All information and details about the scholarship and the expo can be found at https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/students/scholarships.
The Redlands Unified School District’s college fair hosted over 25 private universities, 12 Cal State and UC campuses and five armed forces branches for their students to explore. (KELLY JOHNSTON/ La Plaza Photos)
Redlands High School hosted a district wide college fair on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The fair featured a multitude of campus representatives from all around the nation, with a range from San Bernardino Valley College to the University of East London and everything in between.
The event was coordinated in unison by the AVID and Career Center departments of all four Redlands Unified high school campuses.
Kari Hill, Citrus Valley’s Career Center adviser, spoke on the success of the event stating, “it was an outstanding night with a terrific turnout from over 60 colleges and representatives from all over the US, all of whom are anxious to admit new students.”
This event preceded a district wide college month that will run throughout October and feature college related events, programs and opportunities all the way until Halloween.
These events and similar future ones have been coordinated with the hope to give students easier access to financial aid, information about applications and admissions officials, as well as a way to get in contact with the campuses students are interested in.
Citrus Valley’s AVID Coordinator, Sarah Keller, explained that, “our college fair is always a great opportunity for students to learn about the options they have after high school.”
Grammarly is a free-to-use website that was made to fix any document for proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structures. The site also gives better synonyms to use for words that do not fit the subject of the text.
Even though it can do everything from spell checking to word choice, it cannot be used to its fullest potential without the premium version of the application. However, some will not go the extra mile to pay $20 every month for it.
Well, you’re in luck! If you recall, on April 2019, all students should have received an announcement through Gmail that revealed “the good people at Redlands Unified School District have partnered with [Grammarly] to offer their members a premium account.” This is a big deal and should be taken advantage of by every student, as Grammarly can be used as a website or downloaded as a software.
This rare opportunity gives students access to premium features, such as thorough descriptions of why a sentence fragment is incorrect. The writer can choose their intended writing style so Grammarly can edit the text efficiently and vocabulary enhancement suggests alternatives for overused terms. As a bonus, Grammarly can also run a plagiarism check, which searches over a billion pages across the web to see if your text has been used in other works.
For those who enjoy sprinkling unique words in their text, Grammarly compares your writing with other users to score your vocabulary and legibility. All it takes is an account registration and students can start writing and editing like a pro. To make things easier, click on ‘Continue with Google’ to speed-up the process when logging in for the first time. Remember to sign in with your school email, as the premium accounts have been given to those specifically.
Speaking of email, Grammarly sends you a “Weekly Writing Update” to show your progress and level of productivity on the site. The weekly update also shows your top three mistakes overall and gives you information that can help fix those mistakes.
Opportunities like this should not be brushed off. Grammarly is a must-have writing tool that joins the ranks of academic sites that are used because of their effectiveness and reliability such as Quizlet, Vocabulary and Khan Academy. Grammarly is a trump card that every student should utilize and Grammarly will help them strive to become competent and engaging writers on their own.
With US News recording more than 20,500 public high schools in the United States, it’s no wonder that there are various ways to schedule the average school day. However, matters become complicated when other factors, such as graduation credit requirements, electives, and AP courses, begin to draw the line between the classes students want to take and the classes that their schedules allow them to take. These common issues have challenged guidance counselors across the country every school year, resulting in school schedules being constantly in flux or under revision in the hopes of maximizing the time of the students and staff alike.
From the perspective of a newcomer not yet fully accustomed to all the idiosyncrasies of the Redlands Unified School District system, there are major changes that need to be made to the Redlands East Valley High School scheduling system. More specifically, there needs to be a shift to 4×4 or A/B Day schedule. High schools within the RUSD would benefit enormously from switching to this schedule as it will open up students’ schedules, reduce the need for summer school, increase teachers’ planning time and encourage creative ways to educate.
Currently, REV is following a version of the block schedule, with Monday and Friday consisting of six classes and late-start day on Tuesday. On Wednesday, students experience periods one, three and five for two-hour blocks; on Thursday, students attend periods two, four and six in a similar fashion. On these block days, students with a C or higher and the teacher’s permission may leave at the end of a block period for “intervention,” a thirty-minute break at the end of class.
Meanwhile, the 4×4 or A/B Day schedule consists of a total of eight classes divided over two days. The “A-Day” is the first day of the rotation and includes four of the students’ classes with an hour break in the middle of the day that is then divided into two thirty-minute periods—one for eating and the other for meeting with teachers, socializing or participating in club activities. This lunch plan allows for fewer people to occupy the eating spaces on campus during lunch, thus giving more students an opportunity to sit and eat comfortably rather than balance on ledges or staircases. The group of students not eating will be assigned to a classroom that changes throughout the year which will give them a “unit-lunch” and a chance to catch up on homework or meet for extracurriculars without having to give up their lunch. The “B-day” rotation would entail the same routine except with the four other classes in a student’s schedule and the unit-lunch block occurring after the second class.
Although this idea may seem unnatural or inconvenient during the initial stages, it will ultimately serve to benefit the students and the school’s staff. The most important improvement that will be made is that students will be able to fit more classes in the year, reducing the need for summer school. In the absence of summer school, students are able to truly take a break and prepare for the year ahead without the stress of cramming a whole year’s worth of learning into a few weeks.
This new approach to the normal school day evidently will allow for longer classes. From a 57 minute class to an 84-minute class, this additional time enables students to fully immerse themselves in that specific class or subject. According to the National Education Association, the 4×4 scheduling allows “students [to] have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day” and “with the increased span of teaching time, longer cooperative learning activities can be completed in one class period.” Moreover, the American Association of School Administrators has asserted that “consistent evidence shows that students’ grades improve and the number of students on the honor roll increases” when the 4×4 schedule is implemented in a school.
In a survey done among REV and Citrus Valley High School students regarding their opinion on making the switch to this type, the students expressed mixed opinions. Although the majority of students, about 61.1%, said that they would vote in favor of this school day, the other 38.9% of students disagreed and brought up valid concerns. Maggie Snavely, a freshman at Citrus Valley, argued that “if a student takes several AP courses, they may still be overwhelmed with commitments and overlapping test dates, which would not allow for effective studying or being able to retain the information presented.” Mia Delmonico, a junior at REVHS, expressed she does not believe that this schedule would work for her school. She believes that “many students do not need to be in class for an eighty minute period to fully engage in their learning environment,” adding that the extended class periods would be counterproductive as many feel that it is already difficult to stay focused with current class times. Delmonico also raises pressing concerns about the currently attending students. She points out that “most students already exceed the number of credits needed without even taking six classes a semester.”
Although these concerns are valid, there are ready solutions to most of them. Firstly, not all eight classes would have to be AP or honors level courses. There are a variety of electives that could be taken by current students, who have tried to jam as many AP courses into their schedules by taking summer courses and not concerning themselves with non-weighted classes that could lower their GPA. These open blocks in their schedules could be filled with life-skills classes, such as culinary, home EC or other courses that could really better prepare students for independent living and adult life.
For many students, grades control every aspect of their lives, and a switch to an A/B Day schedule might make some take classes that are not weighted, which would consequently lower their GPA. For a substantial number of students at REV and Citrus Valley, this could become a major concern. However, there is a possible solution to this weighted issue: limit the number of AP courses that can be taken in one school year. This limit could be placed reasonably, such as at six. A maximum of six AP classes in a schedule means that future students can take just as many AP’s as currently enrolled students, and an even playing field for GPAs can be reached. Then, with those two other open schedule slots, students may take life-skills classes or electives of their choice. To address the students who still feel that six AP classes are not enough, there still are programs, such as dual-enrollment, offered at nearby universities and community colleges. Thus, the shift to an A/B Day schedule can be modified to maintain students’ GPAs while still giving them the opportunity to pursue other interests or take even more rigorous courses should they wish to do so.
In a few years, after the current students that have attended the school prior to the schedule shift have graduated, the issue of students have already completed their required credits will no longer exist. The new generations of students will receive a more balanced high school experience as they will finally have enough space in their schedules to take courses that encourage diverse, unconventional student interests and talents such as the arts, videography classes or creative writing. Furthermore, this scheduling could also be utilized for preparatory classes for the PSAT, SAT, ACT and all those other dreaded acronyms. In all, this new schedule will not overwhelm students with unbearable workloads or leave current classes with dead time as it may be initially perceived. On the contrary, it may just do the exact opposite.
Longer periods allow classes to be far more interactive as teachers will be given more time to work on creating engaging lesson plans that effectively convey curriculum material. In a New York Times article, Debra Nussbaum speaks with several principals from across the country and discovers that they have similar opinions on the implementation of longer classes. These principals all expressed hope that ”this schedule can empower teachers to do certain things that you cannot do in forty-three minutes” and ”it empowers teachers to be more innovative and creative.”
Although changing up an old routine can be stressful for everyone at first, no progress can ever be made if we allow ourselves to stagnate. A shift in the school day schedule at the high schools of the Redlands Unified School District could be the catalyst needed to improve the quality of education for both current students and the many graduating classes to come.
Scholarships, business etiquette and being able to have professional conversations are all life skills an adult develops in the real working world, but what if they could have a guiding hand in the process and could start getting these experiences earlier on as a teenager. In Compact Club, students are given the opportunities to practice these skills at social events called mixers. Their most recent one was held on Nov. 13.
According to Maddy Skidmore, the co-president of Compact club at Citrus Valley, “A mixer is an opportunity for compact kids to socialize with adults and learn about their careers, which provides us with more insight on what our future career may be from people who have already been through the same field who can give us tips on how to get there.”
The mixer held on Nov. 13 had many different professionals from several different careers, ranging from Redlands police Chief Christopher R. Catren to representatives from mostly all the branches of the military. Students were exposed to professionals of various fields, and were able to ask them questions about their job and get advice about a future career in that occupation and adulthood.
“Mixers have taught me how to network, improve my social skills with adults and develop public speaking skills,” stated Itzel Nunez German, co-president of the Citrus Valley club for the past three years.
For many of the students at Citrus Valley, this mixer was their very first. “It was an amazing experience and the environment was very professional, yet welcoming, because you could just tell that the people present wanted to help you and give you advice for your future even if you were not going into the profession they were representing,” commented Grace Holle, a sophomore at Citrus Valley who experienced her first mixer.
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University found that youth who scored higher on social skills measurements were four times more likely to graduate from an undergraduate institution. The social skills the students in compact learn are critical for adulthood as they will be necessary for the future for achieving basic job success and independence.
However, this particular mixer stood out due to the location change, as for the first time it was held at CalWest Bank located in Redlands. Students were greeted at towering glass doors and then led into a conference room where they could set down their belongings and begin to network with the representatives. A scene change was not the only difference that the mixer held from previous years, as many new representatives from many new careers were also present.
In Compact Club at the beginning of the school year, members are encouraged to submit an essay called an MYG project, which stands for Multiple Your Generosity. The purpose of this essay is to explain how a student would give back to the community if they were given 100 dollars, and students who won were granted 100 dollars. They must then follow through with the proposal in order to win a scholarship worth 500 or 1000 dollars. The project helps teach students to give back to the local community and how to network. The essays were to be submitted in early November, and at the Nov. 13 mixer, the winners of the proposals were announced. There were 11 submissions between Redlands High School, Redlands East Valley, and Citrus Valley compact club members, and all submissions were granted.
Compact Club can be found at all three Redlands School District high schools, and mixers are where all members from all schools can come together to talk to adults who are representing their profession and willing to give advice about their careers and the future and create lasting connections.
AVID and the Career Centerare hosting a district-wide College and Career Week from Oct. 8-12. Throughout the week many activities, such as workshops, spirit days, field trips and presentations will take place in middle school and high school campuses within the Redlands Unified School District.
Denise Luna, an AVID sophomore student, stated, “College week is to show [students] the college experience and to see their options. Give them an idea.”
On Monday, students participated in “Military Monday” by wearing camo or military gear. Teachers on campus shared their college journey during their classes. Juniors from Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley, and Redlands high schools attended a field trip together to Cal Baptist University and the University of California, Riverside. Seniors attended a senior kick-off college assembly during their 4th period and during lunch, all grades had the opportunity to take virtual college tours at the career centers.
On Tuesday, the spirit day theme is “On my way to an occupation.” Students participating in spirit week will be dressed in the clothing of their future careeer. REV counselors will be assisting students on creating FSA ID and college application accounts in the media center during government and economics classes. San Bernardino Valley College and the University of Redlands will be making a visit to RUSD high schools. Also, workshops will be held to apply to California State Universities.
Students who have pre-registered will have passes to attend either workshops or presentations. If students are not pre-registered, they must ask their teachers and it is the teacher’s decision to allow them to attend.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, students seventh to eleventh grade will be taking the PSAT, while twelve grade students will be taking the SAT. Due to spirit day, students will be able to test in their pajamas and schools will be having a modified minimum day.
Later on Wednesday evening, the RUSD College Fair will be held at Redlands High school Terrier Gym from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. At the fair, there will be over 65 colleges present, including Arizona State University, UC Berkeley, and the University of East London. The fair is open to all RUSD students and parents.
On Thursday, if needed, seniors will have the opportunity during classes to go to the media center and work on college applications. La Sierra and California Baptist University will be having a presentation for students, while Grand Canyon University and the University of La Verne will be doing on-the-spot admissions inside REV’s upstairs conference room, Citrus Valley’s career center, and RHS’s career center and student center. Thursday’s spirit day is “Time to Interview” and students will dress as if they were going to an interview.
Later on Thursday evening, at the Citrus Valley Blackhawk theater, an overview of college and career readiness in RUSD will be provided. This is to help families through the transition from middle school to high school or the transition toward a successful post-secondary college or career path from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Friday, students will be wearing their favorite college gear and seniors who signed-up will be visiting Crafton Hills College. A mini-college and career fair, sponsored by ROP, will be held during lunch. The fair will include vocational schools, community programs, and former AVID students.
Snow fell weekly on my middle school campus, but we never got a snow day. This, I reasoned, was a different kind of snow—not the icy, cold, fun-for-the-first-day-but-never-again kind of precipitation that Redlands never gets—but instead, it was something black, white and read all over: the school newspaper. This was a special snow, one that conveniently piled up next to trash cans both inside buildings and out. A snow that never melted, despite the lack of funding the program received through the school district. A snow I wished I was a part of.
However, cleanup was a huge problem for these sixth-period snowstorms. Printed on legal-sized sheets of printer paper, articles had easy-to-spot mistakes that only avid readers like me could find—those who lacked the enthusiasm to read would not even bother. Can anyone blame them? People—like electrons in a circuit—always gravitate towards a path of least resistance; when faced with the easily accessible internet, it is only natural that more will choose to use it.
With Ethic News, there is no snow. Our daily releases of student-written articles have no place in the dumpsters or recycling bins of Southern California. Unlike the newspapers of the last millennium, errors can be fixed in record time and articles can be posted in seconds without concern for printing costs. Because of the internet, school newspapers regularly impact real-world events at a real-time scale, and it’s this advantage that makes Ethic the poster-child of a technological revolution that will change student journalism forever. Our writers have proved and will prove that fully online news is an effective, significant way to educate and inform community members about issues that affect them—printers need not apply.
We are pioneers of this neo-digital age. I could not be prouder.
To our readers, I hope you can appreciate our efforts in making this happen. Starting an online, student-run and financially stable (still working on this part) newspaper is hard work, and your support and views mean the world to us.
To students of the Redlands Unified School District, I strongly recommend that you consider joining Ethic. Aside from seeing Lil Uzi Vert in concert, being a part of this organization is the most rewarding thing that I have done in my high school career. While the only thing I have to show for my time seeing Uzi is a dozen pictures of myself sweating in the parking lot of the Angels Stadium, the effort that has gone into making Ethic amazing is immortalized in hundreds of quality examples of student journalism that will remain on the internet forever.
To myself, a year ago, you made the right decision, but please work on talking on the phone before you start calling what seems like every small business in the city. Savor the time you have. It goes so much faster than you think.
To Lil Uzi Vert, call me back. We (I) would love to interview you.
On March 15, art students from Redlands High School, Redlands East Valley, and Citrus Valley High School got the privilege that only a field trip can afford: the ability to guiltlessly watch droves of fellow students trudge to first period knowing that for at least today, they are spared. With aching shoulders reveling in the absence of a book-laden backpack, this lucky group of students got to spend the morning in downtown Pasadena’s very own Norton-Simon Museum.
Prior to entering the expansive glass and umber tile compound, they were received by staff who shared the institution’s driving hope to be “a place to bring friends, family, and, hopefully one day, grandkids,” before handing the group off to guides to truly see what this “family museum” could offer. And offer it could. From the great Italian masters Botticelli and Raphael to Pablo Picasso and Van Gogh, Norton-Simon possesses not only a distinguished collection of European art but also a world-renowned collection of South and Southeast Asian art that shows off over 2,000 years of rich sculptural and painting traditions.
In all, it was enough for one to contemplate what a world of difference it is to see an artwork in person rather than as a collection of pixels on a screen. Understandably, it is vastly preferable to use the technological godsend that is Google instead of braving time and nerve killing traffic to visit places like the Getty, LACMA or even the Norton-Simon Museum. But with the advent of digital eye-tracking technology, researchers have been able to discern that those who view a piece digitally tend to focus more on the most striking, visually demanding elements and thus a smaller portion of the work. Those who view the original artwork, however, tend to dwell more thoroughly on detail, texture and the narrative itself by canvassing attention across the entire piece. The flat, glossy screens that have made entire galleries of art effortlessly accessible unfortunately also come with the price of a constrained point of view.
In a study conducted by UK-based researchers at the University of Leicester, it was found that the actual physical behavior of the viewer differs compared to when in an art gallery versus in a lab with the digital reproduction. At the gallery, “participants would alter their stance to adjust their viewing position or distance…the head tilt behavior was much more prominent than in the lab.” The participants were also prone to tilt their heads in the direction that would match the orientation of faces seen in the artwork, which the study concludes “would corroborate with previous research which suggests the pull for viewers to read figures’ faces and to see them the correct way up.” This instinctive human connection shows that while digital images can capture increasingly high details that the naked eye cannot see, they often lack the propensity to encourage the viewer to look further into the artwork; where leaning in at gallery will reveal brushstrokes and the texture, zooming into a picture will just reveal more pixels.
“It can hardly be argued,” Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas explained, “that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” But what about when students leave the schoolhouse gate? More specifically, when students across America and Redlands walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes on March 14 in support of the Parkland shooting victims, will their constitutional right to free speech remain? Answer: yes—with exceptions.
To begin with, schools—and those within them—are not the bastions of free discourse that Aristotle and Sophocles might have hoped. According to the oft-quoted ruling in landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines, students have a right to protest and to voice their opinions as long as it does not “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.” Alternatively, in the case of Morse v. Frederick, as long as a poster saying “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” is not close to school grounds.
Even though organizers of the March 14 walkout do not plan on rolling out provocative posters onto school campuses nationwide, students’ rights to free speech can still be limited by school officials. Though not as overt as suspending students, teachers can assign tests or quizzes during the time of the walkout, and school districts have the power to label participants as truants and punish them as such. But for Redlands East Valley principal Jennifer Murillo, the opportunity to learn from the walkout is much more valuable than punishing students for leaving school.
“It’s never our intent to block or prevent a student from leaving campus or participating in some sort of protest or walkout or march,” says Murillo, “but it would be our priority to make sure that kids are safe. At the end of the day, if we can learn something from these experiences and if we can learn something that’s going to make REV better or is going to make every student’s experience here at school better as a result of it, that’s the goal. I want to focus on what we can learn from it, not how kids are going to get penalized—that’s not the point of it. The point is, ‘what statement are you trying to make and how are you going to try to make things better?’”
In essence, while students who participate will not face behavioral consequences, they will still be responsible for any and all work missed during the 17 minutes of absence.
“One of the things we’ve expressed to teachers is that students are responsible for whatever they have missed. If teachers suddenly assign a pop quiz at that time, the students who have walked out will be accountable and responsible to make that up. They have to be given the opportunity to make it up, but they won’t be penalized,” Murillo said.
Principal Murillo stated, “I would hope that people would use this opportunity to reach out to those on campus that don’t have a place or don’t seem to fit in. We all know that we can walk through campus and see all of those people who are sitting alone. If we can use this as a chance for the student body to reach out to those people or help people realize that they do have a place here, that they do count and they are important, that’s how you as a school would honor the victims and the people who have suffered with the loss of their life. So often you hear about kids and the troubled past that they have or things that have happened in their life and if we can be proactive and if we can make everybody feel that this is their home and this is their safe place, I think that would be a positive thing to come out of it.”
Redlands Unified School District superintendent Mauricio Arellano agrees. “Our principals and staff are prepared to provide a safe environment for students,” he says. “Staff has been asked to ensure that if conversations and/or debates occur amongst the students, that they facilitate, model and ensure it is done in a respectful manner and it does not disrupt the school climate.”
Arellano continues. “In the curriculum of our history books we have read about the different components of our democracy and we learned many lessons about civics and government. This is an opportunity for students and staff to create a learning opportunity and learning experience.”
Whether or not students choose to participate in the walkout, the school district is prepared to make the event a safe, inclusive environment through which to share ideas. Students can rest assured that their efforts to honor the lives lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February will not be hindered by district personnel.
“In summary,” says Arellano, “our goal for Wednesday is to ensure students and staff safely continue with the rich educational program scheduled for students on that day all across the district and certainly to take a moment and think of the families, friends and educators who were affected in such a terrible manner.”
The Redlands Community Scholarship Foundation is a program that contributes over hundreds to thousands of dollars in scholarship money to qualified seniors from a large range of high schools within the Redlands community.
In order to receive a scholarship, students compete with others and apply to individual scholarships that apply to their qualifications, such as a minimum GPA and extracurricular involvement, and fill out a detailed application on their achievements. Mandatory for all applicants is a personal essay explaining their career goals and aspirations–some specific scholarships even require supplementary essays.
On the Redlands Community Scholarship site, it states, “LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. POSITIVELY NO EXCEPTIONS!” as a looming cloud over all the students attempting to submit their applications the night of February 1, the day before the deadline. However, students encountered online traffic on the homepage of the scholarship portal. Over 100 students were on the site attempting to finish their application at once which led to high traffic and waiting times.
Students stayed up all night to be able to submit their applications only to be greeted to a text reminder the following day: “Due to website problems, the Redlands Community Scholarship website will be available to students until Sunday, February 4th, at 3pm.”
Many reacted with frustration and anger, complaining that the website did not have problems but instead there were too many students on the portal attempting to finish their application the night before the deadline. Those who turned in their application on time view the extension as unfair, as applications cannot be revised after submission.
Monica Lopez, senior at Redlands East Valley, is unhappy with the extension. She claims that “people who weren’t going to apply because they didn’t make the deadline now have two extra days to get those scholarships” which only “increases the competition” for the punctual students.
Matthew Perez, senior at Redlands East Valley, responds that the foundation is “extending the time for people who procrastinate.”
Hailey Jahromi, senior at Redlands East Valley, voiced her opinion: “I feel that since they decided to change the deadline after explicitly stating that they would not under any circumstances accept anything past the deadline, than those who had already submitted their applications before the previous deadline should be able to reopen the application and alter it as they need.”
Lea Clark, senior at Redlands East Valley, confesses: “I’m very happy about it because it benefits me. I wasn’t going to turn it in originally but now I will. I do feel bad for the people who did turn it on time and were more productive. But do I feel so bad that I won’t turn in my application? No. This is great for me.” She claims, “Mass procrastination has never been more effective.”
Davis Dusick, senior at Redlands East Valley, revealed that he has “no issue with extending the deadline” even though he applied. “It just wouldn’t have been fair to those who couldn’t turn it in due to the site being down.”
The new, official deadline to submit an application to the Redlands Community Scholarship Foundation is 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4. The RCSF was unavailable to comment at the time of writing.
The Local Control and Accountability Plan is a critical part of California’s new Local Control Funding Formula. This new addition to California school districts is a measure that places additional funding for individual school districts in the hands of the community rather than state, county or district officials.
The Local Control Funding Formula, as defined by the California Department of Education, creates funding targets based on student characteristics and provides greater flexibility to use these funds to improve student outcomes. This most targets explicitly underperforming demographics, also known as the “unduplicated count.” These include groups such as low-socioeconomic households, English language learners, and foster youth. LCFF and LCAP dollars are intended to help these specific students, but if the student body composition of a given school district’s subgroup youth exceeds 55 percent–58 percent in the case of Redlands Unified–the funding’s impact can extend to those that do not fall directly under the LCFF definition.
The Redlands Unified School District has used the additional budget through the creation of programs such as the Redlands Ready Initiative. This provides free Scholastic Aptitude Tests for juniors, five-dollar Advanced Placement exams for high schoolers, dual enrollment courses with the local community college as well as other programs to prepare students for college and career pathways.
One of the pillars of LCFF is the local control within each school district. With that requirement, school districts formulate advisory committees composed of classified and certificated staff members, students and community members. This advisory board takes a hands-on approach by looking at all the data from the programs and determining if these newly funded paths to a better school environment are genuinely helping students. From there, recommendations are provided on a scale: Expansion, Maintain, Cut Back or Eliminate. These recommendations, as well as new ideas, are then presented to the school board.
While LCAP and LCFF are still in their infancy with the 2017-18 school year being only the fourth year in effect, the Redlands Unified School District has innovated with their LCAP Advisory Committee through an open willingness to suggestion–exemplified through their eagerness for comments and questions from committee members and the launch of the ThoughtExchange trial for the city of Redlands to participate in–as well as through inviting more and more members of the community each year.
This article is the first in a series of articles on the Local Control Accountability Plan and its effects on the Redlands Unified School District.
To the average high school junior, college is a possible pathway that can be very strenuous due to an near-impossible balance of football games, finals, college applications and activities.
However, for Delanie Howes, her college experience is only a 10-minute car ride away.
“I’m taking American Sign Language 102 and it’s amazing; the teacher is really great,” said Howes, a junior at Citrus Valley High School.
This is just one example of courses offered by “Jumpstart2college,” a recently created dual enrollment program that allows high school students like Howes take college-level courses like Arabic and Sociology at Redlands high schools with real Crafton Hills College professors for free.
“I thought taking ASL was something unique and different compared to taking Spanish or French in high school.” Adds Howes, “I didn’t know anyone going into the class but I’ve made a lot of new friends.” With the credits she earns with dual enrollment, Howes will most likely start college with advanced freshman standing.
The Dual Enrollment program is also an opportunity for students to learn more about subjects that high school environments do not typically offer. According to Redlands East Valley counselor Shana Delmonico, REV has never taught Arabic and American Sign Language during the regular school day, and neither has FIRET 101, or Fire Prevention Technology. “Jumpstart2college” offers all three courses for the spring semester.
“When the courses started,” Coordinator of College, Career and Special Programs Dr. Stephanie Lock said, “the course selection was based on what we, the educators at RUSD and Crafton Hills, thought would be of high-interest to a variety of students. Since that time, however, we have tried to be more purposeful in the course offerings by providing students a way to get a jumpstart on their general elective courses that would be required as part of a college program at a UC, CSU, or Community College.”
Students vote for which classes continue with the power of their presence: when there are not enough enrollees, the administration cancels them. This culling of courses allows for the best to survive. Introduction to Engineering was canceled due to lack of enrollment, though CV senior who took the class last year Jon Carlo Bibat wishes this would not have happened.
“I liked meeting other people in the class with similar interests. I liked the fact that by the end of the semester, everyone became really close friends. The field trips and guest speakers were also very interesting,” said Bibat.
His success in the class last year reaffirmed his decision to be an engineer after college and the class’ emphasis on materials science will give him a background for future internships and jobs that many applicants may lack. He hopes to attend a four-year university this fall.
Students who want to get a headstart on college but are not interested in the current courses offered have the opportunity to enroll as a Concurrent Enrollment student at Crafton Hills Community College but do not benefit from the free tuition and local classes that “Jumpstart2college” offers. REV junior Nga Nguyen is one such person.
“Depending on the class, I would definitely be motivated to take courses if they were offered via dual enrollment,” she said. “I’m currently taking Multivariable Calculus and have previously taken Linear Algebra at Crafton. There have been difficulties in registering for the classes and in transportation itself, so being able to go to familiar settings would be much more convenient and comfortable, especially since I can’t drive.”
Nguyen continues: “Going to the courses at Crafton always has an intimidating factor, considering some of the students are married and have kids and have already bought apartments and I’m not even an adult yet. Being with fellow high school students would make the environment more comfortable, as while being in a classroom of adults you are constantly reminded that you are different just by glancing around.”
To California State University San Bernardino, involvement in a dual enrollment program in high school “helps students stand out in the admissions process” and shows that “students are ready to succeed at the university level” and remarks admissions counselor Lucia Zarate. Good grades in these courses can lead to large amounts of savings. What would cost thousands to take at CSUSB can instead be completely free, and clever planning may even shave off up to “a year, or close to a year, of general elective courses” or could have students “be able to complete half of an associate’s degree while still in high school,” according to Dr. Lock.
“Either way,” she relates, “all of the courses count, at a minimum, for college elective credit, and students are able to receive that credit for free.” In comparison, Advanced Placement courses “may result in some college credit based on whether or not a student passes and whether or not the college accepts the credit,” leading to frustration and confusion when it is time to sign the tuition check at a four-year university.
Whether students consider the program as a path to an early college degree or as an opportunity to lower tuition, “Jumpstart2college” is a mutually beneficial partnership between RUSD and Crafton Hills College–something that school districts nationwide strive to emulate.
The “Jumpstart2college” program offers College Arabic II, Drawing I, American Sign Language II, Interpersonal Communication, Stress Management and Emotional Wellbeing, Fire Prevention Technology and Appreciation of American Popular Music for the spring 2018 semester. Classes started the week of Jan. 15 and will end in late May. Some courses like College Arabic II require a prerequisite of the first-semester class. For more information or to comment on course selection, please contact Dr. Stephanie Lock at email@example.com.
The Rose Bowl is always preceded by the Rose Parade. Likewise, Thanksgiving dinner cannot be eaten before watching the Macy’s Parade. Simply put, parades–and marching bands–are typically just a complement to central events like football games or clever marketing ploys.
But in the Redlands Christmas Parade, marching bands are the main attraction to the hundreds of bundled-up crowd members who line the streets of Downtown Redlands every year. Especially the elementary band.
“It definitely makes a presence because they’re the ‘big orange blob,’” Kathy Shanteler, mother of Redlands East Valley assistant drum major Renee Shanteler, said.
This orange blob–formally referred to as the Redlands Unified School District Elementary Band–is an integral part of the parade, and its effects are noticeable in the community.
“[My daughter] definitely got bit by the marching band bug and that’s why she kept it up all the way through. She wants to do it in college,” said Shanteler.
According to former Redlands East Valley director and current leader of the 340-strong elementary music program Adelle Glass, the band has taught thousands of students since its first parade close to the turn of the century. Each of those performers have experienced the rush of adrenaline and sense of accomplishment characteristic of performing in the Redlands Christmas Parade, something that the program prides itself on.
“It was really fun because we were able to show off the music we had just learned, which was not very much at that point” Redlands East Valley senior Taylor Gonzales says. She spent this year’s parade conducting the Marching Wildcats, one of her many jobs as the band’s head drum major. Like a large portion of her peers, she played “Go, Go, Go” and “Jingle Bells” with the elementary school band. This is her ninth year participating in the parade. “I’m going to miss being in the Christmas Parade. I’ve been doing this for so long and have made so many memories that shaped me into the person I am today.”
“Renee loved it,” Shanteler reminisced. “Back in those days, Mr. Apomadoc had the kids very excited and pumped up. They looked forward to the parade. They spent a couple of times practicing at Crafton Elementary. They would just march around the playground and keep time. Now, Mrs. Glass does it with assistants as well.”
To call the band a parade block is an understatement. Every year, hundreds of fourth and fifth graders flood the streets of Redlands like a torrent of christmas lights and valuable brass instruments. However, unlike regular the weather phenomenon, this is a flood that parents cheer for.
REV graduate and freshman at UCLA Aaron Goodman remembers his experiences in the parade fondly. “The drumline was pretty tiny in elementary school, so I felt pretty special, and being in the huge band was exciting. All of my friends were there,” he said. Despite the fact that “the block would tear and there would be three different tempos at the same time,” he “appreciated the quantity of people and the volume.”
The elementary school marching band is not expected to be perfect, but to many, its imperfections are what makes it so revered in the city’s culture.
“For kids that have only been playing their instruments for a couple of months and only get 15 minutes of instruction each week at school, they sound amazing. You can at least tell what the songs are. They’re going in the right direction,” Shanteler admits. “I have to say, for that amount of children, both Mr. Apomadoc and now Mrs. Glass do an amazing job keeping them very focused and organized.”
Every year, Glass invites high school percussionists–this year from Citrus Valley– to volunteer in the band’s drumline in order to bolster its ranks and improve cohesion.
“It was neat to see how we really sounded like when we were the same age as those playing in the band,” Goodman said. He frequently volunteered for Glass when he was in high school. “It made me optimistic to know that the talented kids who play in the band will grow up to sound as good as or better than my high school band.”
Organized into lines as askew as the Christmas hats on members’ heads, the elementary band will continue to instill a love of performance into thousands of children for years to come.
As for Glass, “It is very exciting to see them in their very first performance of this sort. I know what great things are to come later in our middle school and high school programs so I want to set them up for success in those programs.”
As hundreds of universities’ early decision deadlines loom, students across Redlands rush to put their finishing touches to their applications in time.
First pioneered by lower-tiered Ivy League schools in the late 20th century to prevent accepted students from attending schools like Harvard, this controversial feature promises higher chances of admission in exchange for being legally bound to matriculate and has spread to nearly every prestigious university in the nation–though some question its presence in America entirely.
Due to the binding nature of early decision, students are unable to compare financial aid packages from other colleges–something critics claim benefits the rich. However, with almost double the acceptance rate, many students are willing to take the risk.
Early decision applicants reserve the right to deny their acceptance if there is a clear, demonstrated financial hardship that would render the student unable to attend. However, this is hard to prove, and application submission fees are costly, preventing impoverished families from being able to make an informed decision on college.
Even with this potential criticism, universities still have good reason to take in early decision. A higher yield of matriculants mean less applicants to admit, which in turn leads to a lower acceptance rate altogether–directly correlated with higher rankings on USNews.com and other university review aggregators. In addition, students who applied to their university early because of it being their first choice are more likely to enjoy their time at college and eventually donate to said institution.
“I just wanted to get myself motivated to begin the process so applying early initiated the application process, and now for all regular decision applications I feel like I have a slight head start and it’s less stressful, since I’ve already written my main Common Application essay and entered all my information,” Citrus Valley senior Emily Hill noted.
Many colleges like Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill make applicants apply early so they can earn prestigious scholarships. This prevents qualified students who would be competitive for the Ivy League from applying to schools within it and attending them, ensuring that a pool of extremely talented individuals remain as students and donating alumni in the future.
In reaction to this, highly-ranked institutions like Stanford University and Harvard University switched to a non-binding Early Action program in 2006 in which applicants cannot apply early to any binding programs but can not only apply to state schools and scholarship-granting colleges but also decline to attend.
“I did early action to Loyola Marymount University, Northeastern University, and the University of Redlands,” REV Senior Sahiba Khera explains, “I applied just because there is a better chance of me getting accepted, because the colleges see that you would want to go there.” Khera was able to apply early to so many schools because of these recent reforms.
No matter which avenue through which students across the school district intend to apply early to Universities, the process is taxing–for both applicants and their teachers.
“I doubt that there are any teachers who like to write letters of recommendation,” AP English teacher Jody Bradberry says, “but we do it for the kids because we love them and want the best for their future.”
Only time will tell if these hopefuls’ efforts result in a coveted acceptance letter from a premier university. At any rate, students do not have time to stress over their decision–UC and regular decision application deadlines are quickly approaching.
Redlands Career Spotlight is a weekly series in which ETHIC interviews a Redlands professional about his or her daily life, career, education and more in order to give readers a more nuanced view into life after high school. This week, elementary school principal Jennifer Hosch relates how her grandmother’s love of reading and her personal ambition to help her community inspired her to pursue a career in education and become one of the most respected names in the school district.
Q: What is your profession, and how long have you been working?
A: Currently I am a principal of an elementary school – Judson & Brown. I started teaching in South Korea and worked there for one year, then moved to Arizona and was at a job fair where I was immediately hired and asked to move to California and teach in Fontana. I taught a bilingual second-grade class there for one year. I then came to Redlands and taught Kindergarten for the majority of my career–11 years. I was a fourth-grade teacher at Highland Grove and then a Teacher On Assignment for four different elementary schools for 2½ years. From there I was hired to be the Assistant Principal at Lugonia Elementary School for 2½ years and I have been here at J&B as principal for five years.
Q: Where did you get your education? Did you enjoy your time in college?
A: I received my B.S. in Elementary Education at York College of Pennsylvania, my Masters from the University of Redlands and my Administrative Credential from the University of Redlands. College was not my favorite thing. I had a hard time with tests. I was great at projects, homework and class assignments but taking tests was the worst! I just bombed them! I could have an A or a B going into a class and then take one test and all of sudden I was looking at a C or lower! It was horribly frustrating.
Q: Was becoming an elementary school principal something you always wanted to do?
A: It was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted to be a congresswoman and change laws. I thought that there was a lot of injustice that needed to change when I was growing up and I was the one for the job. That was until I took my first American Government class and was bored out of my mind. I realized that if that bored me then I was not going to make it through four years of government classes.
I thought about how much I hated reading and hated school when I was in elementary school and how I cheated on my math tests in first grade. How I got in trouble for saying things that I shouldn’t say and purposely sticking my lips to the ice covered monkey bars and pulling them off so they would bleed and I could go home. I thought about how my grandmother took time to show me the one-room schoolhouse that she used to teach in and the way that she convinced me to read and really got me to love reading. She got me hooked by introducing me to “Big House in the Little Woods.” I never knew how much I would love historical fiction. My grandmother knew, but a teacher never took the time to know.
So, after deciding that I was not going to be a congresswoman, I decided to be a teacher. I wanted to be the one that was not going to let a child hate reading, cheat on tests or say bad words on the playground in hopes of getting sent home because they hated being at school and felt stupid. I wanted to be a light like my grandma was to me.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: The hardest part of my job is talking to adults who don’t want to hear that their child is responsible for an act that they did and that they have a consequence for it.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Every one of my students.
Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about your line of work/education?
A: That my job is disciplinary. It is not. It is one small facet of my job. I do a ton of paperwork and most people do not know that. I am responsible for a very large budget in some very restrictive categories which is not really talked about in college that much. I am supposed to be the instructional leader, be present in the classrooms and on the playground and work with all parent groups. I could give a list of all of the things that I do or that I am expected to do, but I love all of the parts of my job and wish that the day were longer so that I could actually do it all.
Q: Do you have any advice for high school students?
A: Don’t get hung up on grades being perfect. Stress is extremely unhealthy. I have yet to understand the draw to the universities that have freshman classes of over 100 students and require students to have nearly perfect grades from high school to get in. Yet, there are exceptional colleges that have 25 students on average in their freshman classes and aren’t looking for perfect scores. There are so many options out there. Don’t burn out before you get to college. Enjoy high school! You are still a kid!
Q: What is your favorite location in Redlands?
A: Wherever I can go to antique stores and then go out to eat!